National Calendar of India: Saka Calendar
Mohar of Gorkha king Prithvi Narayan Shah dated Saka era 1685 (AD 1763).

National Calendar of India: Saka Calendar

The Saka calendar used as the official civil calendar in the country is the National Calendar of India. It is used in India besides the Gregorian calendar by the Gazette of India, news broadcasts by All India Radio, calendars and communication document issued by control of Government of India. The Saka calendar, often referred as the Hindu calendar is originally named as Saka Samvat. It is also used for the calculation days of religious significance in the Hindu Religion in the country. You will always find a Saka calendar alongside a Gregorian Calendar in an Indian Home.

Formation of Saka Calendar

In the Indian civil calendar, the initial period is the Saka Era. The Calendar is said to have begun with King Salivahana’s accession to the throne. It is used as a reference for most astronomical works in Sanskrit literature written after 500 AD. The calculation of ‘thitis‘ i.e. dates in this Calendar are done in accordance with the actual positions of Sun and Moon in the universe. In the Saka calendar, the year 2009 AD is 1932.

Indian National Calendar

Month
Length
Start Date (Georgian)
ChaitraAries
30 / 31
March 22*
VaishakhTaurus
31
April 21
JyaishthaGemini
31
May 21
AshadhaCancer
31
June 22
ShravanaLeo
31
July 23
BhadrapadVirgo
31
August 23
AshwinLibra
30
September 23
KartikScorpio
30
October 23
Margashirsha (Agrahayana) – Sagittarius
30
November 22
PaushCapricorn
30
December 22
MaghAquarius
30
January 21
PhalgunPisces
30
February 20

Adoption of Saka Calendar as National Calendar

The current national calendar of India i.e. the Saka Calendar was adopted as the National Calendar in 1957 by the Calendar Reform Committee which also made efforts to coincide the astronomical data and harmonize the usage of this calendar after rectification of some local errors. It came into usage from March 22, 1957 according to the Gregorian calendar which was actually Saka Era, Chaitra 1, 1879 according to the Saka Samvat. It was adopted as the National calendar in order to synchronize the usage of 30 different kinds of Calendar used in India at that time.

An Overview of the Saka Calendar

Saka Calendar is said to have begun from the vernal equinox of A.D. 79. The usage of the Calendar began from aka Era 1879, Chaitra 1, which corresponds to A.D. 1957 March 22. The Saka Calendar is similar to the Gregorian calendar on the terms that even the Saka calendar has a normal year of 365 days and a leap year has 366 days. In a leap year, an intercalary day is added to the end of Chaitra month of the year. There are 12 months in Saka Calendar which are named as Vaisakha, Jyestha, Asadha, Sravana, Bhadrapada, Asvina, Kartika, Margasirsa, Pausa, Magh, Phalgura, Chaitra.

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