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Panchang: Learn to Read Hindu Calendar Panchangam (Just in 5 Steps)

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Panchang: Learn to Read Hindu Calendar Panchangam Just in 5 Steps (Illustration of rishi muni saint writing hindu calendar panchang below forest tree)
Illustration of a Hindu rishi (saint) writing Hindu Calendar panchang below a tree in the forest!

Panchang is a Hindu calendar that is based on Vedic Astrology and considered for finding out the auspicious time and date for Hindu festive celebrations and life-events.

Overview

5 Steps on How to Read Panchang, The Hindu Calendar

Contents:

Panchang: Quick Look
Also Known As
Panchanga, Panchangam, Ponjika, Pachanga
Also Spelled As
Panchaanga, Pancanga
Significance
Important to know the day, date, and month of the Hinu fasts and festivals
Word Origin
Panchangam (Sanskrit)
Origin of Reading Method
Vedic Astrology
Used by
Indians, Hindus, Brahmins, People who believe in Vedic Astrology and Jyotish

Step-1: Know the Significance of Panchang

Hindu Calendars

Most of the Indian fasts and festivals are observed and celebrated as per the regional Hindu calendars that are based on two elements known as- Solar and Lunar.

Inspired by their basic elements, they are called Lunisolar calendars.

People who are religious and believe in Vedas, Vedic astrology, or Jyotish Shastra, they follow the Hindu calendars, especially Panchang, very closely. They also celebrate the New Year or first day of the year as per the Panchang system.

The believers offer special worship, tithes, donations, and offerings on special events of the Panchang which are religiously significant.

As Hindu calendars are used for finding out the auspicious time durations for wedding, inauguration, Daan-Punya (donation related righteous activities), etc, they are also known as the religious calendars.

Solar Calendars

Those calendars which are based on the element ‘solar’, they are known as the solar calendars. Such Hindu calendars follow the sun transition system. All the Sankranti(s) are observed as per solar calendars that are read as per different rules in different regions of India.

Lunar Calendars

Those calendars which rely on the element ‘lunar’, they are called lunar calendars. These calendars follow the movement of moon. People who observe the days, dates, and shubh muhurat time, they count the month from either full moon to next full moon or new moon to upcoming new moon. Panchang is also one of lunar calendars.

Step-2: Know Panchang Terminologies: 5 Panchang Elements in Vedic Astrology

Alike English calendar or Western calendar, the Hindu calendar Panchang is also based on the year (Samvat), months (Maah or Maas), days (var), and dates (tithi).

Panchang (Calendar)

Panchang: A Hindu calendar based on lunisolar system.

Panchang is a Hindu calendar that shows the Lunar months.

A Lunar month is a period of about 29.5 days, in which the moon completes its one round around the Earth.

People who believe in the movements of sun, stars, and planets, they consider Vedic Astrology based Panchang for knowing the auspicious date and time (muhurat).

They begin their new works and other important life-events like wedding, home inauguration ceremony, and festival celebrations as per the Hindu calendar Panchang.

Let's just start to proceed towards the 5 steps of learning to read the Panchang!

Samvat (Years)

Samvat: A year of Hindu calendar is called the "Samvat".

There are crores of Samvat(s) or procedures to calculate the year and time, but only around 50 are significant in today's era and only about 20 are in trend.

The samvat we humans use internationally is Isvi Samvat; the Western or Gregorian calendar is based on it. The Panchang Hindu calendar that we are trying to understand and learn is based on the Vikram Samvat. There are many other popular samvat(s) such as Budhha Samvat, Mahavir Samvat, Hijri Samvat, Yahudi Samvat, Cheeni Samvat, Sikh Samvat, Parsi Samvat, Irani Samvat, etc.

In Hindu Panchang, Vikram Samvat is the system of calculating the time.

Maah (Months)

Maah or Maas: A month of Hindu calendar is said to be the "Maah".

List of 12 Panchang Months: Hindu Calendar Months from Chaitra to Phalguna

  • Chaitra (Mar-Apr)
  • Vaisakha (Apr-May)
  • Jyestha (May-Jun)
  • Asadha (Jun-Jul)
  • Sravana (Jul-Aug)
  • Bhadrapada (Aug-Sep)
  • Asvina (Sep-Oct)
  • Kartika (Oct-Nov)
  • Margasirsa (Nov-Dec)
  • Pausha (Dec-Jan)
  • Magha (Jan-Feb)
  • Phalguna (Feb-Mar)

Vaar (Days)

Vaar (Var): A day of Hindu calendar is called the "Vaar".

List of 7 Days of the Week

  • Somvar (Monday)
  • Mangalvar (Tuesday)
  • Budhvar (Wednesday)
  • Guruvar (Thursday)
  • Shukravar (Friday)
  • Shanivar (Saturday)
  • Ravivar or Itvar or Deetvar (Sunday)

Tithi (Dates)

Tithi (30 Days of a Month): A date of Hindu calendar are known as "Tithi".

Every arc of the moon shows one tithi of a month and every tithi comes two times a month. These are known as:

15 Tithi of Panchang: Panchang Dates (Know Panchang Date system)

Krishna Paksha: First Pakhwada (Period of 15 Days)

  • Day-1: Krishna Pratipada
  • Day-2: Krishna Dwitiya
  • Day-3: Krishna Tritiya
  • Day-4: Krishna Chaturthi
  • Day-5: Krishna Panchami
  • Day-6: Krishna Shashti
  • Day-7: Krishna Saptami
  • Day-8: Krishna Ashtami
  • Day-9: Krishna Navami
  • Day-10: Krishna Dashmi
  • Day-11: Krishna Ekadashi
  • Day-12: Krishna Dwadashi
  • Day-13: Krishna Trayodashi
  • Day-14: Krishna Chaturdashi
  • Day-15: Amavasya or Amavas

Shukla Paksha: Second Pakhwada (Period of 15 Days)

  • Day-1: Shukla Pratipada
  • Day-2: Shukla Dwitiya
  • Day-3: Shukla Tritiya
  • Day-4: Shukla Chaturthi
  • Day-5: Shukla Panchami
  • Day-6: Shukla Shashti
  • Day-7: Shukla Saptami
  • Day-8: Shukla Ashtami
  • Day-9: Shukla Navami
  • Day-10: Shukla Dashmi
  • Day-11: Shukla Ekadashi
  • Day-12: Shukla Dwadashi
  • Day-13: Shukla Trayodashi
  • Day-14: Shukla Chaturdashi
  • Day-15: Purnima or Poornima

Step-3: Know Shukla Paksha and Krishna Paksha: First and Second Pakhwada (Period of 15 Days)

2 Pakhwade of Panchang: What Is Shukla and Krishna Paksha?

The moon shows 15 similarly measured arcs during its progression from ‘full moon to new moon’ and ‘new moon to full moon’. Here, full moon means the moon will show its complete circle and new moon means the moon will not be visible on this night.

These two periods of 15 days are known as Krishna Paksha and Shukla Paksha respectively. These two periods of 15 days are also known as Pehla Pakhwada and Dusra Pakhwada. Some people denote Shukla Paksha as "Sudi" and Krishna Paksha as "Badi".

Step-4: Know What are Purnima and Amavasya: Full Moon and No Moon

When Amavasya and Purnima Fall in Panchang: Learn Panchang!

The full moon day is known as Purnima.

The day when the moon is not visible, it is known as Amavasya.

Every month ends on Purnima.

Step-5: Know About Shubh Muhurat (Auspicious Day and Time)

In India, especially among Hindus, the importance of Panchang lies in finding the Shubha Muhurat (Lucky day or best day and time as per the planets) for fasts, festivals, rituals, and a new beginning. People approach the Pandit (Hindu priest) to know the most auspicious time and day for initiating their works or business, inaugurating the home, taking the first ride of a vehicle, etc.

This auspicious time or shubh muhurat is found out as per the combination of the Tithi (Date), Var (Day), and the Nakshatra (Planets and stars).

Most of the Shubh tithi(s) fall in Shukla Paksha.

Tithi

Purna Tithi

The literal meaning of Purna Tithi is the "complete date".

Day 5, 10, and Purnima of both Pakhvada or Paksha (Shukla and Krishna) are considered to be the Purna Tithi. These days are believed to be Shubha (auspicious). Among them too, Panchami tithi (Day-5) is preferred as the best one.

Thus there are 5 tithi(s) (days) that are found good for works; they are- Shukla Panchami, Shukla Dashami, Krishna Panchami, Krishna Dashami, and Purnima.

Rikta Tithi

The literal meaning of Rikta tithi is the "empty date".

Day 4, 9, 14, and Amavasya of both Pakhvada or Paksha (Sudi and Badi, or bright and dark sides) are considered to be the Rikta Tithi. The days are believed to be Ashubha (Not auspicious or good).

The Panchang believers leave Shukla Pratipada (Day-1) as well, and sometimes Shukla Dwitiya too (Day-2) because the moon doesn't appear right after the day of Amavasya. The moon shows itself on the night of the Day-2, so the days after that are found to be good.

Thus there are 9 tithi(s) (days) that are not used for shubh kaarya (good deeds); they are- Shukla Pratipada (Day-1), Shukla Dwitiya (Day-2), Shukla Chaturthi (Day-4), Shukla Navami (Day-9), Shukla Chaturdashi (Day-14), Krishna Chaturthi (Day-4), Krishna Navami (Day-9), Krishna Chaturdashi (Day-14), Amavasya.

Vaar

Kroor Vaar or Kadve Vaar (Heavy Days)

Sunday, Tuesday, and Saturday are considered as the heavy days which are avoided and not considered as much-auspicious days.

Saumya Vaar (Soft Days)

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are considered as good or lucky days, or soft days which are preferred.

Nakshatra

People with knowledge about Vedic Astrology calculate the positions of Nakshatyra or stars and planets. They use this time calculation to search the muhurat from panchang.

Yog and Karna

While finding the muhurat, only Tithi, var, and Nakshatra are not the three which are enough. "Yog" and "Karan" are also important for going into depth and finding out the best time and date (muhurat) for particular or specific purpose.

Example: "Sarvad Sidhi Yog" is one of the best muhurat. Guru Pushya" is the best for purchasing the new vehicle or driving it the first time.

Let's Practice!

Understand and Learn How to Read a Hindi Panchang

Chaitra 2076 (Panchang Calendar)


वि
06
(S 01)
प्रतिपदा
13
(S 07)
सप्तमी
20
(S 14)
चतुर्दशी
27
(K 07)
सप्तमी

सो

07
(S 01)
प्रतिपदा
14
(S 08)
अष्टमी
21
(S P)
पूर्णिमा
28
(K 08)
अष्टमी

मं

01
(K 11)
एकादशी
08
(S 02)
द्वितीय
15
(S 09)
नवमी
22
(K 02)
द्वितीय
29
(K 09)
नवमी

बु

02
(K 02)
द्वितीय
09
(S 03)
तृतीया
16
(S 10)
दशमी
23
(K 03)
तृतीया
30
(K 10)
दशमी

गु
रु
03
(K 13)
त्रयोदषी
10
(S 04)
चतुर्थी
17
(S 11)
एकादशी
24
(K 04)
चतुर्थी
31
(K 11)
एकादशी

शु
क्र
04
(K 14)
चतुर्दशी
11
(S 05)
पंचमी
18
(S 12)
द्वादशी
25
(K 05)
पंचमी


नि
05
(K A)
अमावस्या
12
(S 06)
षष्टी
19
(S 13)
त्रयोदषी
26
(K 06)
षष्टी

The flow of a new Hindu month goes as follows!

First Pakhwada: Krishna Paksha (Dark Side)
Day-1 Chaitra Krishna Pratipada (K 01; Chaitra Begins; First Day of Chaitra Month), Day-2 Krishna Dwitiya (K 02), ... ... ... Day-14 Krishna Chaturdashi (K 14), Day-15 Chaitra Amavasya (K A; Dark Night; Last day of Vikram Samvat 2075; Year Ends)

second Pakhwada: Shukla Paksha (Brisht Side)
Day-1 Shukla Pratipada (S 01; First day of 2076 New Year Begins; Not Shubh but significant to remember God), Day-2 Shukla Dwitiya (S 02; Chandra Darshan; Dooj Ka Chaand), ... ... ... Day-14 Shukla Chaturdashi (S 14), Day-15 Chaitra Purnima (S P; Full Moon; Chaitra Ends; Last Day of Chaitra Month)

With the example of above table calendars, we are going to learn that how the online calendars give information about the Panchang's days, dates, months, year, Purnima, Amavasya, and Pakhwada. The mentioned Panchang table is not the depiction of the typical Panchang, but the form of the Panchang that is usually available online. Most of the online Panchang calendars are found merged with the western calendar so that we can relate the dates with ease.

Learn to Understand Samvat and Maah (Year and Month)

If we compare or relate the Western calendar's year with Vikram Samvat, the new year of Vikram Samvat- 2076 started from 6 April 2019 (Date of the western calendar). So we can simply say that the below calendar is showing the first month "Chaitra" of the Vikram samvat (year) "2076".

Where are the Hindi Vaar (Days)

The days are mentioned in small boxes in the left which are highlighted with a gray-colored background. The first day is रविवार that is Sunday and the last one is शनिवार that is Saturday.

How to See the Dates and Paksha in Panchang?

Let's see the first row and understand the meaning of 06(S 01).

06 is the date of the English calendar.

"S" denotes Shukla Paksha and 01 shows the date of Panchang. It is said as "Chaitra Shukla Pratipada" where Chaitra is the first month of Panchang, Shukla is the Bright side of the month, and Pratipada is the first day (Day one or date 01) of the month.

Hindi-English Calendar

S
u
n
06
(S 01)
13
(S 07)
20
(S 14)
27
(K 07)

M
o
n
07
(S 01)
14
(S 08)
21
(S P)
28
(K 08)

T
u
e
01
(K 11)
08
(S 02)
15
(S 09)
22
(K 02)
29
(K 09)

W
e
d
02
(K 02)
09
(S 03)
16
(S 10)
23
(K 03)
30
(K 10)

T
h
u
03
(K 13)
10
(S 04)
17
(S 11)
24
(K 04)
31
(K 11)

F
r
i
04
(K 14)
11
(S 05)
18
(S 12)
25
(K 05)

S
a
t
05
(K A)
12
(S 06)
19
(S 13)
26
(K 06)


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