Panchang is a Hindu calendar and almanac, which follows traditional units of Hindu time-keeping, and presents important dates and their calculations in a tabulated form. It is sometimes spelled Pancanga, Panchanga, Panchaanga, or Panchānga, and is pronounced Panchānga. Pachangas are used in Jyotisha(Jyotiṣa).
In Eastern India, including Assam, Bengal, Odisha the Panchangam is referred to as Panjika.
Panchāngams are published in India by many authors, societies, academies, and universities. Different publications differ only minutely, at least for a casual or not yet trained reader. They forecast celestial phenomena such as solar eclipses, forecasting weather (rain, dry spells) as well as more mundane occurrences.The study of Panchāngams involves understanding Rasi phala,the impact of the signs of the zodiac on the individual.
The Government of India has prepared the National Panchānga or the Indian National Calendar in 1957 (was proposed by Saha and Lahiri in 1952),which is used in predictive astrology.The Lahiris Panchang published annually is the most widely used English almanac in Vedic astrology, many Panchāngas are published in local languages, which are mostly based on the National Panchānga.
Panchang typically means,
Pancha means five and anga means limbs or attributes.
There are Five Attributes in Panchang :
Vaar means days of the week.There are seven days in a week are ruled by the seven different planets.
Sunday is ruled by Surya (Sun)
Monday is ruled by Soma (Moon)
Tuesday is ruled by Mangala ( Mars)
Wednesday is ruled by Budha (Mercury)
Thursday is ruled by Guru (Jupiter)
Friday is ruled by Shukra (Venus)
Saturday is ruled by Shani(Saturn)
Tithi is the day of the moon phase. There are 14 Tithis in between every new moon and full moon.
Nakshatras are lunar mansions. The path of the moon is split into 27 units and each unit is given a name of a nakshatra. Moon's position in the zodiac is indicated by the name of the constellation or Nakshatra. There are 27 Nakshatras.
Karana is half of a Tithi. There are 2 Karanas in each Tithi.
Yoga is the angle of the sun and the moon determining the auspiciousness of each day. There are 27 yogas. Some of the non- benefic yogas are: Vishkamba, Shoola, Vajra, Vyatipada, Vyaghatha, Athiganda, Ganda, parigha, vaidhruthi. A day in panchang means, the time duration from one sunrise to the next sun rise. This duration is about 24 hours.
Uses of Panchang :
Panchang is used for fixing muhurthas (spiritually powerful time periods in each day) for auspicious events, preparation of horoscope, for sankalpa, fixing dates for vrattas and shraddas.
One can also know about the unfavorable periods in a day through Panchang like Rahu kaalam and Yamagandam . They are inauspicious time periods unsuitable for material activities.
Position of the sun, moon and other planets are also known through Panchang.
Astrologers consult the Panchāngam to set auspicious dates for weddings, corporate mergers, and other activities as per their religion.
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