Calendars in India

UPSC IAS syllabus plays a prominent role in UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains exam. It is very important to know the basic facts about India to crack UPSC IAS Exam. UPSC has asked several questions regarding the National Flag, National Anthem, etc. Already we have come up with several articles about the National anthem, National Flower, etc. Here we are giving the details about the various calendars used in India.

The word Calendar has its origin from the Roman word Calends or Kalends meaning a way of allocating time into certain periods adopted for the purpose of civil life. In India, four types of calendars are followed

  1. Vikram Samvat
  2. Saka Samvat
  3. Hijri calendar
  4. Gregorian calendar

Vikram Samvat

  1. It is an era used in India and Nepal.
  2. The period is named after King Vikramaditya to mark his triumph over the Saka rulers.
  3. It starts from 57 B.C.
  4. There are 354 days in a year.
  5. The month begins with a ‘dark half’.
  6. This is a calendar based on the movement of the moon.
  7. Vikram/Bikram Samvat has 12 months
  8. Each month in Vikram/Bikram Samvat is divided into two phases.
  9. Shukla paksha (15 days) – begins with new moon and ends with full moon
  10. Krishna paksha (15 days) – begins with full moon and ends with new moon
  11. Every 3rd and 5th year in a cycle of 5 years have 13 months.
  12. There are 12 months
    • Baishakh
    • Jestha
    • Ashadh
    • Shrawan
    • Bhadra
    • Ashwin
    • Kartik
    • Mangsir
    • Poush
    • Magh
    • Falgun
    • Chaitra

Saka Era

  1. Saka calendar was introduced as ‘Indian National Calendar’ in 1957.
  2. It is a historical calendar era corresponding to Julian year 78.
  3. It is also known as Shalivahana Saka era or Mahasakkarat Era.
  4. It is believed to have been founded by King Shalivahana of the Satavahana dynasty.
  5. Saka era marks the remembrance of King Shalivahana’s chief military triumphs.
  6. The first indication of a relationship between King Shalivahana and the Saka era was authenticated by the Kannada work Udbhatakavya by Somaraja.
  7. The Saka calendar is used also by the Indonesian Hindus in Bali and Java.
  8. The The Gazette of India uses this calendar along with the Gregorian Calendar.
  9. This calendar also has 365 days.
  10. There are 12 months in Hindu lunar calendar.
    • Chaitra
    • Vaisakha
    • Jyestha
    • Aṣaḍha
    • Sravana
    • Bhadrapada, Bhadra
    • Ashvin
    • Kartika
    • Agrahsyaṇa, Margasirṣa
    • Pausa
    • Magha
    • Phalguna

Hijri/Hijra calendar

  1. The Islamic year began in AD 622 during which the migration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra happened.
  2. The Islamic year has 12 months that are grounded on a lunar cycle.
  3. It has 354 days.
  4. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries simultaneously with the Gregorian calendar.
  5. Muslims everywhere in the World use this calendar to decide the proper days on which to observe Ramadan, to attend Hajj, and to celebrate other Islamic festivals.
  6. There are 12 months
    • Muharram
    • Safar
    • Rabia Awal
    • Rabia Thani
    • Jumaada Awal
    • Jumaada Thani
    • Rajab
    • Sha’ban
    • Ramadan
    • Shawwal
    • Dhul-Qi’dah
    • Dhul-Hijjah

Gregorian calendar

  1. The Gregorian calendar is used as the civil calendar.
  2. It began to be used from 1582.
  3. It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced the calendar.
  4. It substituted the earlier Julian calendar because the Julian calendar had a miscalculation regarding leap year.
  5. The Julian year had 365.25 days.
  6. The Gregorian calendar sustained to employ the Julian months.
    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    • December

Calendars in India UPSC Question

Chaitra 1 of the national calendar based on the Saka Era corresponds to which one of the following dates of the Gregorian calendar in a normal year of 365 days? (UPSC Prelims Examination 2014)

  1. 22 March (or 21st March)
  2. 15th May (or 16th May)
  3. 31st March (or 30th March)
  4. 21st April (or 20th April

Answer: A

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