The Hindu calendar is the traditional lunar calendar followed by most Hindus in India. There are different variations to this calendar according to the many regions in the country. However they are all based on the lunar cycle as opposed to the Gregorian calendar (which is based on the solar cycle). One of the major reasons people in India refer to the Hindu almanac is to know the dates of different auspicious events and festivals.
Auspicious Time To Travel
Many Hindus consider certain times auspicious for travel, particularly if it is a business trip. Astrologers and experts calculate such times based on the tithi (date/day) and nakshatras (lunar constellations). Usually, days like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are considered favourable for travel. Finding auspicious travel dates for a particular journey will depend on a person’s current location, horoscope, and other factors.
If you are looking for a favourable time to travel in India according to the Hindu calendar, it is a good idea to pick the time around festivals. This is because most Hindu festivals are observed on days that are considered auspicious. Moreover, you get to experience Indian culture in all its glory and be part of sublime celebrations.
Picking just a few Hindu festivals to consider planning a vacation around is tough job, but here are some major ones we recommend:
Foreigners across the globe are also familiar with the colourful festival of Holi, which is an indication of how popular this annual Indian festival is. As per the Hindu calendar, Holi is celebrated on the last full moon day of the month called Phalgun – according to the Gregorian calendar, this falls sometime in the month of March.
Holi not only marks the arrival of spring, but is also a time when people celebrate the triumph of good over evil by burning a bonfire called Holika. This is most often a community celebration. Celebrated all over the country, in different ways, Holi brings together people of different communities and even religions. Everyone gets together to douse each other in colours and share traditional sweets. This festival marks an excellent time to travel as per the Hindu calendar.
These festivals are held around 13-15 January, and are celebrated in different states by different names. But, they all have a common thread and it is that all of these are winter harvest events. This time is considered auspicious for new beginnings and travelling.
Makar Sankranti: Celebrated around the country and referred to by this name mostly in western India. Makar Sankranti marks the shift of the Sun to lengthening days. Kite-flying and distribution of til-gud (sesame-jaggery) sweets are common celebrations.
Lohri in Punjab: People celebrate by distributing sweets and engaging in community folk songs. Celebrations include dancing around a bonfire to pay tribute to the fire God.
Pongal in Tamil Nadu: Observed to thank nature for its bounty, Pongal is celebrated across South India with home decorations and traditional rice pudding preparations.
Bhogali Bihu in Assam: Paying respect to elders, praying to the fire God, and feasting is how people in Assam celebrate this annual festival.
Gudi Padwa/Ugadi/Cheti Chand
In 2017, the dates, 28-29th March will be celebrated as GudiPadwa, Ugadi, and Cheti Chand by different communities. This day marks an auspicious time to travel.
Gudi Padwa: Celebrated in Maharashtra to herald the arrival of spring, this festival involves home decoration with rangoli and gudi (a decked pole with a silver or brass vessel over it), buying new clothes, and exchanging sweets.
Ugadi: Ugadi is celebrated as New Year’s in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh with temple visits, special dishes, and clean, decorated houses.
Cheti Chand: Sindhis observe this occasion on the second day of the Hindu calendar’s Chaitra month, a day after Gudi Padwa and Ugadi. Elaborate feasts, visiting temples, and eating neem and jaggery are some ways in which Cheti Chand is celebrated.
April is another favourable time to travel as India once again gears up to celebrate different festivals like Baisakhi (Punjab), Poila Baishakh (Bengal), Rongali Bihu (Assam), and Vishu (Kerala). Held around the same time (mid-April), these festivals mark the arrival of a new year for people in the east, north-east, south, and a few northern states.
The preparation of traditional sweet dishes at home, donning new clothes, paying respect to elders, song-and-dances, and community functions are a few common ways in which Hindus celebrate this time of the year. The celebrations often last a few days, and this time is considered quite auspicious for travelling and new beginnings.
Diwali is one of the most awaited Hindu festivals in India, and is celebrated by people of various communities and even religions. Popularly known as the ‘Festival of Lights’, Diwali is characterised by glittering lights – as people’s houses are lit up with clay lamps, candles, electric lights, etc. It is believed that the light will guide Goddess Lakshmi (the Goddess of Wealth) into homes and bring prosperity and good luck to the residents.
When it comes to festivals, there is no scarcity in Hinduism, as there are auspicious days almost every week. People even plan making big purchases like a house or car around the time of festivals, as these days are believed to be the most favourable. So, if you are looking for an auspicious time to travel, festivals give you an excellent baseline.
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