Panchang (Indian Hindu Calendar)

posted May 18, 2011, 6:31 PM by Alok Sharma   [ updated May 23, 2011, 6:52 PM ]
Indian calendar, more specifically, Hindu calendar is known as Panchang. Like any society, Hindu calendar is the backbone of Indian culture. All our festivals, fasts and muhurats (auspicious dates) are determined by Panchang. It is also known as Panchangam in South India, but follows the same timelime.

But Panchaang is much more than a calendar, it is a record of all planetary positions, not only of the past but accurately calculated positions in the future. This makes Panchang an indispensable tool in Jyotish, the Indian branch of Astrology. These planetary positions are used to develop a Kundali (Indian Birthchart). Panchang gives direction to us on which field of work to choose and the most appropriate time for it.

Click here for today's Panchang
The literal meaning of Panchang is "something which has 5 parts. These five parts are:

These five characteristic define each day. 


Tithi is the date which is calculated by measuring the difference between Moon and the Sun. One tithi is defined as the time it takes for Sun and Moon to travel 12 degrees relative to each other. Hence, each tithi is composed of 12 degrees.  

Each maas, or month has 30 tithis. The month itself is divided into 2 Pakshas (Krishna and Shukla) of 15 tithis each. Amavasya (New moon) falls on Krishna paksha while Purnima (Full moon) falls on Shukla Paksha. 


Vaar, as most of us know, is the day of the week. Like many other calendars, there are 7 days in a week in Hindu calendar as well. They are - Ravivaar (Sunday), Somvaar (Monday), Mangalvaar (Tuesday), Guruvaar (Thursday), Shukravaar (Friday) and Shanivaar (Saturday). 

More on  Panchang in next part.