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Vikram Samwat (Bikram Sambat, or Vikram Samvat, Devanagari:विक्रम संवत, abbreviated "V.S.") is the calendar established by Indian emperor Vikramaditya. It is a popularly used calendar in India and the official calendar of Bangladesh and Nepal.

The Vikrama Samvat was founded by the emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain[1] following his victory over the Sakas in 56 BCE, although it is popularly (and incorrectly) associated with the subsequent king Chandragupta Vikramaditya. It is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition (see Hindu calendar and Vedic time keeping). The Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead (in count) of the solar Gregorian calendar. For example, the year 2056 BS began in CE 1999 and ended in CE 2000. In Northern India the calendar starts with the first day after the new moon in the month Chaitra, which usually falls in March/April in the Gregorian calendar. Again in Western India the same era begins with the first day after the new moon in the month of Kartika which usually falls in October and November in the Gregorian calendar.

Contents

Months

No. Name Nepali [1] Days
1 Baishākh बैशाख 30 / 31
2 Jeṭha जेष्ठ 31 / 32
3 Asār आषाढ़ or असार 31 / 32
4 Sāun श्रावण or सावन 31 / 32
5 Bhadau भाद्र or भादौ 31 / 32
6 Asoj आश्विन or असोज/अगहन 30 / 31
7 Kartik कार्तिक 29 / 30
8 Mangsir मार्ग or मंसिर 29 / 30
9 Push पौष or पुष/पूस 29 / 30
10 Magh माघ 29 / 30
11 Falgun or Phagun फाल्गुन or फागुन 29 / 30
12 Chaitra चैत्र or चैत 30 / 31
No. Name North Indian languages Days
1 Vaishakh वैशाख or बैसाख 30 / 31
2 Jyeshtha ज्येष्ठ or जेठ 31 / 32
3 Aashadh आषाढ़ 31 / 32
4 Shraawan श्रावण or सावन 31 / 32
5 Bhadrapad भाद्रपद or भादो 31 / 32
6 Ashvin आश्विन 30 / 31
7 Kartik कार्तिक 29 / 30
8 Aghrahaayan अग्रहायण or अगहन 29 / 30
9 Paush पौष or पुष/पूस 29 / 30
10 Margsheersh मार्गशीर्ष or माघ 29 / 30
11 Phalgun फाल्गुन or फागुन 29 / 30
12 Chaitra चैत्र or चैत 30 / 31

History

This calendar derives its name from the original king Vikramaditya of Ujjain. After the rise of the Rana oligarchs in Nepal, Vikram Sambat came into unofficial use along with the official Shaka Sambat for quite some time. They discontinued Shaka Sambat in its 1823rd year and replaced it with Vikram Samwat for official use since then to date. Vikram Sambat came into official use in its 1958th year. The calendar is widely in use in western India, where it is known as the Vikram Samvat.

The date is supposed to mark the victory of king Vikramaditya over the Sakas, who had invaded Ujjain. To the new era was established to commemorate this event. Alternatively, it is thought to correspond to the Azes era, of the Indo-Scythian king Azes I.

Kalakacharya and the Saka King (Kalakacharya Katha-Manuscript,Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai

The story is described in "Kalakacharya Kathanaka", a much later work by a Jain sage called Mahesara Suri (Probably circa 12th century CE). The Kathanaka (meaning, "an account") tells the story of a famed Jain monk Kalakacharya. It mentions that Gardabhilla, the then powerful king of Ujjain, abducted a nun called Sarasvati who was the sister of the monk. The enraged monk sought help of the Saka ruler, a "Sahi", in Sakasthana. Despite heavy odds (but aided by miracles) the Saka king defeated Gardabhilla and made him a captive. Sarasvati was repatriated. Gardabhilla himself was forgiven though. The defeated king retired to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, being brought up in the forest, had to rule from Pratishthana (in modern Maharashtra). Later on Vikramaditya invaded Ujjain and drove away the Sakas. To commemorate this event he started a new era called the Vikrama era. This story seems to be a jumbled one, as the original Vikramaditya began his rule from Ujjain and not from Pratishthana. The Ujjain calendar started around 56 BCE to 58 BCE, and the subsequent Shalivahan Saka calendar was started in 78 A.D. at Pratishthan.

Culture

The new year of Bikram Samwat is one of the many festivals of Nepal, marked by parties, family gatherings, the exchange of good wishes and participation in rituals to ensure good fortune in the coming year.

In addition to Nepal, the Bikram Sambat calendar are also recognized in northern India, eastern India, and in Gujarat and Maharashtra among Hindus. In Buddhist communities, the month of Baishakh is associated with Vesak, known as Visakah Puja or Buddha Purnima in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, Visakha Bucha in Thailand, Waisak in Indonesia and Wesak in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. It commemorates the birth, Enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha on the one historical day, the first full moon day in May, except in a leap year when the festival is held in June. Although this festival is not held on the same day as Pahela Baishakh, the holidays typically fall in the same month (Baishakh) of the Bengali, Hindu, and Theravada Buddhist calendars, and are related historically through the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in South Asia.

Conversion

The basic rule of thumb for conversion (This method is not exact and almost all of the time it gives wrong dates. However for general idea it is very useful)

Nepali Date to English: Subtract - 56 Years - 8 Months - 15 Days

English Date to Nepali Date: Add - 56 Years - 8 Months - 15 Days
Also http://www.ashesh.com.np/nepali-date-converter.php, http://nepalipatro.com.np or http://www.rajan.com/calendar/

Nepali Calendar with English date : http://www.ashesh.com.np/nepali-calendar/

References

  1. ^ The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia by Edward Balfour, B. Quaritch 1885, p502
  • "The dynastic art of the Kushan", John Rosenfield.

See also

External links

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