Friday, April 11, 2014

Tamil Panchangam (Almanac)

Panchangam is a Hindu calendar and astrological almanac, which presents astronomical (calculations), information that are being meticulously documented in Panchanga in tabulated form. It covers every aspect of the movement of sun, moon phases and the position of other planets, stars and also indicate auspicious times and days. 

The Tamil Panchangam or Tamil Astrological Almanac is a solar and nirayana or sidereal Hindu calendar used in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, India. It is also used by the Tamil population in Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.  Since the Hindu sidereal or Nirayana Mesha Sankranti (Sun's transition into nirayana Aries) falls on 14 April,  the day marks the first day of the traditional Tamil Panchangam or calendar. This day and event also coincide with other traditional calendars followed in rest of the states in India i.e, Assam, Bengal, Kerala, Odisha, Manipur, Punjab  etc. The new year day is known as Bihu (Assamese); Pohela Boishakh (Bengali);  Vishu (Malayalam); Vishuva Sankranti (Oriya); Vaisakhi (Punjabi); and Puthandu (Tamil).

In olden days sages and rishis followed traditional methods to provide exact positions of stars. The oral documentation included formulas and statements in poetic formats for mnemonic understanding and to retain in memory. The algorithms on rate of movements of planets, including Rahu and Ketu followed by them was known as Surya Siddhantic system or Vakya Siddhanta. This was documented in  in our ancient treatises on astronomy / astrology and  termed as Vakya Panchangam tradition.

The observation of planets and mathematical calculation of their movements proved the Surya Siddhantic system erroneous and showed variations up to 12 hours. The lack of precision of Surya Siddhantic system is well known to the followers of Surya Siddhanta and yet they publish Vakya Panchangam every year in Tamil. This kind of Vakya Panchangam exists only in Tamil Astrology. 

Examples of Vakya Panchangam in Tamil: M.S.Pachiappa Mudaliar 28 No. Pambu Sudhha Vakya Panchangam, (Printer, Manonmani Vilas Press),  T.Vijaya raghava Iyengar 28 No. Pambu Vakhya Panchangam,  K.N.Narayanamoorthy Arcot Seetharama Iyer Panchangam, Tirunelveli vakiya tamil panchangam, Ramanathapuram vakiya tamil panchangam, 108 Archagrgal, Yazhppannam Kokkuvil,  Kutti Sastrigal Srirangam Temple Panchangam, N.R.Mahalingam Sivasakthi Panchangam, K.V. Kuppuswamy Hanuman Panchangam, M.V. Narayanan Hayagreevar Panchangam, G.S.Subramaniam Maruthukudi Panchangam, Patti Veerabhadra Dhyvagnyan Srisailam Panchangam, S.Gopalakrishnan Raghavendra Panchangam.

The other method of calculation is based on observation of planets and calculation of their movements.  Drik Ganita means according to actual observation (drishti = sight) and estimation (ganita = calculated). The Drik Ganita system use algorithms to obtain precise position of stars  and use standard ephemeris for documentation. The government of India has also supported modern ephemeris for National Panchang or Rashtriya Panchang and Positional Astronomy Centre in Calcutta publishes modern Indian Ephemeris since 1957. The Drik Ganita  system also use ephemeris to fix the longitude and latitude of a given place and the time units are translated from Nazhikai to minutes. Examples include: Anandabodhini panchangam, L.V.S.Mani Bharat Drik-Ganitha Panchangam, Vasan Panchangam

Five Basic Astronomical Elements

The Sanskrit word 'Panchangam' means (Pancha = five and Anga = limbs) five limbs or parts. The five basic astronomical elements of the day are represented in Panchangam:

1. Tithi (Lunar Day), 2. Nakshatra (The Constellation The Moon is aligned with), 3. Karana (Half-Day), 4. Yoga (A particular Angle of the Sun and Moon) and 5. Vara or Vasara (Solar Weekday).

These five basic astronomical elements are enough to accommodate all variations of planetary positions. Planetary positions will influence the physical and mental well being of all people. Panchangam forms the basic astronomical reference document to identify the rising and setting of sun, moon and other planets, the forthcoming (religious) events like lunar and solar eclipses, full moon, new moon and other tithis (lunar days). The astrologers use this document to fix auspicious time and date (Muhurt) as well as to prepare natal (birth) chart. Any venture or decisions made in an auspicious time will bring fortune and prosperity.

1). Tithi

According to Tamil calendar (as well as other Indian Hindu calendars) the lunar day (tithi) is the single lunar day. Lunar day is calculated based on the difference between the positional longitudinal angle of the sun and the moon. There are 30 lunar days or tithis. The counting of the lunar day or tithi commences from the new moon day (Amavasya). At the particular point of time the sun and the moon signs are conjunct together in their zodiac orbits. There from the moon transits across each zodiac sign and the moon's transition time (to cross each zodiac sign) ranges between 20.00 and 26.50 hours.

The lunar days occurring between the new moon and the full moon (Purnima) days are known as waxing period (Sukla Paksha) and the lunar days falling between full moon (Purnima) and the new moon days are known as waning period (Krishna Paksha). The tithi names follow the Sanskrit numeric system.

1. Pratipada (Prathama) or the Principal tithi (One),
2. Dvitiya, In Sanskrit 'Dvandham' means two
3. Tritiya, In Sanskrit 'Triyam' means three
4. Chaturthi, In Sanskrit 'Chatur' means four
5. Panchami, In Sanskrit 'Panchama' means five
6. Shasthi, In Sanskrit 'Shat' means six
7. Saptami, In Sanskrit 'Saptha' means seven
8. Ashtami, In Sanskrit 'Ashta' means eight
9. Navami, In Sanskrit 'Nava' means nine
10. Dasami, In Sanskrit 'Dasam' means ten
11. Ekadasi, In Sanskrit 'eka' means one and 'Dasam' means ten ekadasi = eleven
12. Dvadasi, In Sanskrit 'Dvandham' means one and 'Dasam' means ten Dvadasi = twelve
13. Trayodasi, In Sanskrit 'Triyam' means one and 'Dasam' means ten Trayodasi = thirteen
14. Chaturdasi, In Sanskrit 'Chatur' means one and 'Dasam' means ten Chaturdasi = fourteen

You need to count from Amavasya (new moon day) to purnima (full moon day) and include the 14 tithis for sukla paksha. Purnima to Amavasya include 14 tithis and count for Krishna Paksha. Thus there are 30 tithis i.e., new moon to purnima 15 tithis plus Pratipada to Amavasya 15 tithis.

2). Nakshatra

The second element star clusters or constellation (nakshatra) is already dealt in the previous post (Tamil Astrology).

3). Karana

The third element of the panchanga is Karana. What is Karana? A karana is simply half of your lunar day or the tithi. According to Vedic Astrology there are only eleven karanas and there are sixty Karanas occurring in a single lunar month. The eleven unique Karana names are:

1. Bava, 2. Balava, 3. Kaulava, 4. Taitila, 5. Gara, 6. Vanija, 7. Visti, 8. Sakuni, 9. Catuspada, 10. Naga and 11. Kintughna.

4). Yoga

According to Vedic Astrology the occurrence of a particular star cluster in combination with the specific day is considered either auspicious or inauspicious. There are twenty seven yogas. Certain combinations of day and star are inauspicious. Sidha yogas' and 'Amirtha yogas' are considered as auspicious.

5). Vara (vasara)

Varam is the fifth element of the panchanga. Varam is simply a solar day. It just includes your seven week days commencing from Sunday to Saturday. A solar day, measured from sunrise to sunrise. There are seven days in each phase, or week, in the Hindu system. Each solar day is said to be ruled by a planet as shown below:

1. Bhanu (or Ravi) vasara: Sunday Sun;  2. Soma vasara: Monday. "Day of the moon," also known as Indu vasara; 3. Mangala vasara: Tuesday. "Day of brightness, auspiciousness, fortune" or "day of Mars."; 4. Budha vasara: Wednesday. "Day of wisdom" or "Day of Mercury."; 5. Guru vasara: Thursday. "Day of the preceptor" or "day of Jupiter," known in Sanskrit as Brihaspati, by which this day is also known; 6. Sukra vasara: Friday. "Resplendent, clear day" or "day of Venus."; 7. Sani vasara or (Manta vasara): Saturday. "Day of Saturn." Or "Churning day"

The days - Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are always auspicious for commencing your plans and programs. Saturdays and Tuesdays are auspicious for commencing your course of medicines or surgical treatments, etc.. Sunday is neither auspicious nor inauspicious.

Time Divisions in a Solar Day

A solar day is divided into 60 'Naligais' (24 hours or 1440 minutes). A naligai is the basic unit of time in Tamil (Vedic) Aastrology. One naligai is equal to 24 minutes. Six naligais make one 'Jamam'. A jamam is an unit of time comprising 2 hours and 24 minutes (84 minutes). Five jamams make a day and another five jamams make the night. A solar day in total comprises 10 jamams.

Month: Masam as told earlier there are two uniqe types of months-lunar months and solar months. How a lunar is computed? A lunar month is the time taken by the moon to complete one lunar orbit of the moon around the earth (commencing either from the new moon day or the full moon day). A lunar month has two pakshas: One is Sukla Paksha (Waxing moon cycle) and Krshna Paksha (waning moon cycle). A solar month is the time taken by the sun to complete one solar transition or sun's movement through one rasi (zodiac sign). The solar months are as follows:

Sanskrit month - Tamil  month - with equivalent English calendar months:

1) Mesha - Chitrai - April/May; 2) Vrishabha - Vaikasi - May/June; 3) Mithuna - Ani - June/July;   4) Kataka - Adi - July/August; 5) Simha - Avani - August/September; 6) Kanya - Puratasi - September/October; 7) Thula - Aipasi - October/November; 8) Vrischika - Kartikai - November/December; 9) Dhanus - Markali - December/January; 10) Makara - Thai - January/February; 11) Kumbha - Masi - February/March; 12) Meena - Panguni - March/April.

Year: The 60-year cycle of the Tamil calendar is common to North and South Indian traditional calendars, with the same name and sequence of years.

Other Calendar Systems used in in India:

  1. Kaliyuga calendar; (3102 BCE)  Current Kaliyuga year 5116
  2. Buddha Nirvana calendar; (544 BCE) current Buddha Nirvana year 2558
  3. Buddhist Era (BE) of the Thai solar calendar (543 BCE) current Buddhist Era year 2557
  4. Bikram Sambat (56 BCE) or Vikrama calendar: In 56 BCE, Vikrama Samvat era was founded by the emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain following his victory over the Sakas. It is being followed in Western and Northern India and Nepal. current Vikrama year 2071
  5. Thiruvalluvar calendar (31 BCE) Current Thiruvalluvar 2031. Adopted as Official calendar in the Sate of Tamil Nadu India
  6. Saka calendar; (78 CE): Shalivahana or Saka calendar:  Satavahana king Gautamiputra Satakarni initiated the Saka era to celebrate his victory against the Sakas in the year 78 CE. It is followed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa. It is also the official civil calendar in use in India. Current Saka year 1936.
  7. Bengali Calendar (593 CE) Current Bengali  year 1421
  8. Kolla Varsham calendar or Malayalam calendar  (824 CE) is used in Kerala. Current Kolla year 1190

Reference Sources:

  1.     Panchangam
  2.     Calendar
  3.     Hindu calendar

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tamil Astrology

Ecliptic Path: Source: Wikpedia (Wikimedia Commons)
Zodiac Signs Shown around the Earth and Other Planets in their Orbits
Dragon Head or Rahu and Dragon Tail or Ketu: Shadowy planets. Source: Astrology Planet Raghu - Ketu
Precession of the Equinoxes Source:
The Tropical and Sidereal Zodiaks & The Cycle of Earth's Precessional Cross
inner wheel - tropical zodiac  outer wheel - sidereal zodiac Source: You are Who You are?

Our Sages or Rishis of the Vedic period (Narada, Vasistha, Saunaka, Jaimini and others) were able to perceive the mysterious star and planetary movements along the zodiacal system through their deep meditation (thapas). They conceived the basic rules of the "nirayana" or sidereal zodiacal system (Fixed star astrology) which formed the basis for Indian Vedic Astronomy as well as Vedic Astrology. It is different from Western Tropical astrology or the Moving star system. If a birth chart cast using these tropical and sidereal system, there  will be the variation of 23 to 24 degrees. Accordingly (for example) if the Tropical system horoscope shows the sun in Aquaris, then the sidereal system will indicate the Sun in Capricorn.

Many more Indian astrological traditions shared common roots in ancient philosophies that influenced each other and Tamil astrology, a natural cosmic tradition, branched out from the Indian Vedic Astronomy.  Tamil astrology,  is estimated as one of the most ancient, accurate and consistent form of astrology from India. Its basic principles and unique methodologies are derived from the principles of Sidereal (Eastern) astrology. The sidereal system claims that the position of planets in their orbits observable and the astronomical calculations are scientific and  measurable.

The Tamil astrology study consists of 27 constellations, in 12 lunar mansions. The movements of two luminaries Sun and Moon, five major planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mercury) and the two nodal points of the Moon i.e., Rahu and Ketu are considered and their positions are marked.

Nine Planets

According to Tamil Astrology there are only nine Planets or Grahas which have innumerable influence on human life. Of the nine planets only seven planets are known heavenly bodies: Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. The remaining two, namely Dragon Head or Rahu and Dragon Tail or Ketu, are known as shadowy planets. Why it is called as shadowy planets? The two planetary positions are calculated mathematically.

Twelve Zodiac Signs

The Tamil Astrology system also conceived the zodiacal system (Circle of animals). It is an elliptical belt along the solar path. This zodiacal belt is extended for about eight degrees on either side of this solar path. Along this zodiacal belt the sun, moon and other planetary motions takes place. Tamil Astrology divides this zodiacal belt comprising 360 degrees into 12 equal parts. Each part of 30 degrees was called as sign or Rasi. This is considered as the fundamental division of Tamil Astrology. The Western terminology of the 12 zodiac signs or rasis and their Sanskrit names are : 

1.Aries: Mesha "Ram, goat." ; 
2.Taurus: Vrishabha "Strength," or "a bull." ; 
3.Gemini: Mithuna "Twins"; 
4.Cancer: Kataka "Crab." ; 
5.Leo: Simha "Lion;" ; 
6.Virgo: Kanya "Maiden;" ; 
7.Libra: Thula "Balance"; 
8.Scorpio: Vrishchika "Scorpion." ; 
9.Sagittarius: Dhanus "Bow;" ; 
10.Capricorn: Makara "Crocodile"; 
11.Aquarius: Kumbha "Water vessel;" ; 
12.Pisces: Meena "Fish;"

27 Star-clusters or Constellations

The Tamil Astrology also set relation between 12 zodiacal signs or rasis and 27 star-clusters and constellations. These unique 27 star-clusters or constellations spread within the elliptic zodiac orbit (solar orbit). Tamil Astrology divides 27 equal divisions of the zodiac orbit (comprising 360 degrees) and each star-cluster and constellation will occupy 1/27 parts or 13 degree 20' of the zodiac orbit. As a result astrology system brings 27 star-clusters or constellations under 12 zodiac signs and unifies both the divisions together.

The twenty-seven nakshatras are: Asvin, Bharani, Krittika, Rohini, Mrigasira, Ardra, Punarvasu, Pushya, Aslesha, Magha, Purvaphalguni, Uttaraphalguni, Hasta, Chaitra, Svati, Visakha, Anuradha, Jyeshtha, Mula, Purvashadha, Uttarashadha, Sravana, Dhanishtha, Satabhishaj, Purvaprostapada, Uttaraprostapada and Revati.

Planetray Transitions in Zodiac Signs / Stellar Constellations

According to Tamil Astrology the nine planets are related to the 12 zodiac signs or rasis and 27 stellar-clusters or constellations. Planetary transitions and its influence on individuals will be calculated according to the birth star (ruling constellation at the time of his birth). Each individual will be related with the respective stellar cluster and zodiac sign at the time of his / her birth. When there are planetary transitions occurring across each specific stellar constellation / zodiac sign, there will be significant influence planets on all the natives.

 Reference Sources:

  1.     Sidereal astrology
  2.     Constellation
  3.     Zodiac
  4.     Nakshatra

Western Astrology vs Vedic Astrology (Mathematical and Scientific Explanation by KRSchannel


Monday, April 7, 2014

Chaturbhuj Rama of Bhadrachalam Temple: Rama Navami Celebrations in Andhra Pradesh

Chaturbhuj Rama Temple, Bhadrachalam - Top View
Circumambulation Path Showing Vimanam and Rajagopuram
Temple Tower Chaturbhuj Rama Temple
Sree Seetha Ramachandra swamy appears with Four Hands - Consort Seetha and Lord Lakshmana

Sree Seetha Ramachandra swamy vaari hill temple at Bhadrachalam is the most important Hindu temple devoted to Lord Rama and is located on the left banks of the holy Godavari river. Read on to learn the mythology, history, main deity, fairs and festivals and other tourism information.

Have you ever heard of Bhadrachalam, the holy Hindu temple built for Lord Rama by Ramadas during 1630 A.D? This vast hill temple located, on the banks of the holy river Godavari, in Khammam district, Andhra Pradesh, South India and you have to climb the 40 foot-steps. This pilgrim centre attracts thousands and thousands of devotees from all corners of the world.  The temple complex has exquisitely sculpted vimana (tower right on top of the main deity) and mandapams (huge hall supported by stone pillars). This shrine is well associated with the great epic Ramayana (Glorious life history of Lord Rama – the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu) as well as with the lives of devotees such as Guru Adi Sankara, Bhakta Ramadas and Kabirdas ( a Muslim by birth).


According to the sthala purana (history learned from puranas), the sage Bhadra was the child of sage Meru and Menaka (celestial beauty served at Lord Indra’s court as dancer). Sage Bhadra prayed Lord Vishnu and appealed him to establish dharma (virtue) and destroy the evil demons. Since Lord Vishnu was sympathetic and decided to incarnate for the seventh time to save the world. King Dasaratha of Ayodhya (ancient Indian Kingdom – now a popular city in Uttar Pradesh State, India) and his queen Kausalya gave birth to Lord Rama (approximate year 7323 B.C).

It is learned from the mythology that Lord Rama, his wife Sita and his brother Lakshmana spent their vanavasam (observing penance at a forest) at this shrine (name of a place Parnashala). Parnashala (32 K.M away from Bhadrachalam) is believed to be the hut constructed by Lord Rama for spending their time at Vanavasam. The story of golden deer is also associated with this shrine. The king of Sri Lanka abducted Devi Sita and taken her to Sri Lanka (approximate date 7306 B.C). Lord Rama waged a war and destroyed the demon king Ravana (approximate date 7323 B.C) and returned to his kingdom Ayodhya with his wife and brother.

History of temple

Another interesting episode related to this shrine is about the tribal woman called Pokala Dammakka. She lived in the 17th century at Bhadrireddypalayam near Bhadrachalam. Lord Rama seems to have appeared in her dream and informed about the existence of the icons of the Lord around Bhadragiri. The woman, being an ardent devotee of Lord Rama was shocked and went in search and idols and found them buried in side of an ant-hill. She cleaned the idols by pouring holy water from river Godavari.

The local Tahsildar (of Burgampahad) Kancharla Gopanna, (later attained popularity as Bhakta Ramadas) a staunch devotee of Lord Rama vowed to construct the temple for his Lord (temple and the prakaram) in 1674 A.D. The jewelry made by him for his Lord Rama includes headgear and necklaces studded with gems like emerald, ruby etc. Ramadas and has lavishly spent the government money of the Tanisha Nawab. The Navab even jailed Ramadas as a punishment for the act of spending huge wealth. Saint Thyagaraja (one of three exponents of Carnatic music) adopted Bhakta Ramadas as his role model and even included his name in one or two keerthanas.

Lord Rama is the prime deity of this temple. The idol of Lord Rama has four arms and found sitting in Padmasana posture. The other two hands are holding the conch (Sankha) at right and the wheel (Chakra) at left. The main deity is known as Chaturbhuj Rama (Rama with four hands). His consort Sita is found at his left and brother Lakshmana also found to the left of Sita. You will find at the idols taken for procession (Utsav deities) that Lord Rama at centre and his consort Sita and brother Lakshmana on either side. Adi Sankarar used to invoke and praise Lord Rama as Bhadrachala Rama and Vaikuntha Rama.

Main Festival : Ramanavami

The temple at Bhadrachalam is celebrating the nine day Ramanavami festival at a grand scale. Bhakta Ramadas was responsible in organizing this festival at a huge scale. Even today this festival is celebrated in the same style. The main attraction of this festival is ‘Sita Rama Kalyana utsavam’ (the celestial wedding anniversary festival).

Other Places of Interest

The temples in and around Bhadrachalam include Narasimhaswami Temple, Govindarajulu Swamy Temple and Kalyana Mandapam. As told earlier Parnashala is just located 32 km away from here. A hot water spring named as Ushnagundam is another place located 6 km from here.

How you can reach?

Bhadrachalam is well connected to the rest of the Indian cities by roads and railways. The town located to the east of Hyderabad (State capital of Andhra Pradesh) and lies at a distance of 320 km.  The nearest airport is at Hyderabad. The city lies closer to Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh border. You may prefer to go either by bus or train. If you go by train you have to get down at Kothagudem Railway station, a place located 40 km from Bhadrachalam.


The temple opens at 04.30 A.M. in the morning with “Prabhadhotsavam” or awakening ceremony and the darshan from 07.00 A.M. to 08.30 P.M. Consult temple website for details:


You will find a number of budget hotels as well as Andhra Pradesh Tourism Guest Houses at the vicinity of Bhadrachalam

Contact Address:
Contact (E.O):
Sree Seetha Ramachandra swamy vaari
Bhadrachalam-500 711,Dist. Khammam,
Andhra Pradesh India



Published by Muthusamy R in Hinduism on April 12, 2011