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Bhaskarabda: A Luni-Solar Calendar

  • 20 Oct 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Assam Government has announced that Bhaskarabda, a Luni-Solar Calendar will be used as an official calendar.

  • Presently, the official calendar of Assam government makes use of the Saka calendar and the Gregorian calendar.
  • However, the Bhaskarabda calendar will also be used from now onwards.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Bhaskarabda, an era counted from the date of the ascension of a 7th-century local ruler Bhaskar Varman.
    • It is based on both the phases of the moon and the solar year.
    • It began when Bhaskaravarman was crowned ruler of the Kamrupa kingdom.
      • He was a contemporary and political ally of northern Indian ruler Harshavardhana.
    • The gap between Bhaskarabda and Gregorian is 593 years.
  • Type of Calendars:
    • Solar:
      • Any dating system based on the seasonal year of approximately 365 1/4 days, the time it takes the Earth to revolve once around the Sun.
    • Lunar:
      • Any dating system based on a year consisting of synodic months—i.e., complete cycles of phases of the Moon.
    • Luni-Solar:
      • In the lunisolar calendar months are lunar but years are solar, it was used in the early civilizations of the whole Middle East and in Greece.
  • Bhaskarvarman (600–650):
    • He belonged to the Varman dynasty and was the ruler of Kamarupa Kingdom.
      • Kamarupa was one of the most advanced kingdoms in India under Bhaskaravarman. Kamarupa was the first historical kingdom of Assam.
    • His name has been immortalised in the accounts of the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim, Xuanzang, who visited Kamarupa during his reign.
    • He is known for his alliance with Harshavardhana against Shashanka, the first major ruler of Bengal (Karnasuvarna).
Classification of calendars in India
Vikram Samvat 
(Hindu lunar calendar)
  • It dates back to 57 B.C where 57 B.C. is the zero year.
  • Introduced by King Vikramaditya to mark his victory over the Saka rulers.
  • It is a lunar calendar as it is based on the movement of the moon.
  • Every year is divided into 12 months and each month is divided into two phases.
    • The bright half is called the Shuklapaksha (15 days). It starts with the new moon and ends with a full moon.
    • The dark half is called the Krishnapaksha (15 days). It starts with the full moon and ends with a new moon.
  • The month begins with the dark half. There are 354 days in a year.
  • Hence every third and fifth year in a cycle of five years has 13 months (the 13th month is called Adhik Mass).
Saka Samvat
(Hindu Solar calendar)
  • The zero year of Saka Samvat is 78 A.D.
  • It was started by Saka rulers to mark their victory over Kushanas.
  • It is a solar calendar, any dating system based on the seasonal year of approximately 365 1/4 days, the time it takes the Earth to revolve once around the Sun.
  • It was adopted by the Government of India as the official calendar in the year 1957.
  • Every year has 365 days.
Hijri calendar (Islamic lunar calendar)
  • The zero year is 622 A.D.
  • It was initially started and followed in Saudi Arabia.
  • Every year has 12 months and 354 days.
  • The first month is called Muharram.
  • Ninth month is called Ramzaan.
    • During this month, Muslims observe a fast for the purification of souls. The morning breakfast is called Shehri and evening food is called Iftar.
Gregorian calendar
(Scientific solar calendar)
  • The Gregorian calendar is used as the civil calendar.
  • It began to be used from 1582.
  • It is named after Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced the calendar.
  • It substituted the earlier Julian calendar because the Julian calendar had a miscalculation regarding leap year.
    • The Julian year had 365.25 days.

Source: TH

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