Significance of Panchanga

Hare Srinivasa,

As we are in the fag end of Khara Samvatsara and all set to usher into the New Year, NANDANA Nama Samvatsara on the auspicious Ugadi day on 23-Mar, let us look into some details about the Panchanga and its significance in our daily rituals. It has been our practice to do pooja for the new Panchanga on the Ugadi day and we assemble in Mathas in the evening for the “Panchanga Shravana” program to know what is in store for us in the coming year. And the upcoming Nandana year is special as it has in it the very auspicious Adhika Masa during Bhadrapada Masa from 18-Aug-12 to 16-Sep-12. We have 390 days in this year for our Sadhane!.

After the deeparadhana to the panchanga, the Achar reads the benefits and ills of the New Year. He also highlights the eclipses to occur during the year, the income and expenditure during the year for each Zodiac sign in a proportionate sense. The thithi, vara, nakshatra, yoga and karana of the first day are also read. He lists the important festivals/anushtaanas and Yatigalu aradhana days in the year.

Benefits of listening to a Panchanga reading

The scriptures state that the benefits reaped by the listener as well as the reader, are equivalent to having a dip in the holy river Ganges. The individuals hearing the Panchanga should respectfully ‘thank’ the reader and offer him our respects and seek his blessings.

Panchanga – Significance

The Samskrita word “panchAnga” is made of two parts: pancha and anga. Pancha means five and anga means a limb or part. Thus the Panchanga is a document made of five parts. These five parts are:

Tithi (lunar day),
Vara (day of the week),
Nakshatra (lunar mansion),
Yoga (luni-solar day) and
Karana (half lunar day).


The first element of the Panchanga is the tithi or lunar phase. This is perhaps the single most important element of the Panchanga. It is the building block for the lunar month. Simply stated a tithi is a measurement of 12 degrees of longitudinal separation between the sun and the moon. Another way to put it is to say that a tithi is the daily phase of the moon.

The tithis are sequentially numbered from both the points of the new moon as well as the full moon. In this way, the shukla-paksha, begins with the day after amavasya. That is the first tithi, then the second tithi, the third tithi and so on up to the 15th tithi called poornima.

After the full moon, the waning phase (krishna-paksha) again begins with the first tithi, the second tithi, the third tithi and so on up to the 15th tithi called amavasya. Afterwards the cycle repeats itself. In a solar calendar the solar day always begins at midnight whereas the lunar tithi can begin at anytime of the solar day. For practical purposes, however, the tithi that is present at the sunrise time is taken as the prevailing tithi for the entire day.

On an average, a tithi lasts for only 0.95 of a solar day. These factors cause a lot of confusion between the lunar calendar and the modern solar calendar and hence in deciding festivals and Ekadashi.


The second element of Panchanga is the day of week, called vAra. In Sanskrit the days of the week are clearly named after seven major astrological influences:

bhAnu-vAsara or ravi-vAra (Sun)
indu-vAsara or sOma-vAra (Moon)
bhauma-vAsara or mangaLa-vAra (Mars)
saumya-vAsara or budha-vAra (Mercury)
bRuhaspati-vAsara or guru-vAra (Jupiter)
bhArgava-vAsara or shukra-vAra (Venus)
manda-vAsara or shani-vAra (Saturn)


The third element of the Panchanga is nakshatra. In Vedic astrology, Nakshatra or constellation is one of many factors considered for doing the accurate predictions. These nakshatras are 27 in numbers and together they comprises of 360 degrees in the sky from a fixed point. So the value for each nakshatra is 13 degrees and 20 minutes. The 360 degrees from a fixed point comprises 12 zodiacs and 27 nakshatras. In other words, nakshatra is a further sub-division of zodiac. So this method of prediction using nakshatra is considered more accurate in Indian astrology than the method of prediction using zodiac.

The term Nakshatra is a combination of naks and shetra. In Sanskrit, naks means sky and shetra means region or area. So the meaning of this word is region or area of sky. In Vedic astrology, the predictive system is based on janma nakshatra.

Janma nakshatra is the nakshatra where moon is placed at the time of the birth of the native. Janma nakshatra plays a importance role in deciding the person’s personality, appearance, nature, luck his personal and professional life and level of achievements during his life-span.

Every Nakshatra is divided in to 4 sections. These sections are called charans or padas. The pada of a nakshatra is an important aspect in case of making prediction as they are different from each other in case of results.

The following is a list of the 27 nakshatras.

1. ashvini
2. bharaNi
3. kRuttikA
4. rOhiNi
5. mRugashirA
6. ArdrA
7. punarvasu
8. puShya
9. AshlESha
10. makhA
11. pUrva phalguNi
12. uttara phalguNi
13. hasta
14. chitra
15. svAti
16. vishAkha
17. anurAdha
18. jyEsTha
19. moola
20. pUrvAShADha
21. uttarAShADha
22. shravaNa
23. dhaniShThA
24. shatabiShA
25. pUrva bhAdra
26. uttara bhAdra
27. rEvati


A yoga is a planetary configuration, union or relationship. In Vedic Calendar, two types of yogas are listed. The first yoga is listed in the sankalpam (the two lines at the top of each day’s entries). It is the second item in the second line. This particular yoga, like the tithi, is an angle of the sun and the moon (the earth being the point of the angle). Yogas are another factor in determining the auspiciousness of the day. Just as there are twenty-seven nakshatras, there are twenty-seven yogas, known as the Yoga Taras of Nakshatras.

1. viShakumbha
2. preeti
3. AyushmAn
4. saubhAgya
5. shObhana
6. atigandha
7. sukarma
8. dhRuti
9. shoola
10. gandha
11. vRuddhi
12. dhruva
13. vyAghAta
14. harShaNa
15. vajra
16. siddhi
17. vyateepAta
18. varigha
19. parigha
20. shiva
21. siddha
22. sAdhya
23. shubha
24. shukla
25. brahma
26. mahEndra
27. vaidhRuti


The fifth aspect of the Panchanga is karaNa which is half a tithi. There are two karaNas in each tithi. Since the tithis are 30 in number, one would expect there to be 60 karanas. But there are only eleven. Out of these, four are “fixed” karanas and seven are “repeating” karanas.

The four “fixed” karanas are:

1. kimstughna
2. shakuni
3. chatushpAda
4. nAga

The seven “repeating” karanas are:

5. bala
6. bAlava
7. kaulava
8. taitila
9. garaja
10. vanija
11. vishTi (or bhadra)

The first half of the first tithi (of the bright fortnight) is always kimstughna karana. Next, the seven repeating karanas repeat eight times to cover the next 56 half-tithis. The three remaining fixed karanas take up the remaining three half-tithis in order. Thus one gets sixty karanas from eleven.

In addition to these five essential parts of the traditional panchanga, the following other elements may also be added:


MAsa – The Hindu year contains twelve lunar months, named after the nakshatra in which the full moon occurs:

chaitra (March – April) (chitra-nakshatra)
vaishAkha (April – May) (vishAkha-nakshatra)
jyEShTha (May – June) (jyestha-nakshatra)
AShADha (June – July) (purvAShADha-nakshatra)
shrAvaNa (July – August) (shravaNa-nakshatra)
bhAdrapada (August – September) (pUrva-bhAdra-nakshatra)
Ashvina (September – October) (ashvini-nakshatra)
kArteeka (October – November) (kRuttikA-nakshatra)
mArgashira (November – December) (mRugashira-nakshatra)
pauSha (December – January) (puShya-nakshatra)
mAgha (January – February) (makha-nakshatra) and
phalguNa (February – March) (phalguni-nakshatra).

Different parts of BhAratha desha start the year during different months. In general the year begins in the month of Chaitra, which is referred to as chAndra yugAdi.

Rutu (Season)

Traditionally there are six seasons, each comprised of two months.

The six seasons are:

vasanta (spring) – chaitra & vaishAkha
greeShma (summer) – jyEShTha & AShADha
varSha (rainy) – shrAvaNa & bhAdrapada
sharad (autumn) – Ashvina & kArteeka
hEmanta (winter) – mArgashira & pauSha
shishira (cool) – mAgha & phAlgun


Apart from the numbering system outlined above, there is also a cycle of 60 calendar year names, called Samvatsaras, which runs continuously.

Samvatsara is a Sanskrit term for “year”. In Vedic tradition, there are 60 Samvatsaras, each of which has a name. Once all 60 samvatsaras are over, the cycle starts over again

1. Prabhava
2. Vibhava
3. Shukla
4. Pramoda
5. Prajāpati
6. Āngîrasa
7. Shrīmukha
8. Bhāva
9. Yuva
10. Dhātr
11. Īshvara
12. Bahudhānya
13. Pramāthi
14. Vikrama
15. VriSha
16. Chitrabhānu
17. Svabhānu
18. TāraNa
19. Pārthiva
20. Vyaya
21. Sarvajit
22. Sarvadhāri
23. Virodhi
24. Vikrti
25. Khara
26. Nandana
27. Vijaya
28. Jaya
29. Manmatha
30. Durmukha
31. Hemalambi
32. Vilambi
33. Vikāri
34. Shārvari
35. Plava
36. Shubhakrt
37. Sobhakrt
38. Krodhi
39. Vishvāvasu
40. Parābhava
41. Plavanga
42. Kīlaka
43. Saumya
44. Sādhārana
45. Virodhakrt
46. Paridhāvi
47. Pramādi
48. Ānanda
49. RākShasa
50. NaLa
51. PingaLa
52. Kālayukta
53. Siddhārthi
54. Raudri
55. Durmati
56. Dundubhi
57. Rudhirodgāri
58. RaktākShi
59. Krodhana
60. KShaya

Panchanga – SMS Channels

Before I close, just want to add a note on how the latest technology(read: Google) is helping us in following/tracking the panchanga every day and use it in our anushtaana like Sandhya Vandana and Devara Pooja. As you may be aware there are few Madhwa SMS channels that are in operation for some time and they send you daily Panchanga details for FREE one day in advance. Therefore even when you are travelling it helps to know what the next day is and also alerts on the important festivals/yatigalu aradhane is also provided through SMS messages. I have listed below the popular Panchanga senders. Please click on them to view the message archives.

To subscribe and get FREE notifications every day, just send one SMS from your mobile as given below:

ON <channel name>

and send it to 09870807070

Replace <channel name> with the one of the 5 given above (for ex:- ON UMQUOTES). After ON leave one space and type the channel name.

NANDANA Samvatsara Panchanga

Please CLICK HERE to download NANDANA Panchanga from Mantralaya Sri Raghavendra Swamy Matha in multiple languages.

|| Sri Krishnaarpanamasthu ||


9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by venkat raghavendran on March 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Nice compilation… 🙂 thanks for the info …


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  6. Posted by Pranesh on March 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Very depth knowledge gained by this article. Expecting more to come. My sincere bows and namaskara to the legend. Thanks a million.



  7. Posted by prasad60 on March 26, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    good article


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