Hindu Panchangam (or Hindu Panchang) is the Hindu Vedic Astrological Calendar that gives important
astrological data based on the position of celetial objects such as Sun, Moon and other planets for a specific place on the earth.
The Vedic Science known as Jyothisha Shastra is the basis for calculating the Panchangam and is in use since the age of Rig Veda.
The sanskrit word Panchanga refers to five parts (pancha means five; anga means limbs) of a
day in the traditional hindu lunar calendar known as Tithi, Vaasara, Nakshatra, Yoga and Karana.
Hindu Astrologers compute various
time-periods that are auspicious for undertaking any important work or planning any important event. These are known as
subha-muhurtha which ensure proper balance of the five attributes. Also they compute time periods that are inauspicious
known as durmuhurtha during which one should avoid undertaking any important task.
Tithi: Tithi is a lunar day (Ending Moment of elongation of the Moon), which is the time it takes for the longitudinal angle between the moon and the Sun to increase by 12 degrees. Tithis begin at different times of the day and also not uniform in duration. Each month in Hindu Calendar has 30 tithis.
Vaasara: Vaasara (or Vaara) is the week of the day. In Indian Calendars the week days are usually derivered from the name of the planets. There are some variations of these names in regional indian languages which use alternate names of the planets associated with that week day. For example Ravivara (attributed to Sun),
Somavara (attributed to Moon) etc.
Nakshatra: The ecliptic is divided into 27 Nakshatras, which are variously called lunar houses or asterisms. These reflect the moon's cycle against the fixed stars, 27 days and 7 hours and 45 minutes, the fractional part being compensated by an intercalary 28th naksatra (known as Abhijit). (The ecliptic is the apparent path of the Sun on the celestial sphere, and is the basis for the ecliptic coordinate system. It also refers to the plane of this path, which is coplanar with both the orbit of the Earth around the Sun and the apparent orbit of the Sun around the Earth.)
Yoga: First one computes the angular distance along the ecliptic of each object, taking the ecliptic to start at Meṣa or Aries (Meṣādi, as defined above): this is called the longitude of that object. The longitude of the sun and the longitude of the moon are added, and normalized to a value ranging between 0° to 360° (if greater than 360, one subtracts 360). This sum is divided into 27 parts. Each part will now equal 800 arcminutes (arcminute means 1/60 of a degree). These parts are called the yogas.
Karana: A karana is half of a tithi. To be precise, a karana is the time required for the angular distance between the sun and the moon to increase in steps of 6° starting from 0°.
Since there are 30 tithis, one would logically expect there to be 60 karanas. But there are only 11 such karana which fill up those slots to accommodate for those '30 tithi'-s. There are actually 4 "fixed" (sthira) karanas and 7 "repeating" (cara) karana.
- The 4 "fixed" karanas are Shakuni, Chatushpada, Naga and Kimtugna
- The 7 "repeating" karanas are: Bava, Balava, Kaulava, Taitula, Garija, Vanija and Bhadra.
The first half of the 1st tithi (of sukla paksha) is always Kimtugna. Hence this is fixed (sthira) karana.
Next, the 7-repeating karanas repeat eight times to cover the next 56 half-tithis. Thus these are the "repeating" (chara) karanas. The 3 remaining half-tithis take the remaining "fixed" karanas in order. Thus these are also "fixed" (sthira). Thus one gets 60 karanas from those 11 preset karanas.