The Hindu Calendar— Learn How To Read Panchang In 5 Simple Steps


India has a number of variations and versions in its Panchang or calendar. After that, different religions have their own calendars for their religious events. So, Panchangam or Panchang is the Hindu calendar that beholds information like Muhurat, Pakshas, Vaar, Tithi, etc. Hence, prior to heading towards learning how to read panchang, you must understand what it actually is and what role it plays in the Hindu culture.

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What is Panchang?

Hindu Panchang, also known as the Hindu calendar or Panchangam is a collection of a number of lunisolar calendars widely used in Vedic astrology. It is a Sanskrit-driven word. When divided into two parts, the first word, “Panch,” means five, and the second one, “Ang,” means Limbs. It is basically a static way of timekeeping that varies depending on the Sun or the Moon cycle, months’ names, and New Year’s beginning.

It enlists a track of auspicious and vital dates along with the astrological data illustrated in a tabular form. Moreover, depending on the position of the stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies, a Panchang is made. Before beginning any Shubh Karya or auspicious task like Puja, marriage, business, celebrations, etc., Panchang is considered of utmost priority.

In the same vein, we shall help you learn how to read Panchang in 5 simple steps that include its importance, the terms you shall find in a Hindu calendar, along with several other needful rules.

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STEP 1: Know the calendars that make Panchang

The majority of Indian festivals and fasts are celebrated according to the regional Hindu calendars that depend on two major elements—Solar Calendar and Lunar Calendar. These are collectively known as Lunisolar calendars.

Those who are religious, and have faith in Vedic astrology, Jyotish Shastra, or Vedas, follow Panchang very keenly. Also, they celebrate New Year, the first day of the year, according to the Panchang system. The believers go for special donations, offer prayers and perform religious prayers on special occasions of Panchang that are religiously significant.

Before we move ahead in the course of learning how to read Panchang, let us go through the two types of calendars:

  • Solar Calendars: These calendars follow the planet Sun transition system. You can observe all the Sankranti(s) according to the solar calendar, read according to various rules in different parts of India.
  • Lunar Calendars: Relying on the lunar element, these calendars follow the Moon transition. When looking for Shubh Muhurat timings, the lunar calendars play a significant role. Also, the Panchang falls under the category of the lunar calendars.

Also Read: Effects Of Rahu And Sun Conjunction In Different Houses

STEP 2: Acknowledge the terms used in Panchang

Just like the English or Western calendar, Panchang also depends on the Samvat (The Year), Maas or Maah (The Months), and Tithi (the dates).

Samvat (The Year)

A particular year in the Hindu calendar is known as the Samvat. There are numerous Samvat(s) or ways to calculate the time and year, but only about 50 are noteworthy in today’s time and just 20 trends these days.  The Samvat used today internationally is the Isvi Samvat, and the Gregorian and Western calendar depends on it. Other calendars that you might come to your knowledge would be:

  • Buddha Samvat
  • Mahavir Samvat
  • Hijri Samvat
  • Sikh Samvat
  • Irani Samvat
  • Yaudi Samvat, etc.

However, Vikram Samvat is the calendar we shall learn here. It is the calculating system of the Hindu Panchang we are learning.

Maah or Maas (The Month)

The months in the Hindu Panchang are known as the Maas or Maah. And, just like the English calendar, they too are divided into 12, namely:

  • Chaitra (March-April)
  • Vaisakha (April-May)
  • Jyestha (May-June)
  • Asadha (June-July)
  • Sravana (July-August)
  • Bhadrapada (August-September)
  • Asvina (September-October)
  • Kartika (October-November)
  • Margashirsha (November-December)
  • Pausha (December-January)
  • Magha (January-February)
  • Phalguna (February-March)

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Vaar (The Days)

The days mentioned in the Hindu calendar are known as Vaar. These are the following:

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

Tithi (The Dates)

A particular date of the Panchang calendar is called Tithi. To clarify, each of the Moon’s arcs depicts a Tithi of a month, and each tithi occurs twice in one month. Thus, these are also called the Panchang dates or the Panchang date system and are divided as follows:

Krishna Paksha: The First Pakhwada (A 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

Shukla Paksha: The Second Pakhwada (A 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

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STEP 3: Understand the Shukla and Krishna Paksha

The Moon depicts 15 uniformly calculated arcs during its transition from Full Moon to the New Moon and again from the New Moon to the Full one. Full Moon, here is the Poornima, when the Moon shows complete light. On the other hand, a New Moon means Amavasya, when you cannot see the light of the Moon.

These periods of 15 days are known as the Krishna and Shukla Paksha, respectively. You can also see them with the name Pehla Pakhwada or Badi (Krishna Paksha) and Dusra Pakhwada or Sudi (Shukla Paksha).

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STEP 4: Don’t forget the Purnima and Amavasya

Here are a few pointers you must remember when considering the Full or the New Moon:

  • The Moon after the Purnima is the waning Moon. As a result, it stays under this category until we have an Amavasya.
  • Likewise, from the time you see a New Moon approaching towards the Purnima, the phase is called the waxing phase.
  • Moreover, each month ends on a Purnima and not Amavasya.

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STEP 5: Be aware of the working of Shubh Muhurat

This concept is followed immensely among Hindus and is utterly important when learning how to read Panchang. As per the planets, the auspicious days, dates, and timings that are favorable to execute some work are the Shubh Muhurats. In addition, Panchang’s reading helps figure out these according to the combination of Vaar (Day), Tithi (Date), and Nakshatra (Planets and Stars). Therefore, most of the Shubh Muhurat(s) fall in the 15 days of Shukla Paksha.

To Read More About The Shubh Muhurats in 2022. Click Here

Below is the concept of Tithi, Nakshatra, Vaar, and other factors that hold importance in figuring out a Shubh Muhurat:


Vaar for Shubh Muhurats are categorized into two parts:

  • Kroor Vaar: They are known as the Kadve Vaar or Heavy Days as well. As a result, the weekdays that fall under the Kroor Vaar are Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday. Highly considered inauspicious days to perform any task, these days are generally avoidable when initiating or performing any task.
  • Saumya Vaar: Known as the soft days, these days are usually the ones preferred for starting any task or initiating any new work. So, Thursday, Friday, Monday, and Wednesday fall under this category.

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There are all sorts of tithi that you might notice when looking for an auspicious Muhurat. And, they are very vital while learning how to read Panchang. Let’s have a look at them:

Purna Tithi

  • Literally, a Purna Tithi means complete date.
  • Day 5 (Panchami), 10 (Dashmi), and Purnima or Full Moon Day of both the Shukla and Krishna Paksha are the Purna Tithis.
  • These days are highly auspicious when seen from the perspective of the Shubh Muhurat.
  • Among them, Panchmi is the best one, when looking for a Shubh Muhurat.
  • Total Tithi in Purna Tithi: Shukla Panchami, Krishna Panchmi, Shukla Dashmi, Krishna Dashmi, and Purnima.

Ritika Tithi

  • Literally, a Ritika Tithi means empty date.
  • Day 4 (Chaturthi), Day 9 (Navmi), Day 14 (Chaturdashi), and Amavasya of both Krishna and Shukla Paksha are the Ritika Tithi.
  • These days are highly inauspicious when seen from the perspective of the Shubh Muhurat.
  • Consequently, Hindu Panchang believers keep at bay the Shukla Pratipada (Day 1) and Shukla Dwitiya (Day 2) too, from the list of Shubh Muhurat as the Moon doesn’t seem right post-Amavasya.
  • Total Tithi in Ritika Tithi: Shukla Pratipada, Shukla Dwitiya, Shukla Chaturthi, Shukla Navmi, Shukla Chaturdashi, Krishna Chaturthi, Krishna Navmi, Krishna Chaturdashi, and Amavasya.


Those folks who have knowledge of Vedic astrology, calculate Nakshatra or stars and planets position. They make use of this time to calculate Muhurat from Panchang. And, thus Nakshatra holds immense importance when going through the topic of how to read Panchang.

Also Read: 4 Most Auspicious Nakshatras For Birth Of A Child

Yoga And Karana

As much as the Vaar, tithi, and Nakshatra are vital for the Shubh Muhurat, Yoga and Karana are also vital for getting deep into Shubh Muhurat and figuring out the best date and time for a specific purpose.


A Yoga forms when the Nirayana longitude of Sun and Moon, and the total is divided into 27 parts of 13°20’ (each). Therefore, a total of 27 Yoga are there and they are the following:

  • Vishkumbha
  • Priti
  • Ayushman
  • Saubhagya
  • Shobhana
  • Atiganda
  • Sukarama
  • Dhriti
  • Shoola Ganda
  • Vridha
  • Dhruva
  • Vyaghata
  • Harshana
  • Vajra
  • Sidhi
  • Vyatipata
  • Vriyana
  • Paridhi
  • Shiva
  • Sidha
  • Sadhya
  • Shubha
  • Shukla
  • Brahma
  • Indra
  • Vaidhriti


Half of a tithi is known as Karna. It finishes when the Moon’s Nirayana longitude, each rises by 6° on that of planet Sun. Further, each Tithi has two Karanas, holding two parts of a particular Tithi, which makes it a total of 11 Karnas are there.

So, four of them occur just once in a month and are called Fixed Karanas.

  • Kimstughna
  • Chatushpada
  • Sakuni
  • Naga

However, the remaining seven Karanas are the Moving ones. These follow each other in a particular revolution. Below are the moving Karanas:

  • Bava
  • Baklava
  • Kaulava
  • Taitila
  • Gara
  • Vanija
  • Vishti

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Summarising how to read Panchang

So, by now, you would have understood everything that a Panchang or Hindu calendar includes. Therefore, let’s go through all the needful on how to read Panchang:

  • Samvat: In a Western calendar, where you see the Gregorian year, say 2022, you shall see the Vikram Samvat as well. For example, for the year 2022, the Vikram Samvat would be 2079.
  • Maas: For the same year, where you see March as the third month according to the Western calendar, Chaitra would be the first one on either side of it.
  • Vaar: Boxes in the calendar where you see the weekday name as per the Gregorian calendar, you could see the Vaar in Hindi. For instance, रविवार for Sunday, शनिवार for Saturday.
  • Tithi: Dates in the boxes are the tithi in the Hindu calendar. For example, date 10 in the calendar shall be Dashmi, as per the Panchang calendar.
  • Paksha: Whether it is Krishna Paksha or Shukla Paksha, you could see a K or S written on the top side of the box, respectively.
  • In the same box, you shall see the time of sunrise and sunset too. Moreover, the Nakshatra would be there too.

Do go through How To Read Kundli In 3 Easy Steps and our Other Blogs at AstroTalk


Posted On - December 9, 2021 | Posted By - Shimona Jain | Read By -


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