Nanakshahi Calendar

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Nanakshahi Calendar 2012- click to enlarge

Sikhs across the world now have their own universal calendar. The name of this new calendar is: Nanakshahi Calendar, and it takes its name from Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism.

Other religions, like Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism, have had their own calendars. But for most of its history, Sikhism has used the traditional Vikrami (or Bikrami) calendar, shared by Sikhs and Hindus in North India, to set the date of its festivals.

Sikhs see the adoption of the new calendar as a big step forward for the Sikh identity, and one that will help dispel any assumptions that Sikhism is a branch of some other religion.


The new calendar will make life much easier for Sikhs as their holy days will no longer move about the calendar from year to year. Gurpurbs (celebrations devoted to particular Gurus) will now always happen on the same date, and occur once (and once only) in every year. The epoch of this calendar is the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev in 1469. New Year's Day falls annually on what is March 14 in the Gregorian Western calendar.

The calendar doesn't fix the date of all Sikh festivals. Those Sikh festivals, which are celebrated at the same time as similar Hindu religious events, such as Diwali and Hola Mohalla, will still have their dates set by the Vikrami calendar.

Features of the new calendar

  • a solar calendar - based on the time it takes for the earth to rotate around the sun
  • called Nanakshahi after Guru Nanak (founder of Sikhism) - year one is the year of Guru Nanak's birth (1469 CE)
  • is scientifically design and keeps in precise tune with the sun's position; seasons do not slip from year to year!
  • is based on Gurbani - Months taken directly from Guru Granth sahib
  • year length is same as Western calendar (365 days 5 hours 48 minutes 45 seconds)
  • contains 5 months of 31 days followed by 6 months of 30 days; last month is either 30 or 31 in leap years.
  • leap year every 4 years in which the last month (Phagun) has an extra day
  • Fixed dates for start of each month when compared to common era calendar

Months of the year

Below are the months of the year with the number of days in each month and the start date of the month compared to the common era calendar:

No. Month Name Start date Days in month
1. Chet 14 March 31
2. Vaisakhi 14 April 31
3. Jeth 15 May 31
4. Harh 15 June 31
5. Sawan 16 July 31
6. Bhadon 16 August 30
7. Assu 15 September 30
8. Katak 15 October 30
9. Maghar 14 November 30
10. Poh 14 December 30
11. Magh 13 January 30
12. Phagun 12 February 30 (31 in leap years)

The Calendar

The months in the Nanakshahi calendar are:

No. Month Name Punjabi Days Julian Months 2006 New Month Dates
1 Chet ਚੇਤ 31 March - April 14 March
2 Vaisakh ਵੈਸਾਖ 31 April - May 14 April
3 Jeth ਜੇਠ 31 May - June 15 May
4 Harh ਹਾੜ 31 June - July 15 June
5 Sawan ਸਾਵਣ 31 July - August 16 July
6 Bhadon ਭਾਦੋਂ 30 August - September 16 August
7 Assu ਅੱਸੂ 30 September - October 15 September
8 Katak ਕੱਤਕ 30 October - November 15 October
9 Maghar ਮੱਘਰ 30 November - December 14 November
10 Poh ਪੋਹ 30 December - January 14 December
11 Magh ਮਾਘ 30 January - February 13 January
12 Phagun ਫੱਗਣ 30/31 February - March 12 February

Conversion to Western calendar

The following table gives the Nanakshahi calendar year and its translation to the Western calendar:

Nanakshahi year Western calendar
555 14 March 2023 to 13 March 2024
554 14 March 2022 to 13 March 2023
553 14 March 2021 to 13 March 2022
552 14 March 2020 to 13 March 2021
551 14 March 2019 to 13 March 2020
550 14 March 2018 to 13 March 2019
549 14 March 2017 to 13 March 2018
548 14 March 2016 to 13 March 2017
547 14 March 2015 to 13 March 2016
546 14 March 2014 to 13 March 2015
545 14 March 2013 to 13 March 2014
544 14 March 2012 to 13 March 2013
543 14 March 2011 to 13 March 2012
542 14 March 2010 to 13 March 2011
541 14 March 2009 to 13 March 2010
540 14 March 2008 to 13 March 2009
530 14 March 1998 to 13 March 1999
520 14 March 1988 to 13 March 1989
510 14 March 1978 to 13 March 1979
500 14 March 1968 to 13 March 1969
401 14 March 1869 to 13 March 1870
301 14 March 1769 to 13 March 1770
231 14 March 1699 to 13 March 1700
201 14 March 1669 to 13 March 1670
101 14 March 1569 to 13 March 1570
1 14 March 1469 to 13 March 1470

Calendar creator

The Nanakshahi Calendar was developed by a Canadian Sikh, Pal Singh Purewal, a retired computer engineer. He started work on the new calendar in the 1960s.

Purewal believes that having a unique calendar is vital for the integrity of the Sikh religion.

"All communities and faiths have their own calendar as a mark of their distinct cultural identity. Just as the Islamic world has the Hijri calendar and Hindus have Vikrami calendar, the Sikhs will have a Nanakshahi calendar along with the common era (CE) calendar which is in use throughout the world". Pal Singh Purewal

Acknowledgement and many thanks to:

Comments by S. Pal Singh Purewal

The Problem

Nanakshahi Samat is linked with the Bikrami Samat. Its tithis (sudist vadis) and sangrands are exactly the same as those of the Bikrami Samat. Therefore, it suffers from all the shortcomings of that Samat. The problems with the Bikrami Samat, and with other samats linked to it are as follows:

1. The length of the solar year of the Bikrami Samat does not conform to the tropical year length. The Bikrami year is sidereal year of 365 days, 6 hours, 9 minutes and 10 seconds. The tropical year on which the Common Era calendar is based, has its length as 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds. If the months of any given Era are to recur consistently in the same seasons, then the year length has to be that of the tropical year.

This difference of 20 minutes or so in the two types of years is because of the precession of equinoxes, the yearly retrograde motion of the first point of Aries of the ecliptic. Over a period of time, this difference builds up, and shows in those calendars, which are not based on the tropical year. The seasons in relation to the months begin shifting. This is the reason why Vaisakhi has shifted by 8-9 days from 1469 CE to the present times. The Vaisakhi dates for certain epochs are as follows :

CE Year Vaisakhi Date

  • 1000 22nd March
  • 1469 27th March
  • 1699 29th March
  • 1752 29th March
  • 1753 9th April (due to change from Julian to Gregorian Calendar)
  • 1799 10th April
  • 1899 12th April
  • 1999 14th April
  • 2100 15th April

If Nanakshahi calendar is not de-linked from the Bikrami calendar, this shift will continue, and in 13,000 years Vaisakhi would occur in the middle of October. The seasons will be opposite to those, which are mentioned in the Barah Maha Majh, and Tukhari Banis.

2. The days in the months are not fixed. The number can vary from 31-32 days for the summer months and from 29-30 days for winter months. The rules for determination of Sankrantis, beginning of the months, is complicated and public have to rely on Jantri publishers for such a simple thing as the beginning of a month.

3. The lunar portion of the calendar, according to which most of the religious festivals are fixed, has its share of peculiarities. Since it is based on 12 months of the lunar cycle (full moon to full moon or new moon to new moon), its year length is about 11 days shorter than that of the solar year. Therefore, its year begins 11 days earlier in the following year in relation to the solar year. This is why the Gurpurb dates shift by about 11 days from one year to the other. This is not the end. To keep the lunar year in step with the solar year, every two or three years an extra month is added to the lunar year. This month is called malmas or intercalary month. That lunar year contains 384 or so days. This makes the Gurpurb dates to occur by about 18 or 19 days later when such a month is introduced. The month of Jeth that will occur in 1999 CE will be intercalated, i.e., there would be two months of Jeth, one Sudha and the other Mal. In the malmas or the extra month religious festivals are not celebrated. This is quite a complicated set up, and is also contrary to the philosophy of Gurbani according to which no month in itself is good or bad.

The festivals and Gurpurbs that are celebrated according to the lunar calendar are called movable, and those that are celebrated according to the solar calendar are called fixed. The movable festivals are called as such, because their dates are not fixed in relation to the solar year. From year to year they occur on different dates of the solar year, though their lunar date is the same every year. Gurpurbs of the ten Patshahis are all movable. Vaisakhi and Maghi are fixed festivals. An example of movable celebration is the Parkash Gurpurb of Guru Gobind Singh. It is celebrated on the 7th day of the bright half of the lunar month of Poh (Sudi 7). This lunar date occurs on the following dates of the Common Era and Bikrami Era (solar) during the following eleven years:

CE Date Bikrami Date

  • 24th Dec., 1990 10th Poh, 2047 12th Jan., 1992 28th Poh, 2048
  • 31st Dec., 1992 17th Poh, 2049 19th Jan., 1994 6th Magh, 2050
  • 7th Jan., 1995 24th Poh, 2051 28th Dec., 1995 13th Poh, 2052
  • 15th Jan., 1997 3rd Magh, 2053 5th Jan., 1998 22nd Poh, 2054
  • 25th Dec., 1998 11th Poh, 2055 14th Jan., 2000 1st Magh, 2056

This Gurpurb did not occur in the CE years 1991, 1993 and 1996. It will not occur in the year 1999 (the year of 300th anniversary of the creation of the Khalsa). It occurred twice in 1992 and 1995; and it will occur twice in 1998. According to the Bikrami calendar (solar) the date of Parkash of Guru Ji is 23rd Poh, 1723 BK. During the above period Gurpurb does not occur on that date. Rather, it occurs in the month of Magh in three years.

Suggested Reform

A committee, under the aegis of the Institute of Sikh Studies Chandigarh, was formed to study this problem. This committee held meetings at Chandigarh and formulated proposals. These were formally accepted, in principle, in a larger meeting in which about 40 eminent scholars, from universities and other institutions, participated. The main proposals given below were submitted to the S.G.P.C.:

a) Length of the solar year in the Nanakshahi Samat should conform to the more accurate tropical year, instead of the sidereal year, currently being followed.

b) Begin the year from the month of Chet - as in the Baramahas.

Days in Month fixed

c) Fix the number of days in the months as follows:

The number of days in each of the 12 months is fixed from one year to the next apart from the month of Phagun which is 30 days long normally but is 31 days in leap years. The first 5 months of the Nanakshahi year are each 31 days and the following 6 months are each 30 days long. The final month is Phagun which can be 30 or 31 days.

# Month Days
1. Chet 31
2. Vaisakh 31
3. Jeth 31
4. Harh 31
5. Savan 31
6. Bhadon 30
7. Asu 30
8. Katik 30
9. Maghar 30
10. Poh 30
11. Magh 30
12. Phagun 30/31

Beginning of Months fixed

d) Fix the beginning of the months in relation to the Common Era calendar as follows:

Month Begins On
Chet 14th March
Vaisakh 14th April
Jeth 15th May
Harh 15th June
Sawan 16th July
Bhadon 16th August
Asu 15th September
Katik 15th October
Maghar 14th November
Poh 14th December
Magh 13th January
Phagun 12th February

With the above scheme, any given date of any month of the Nanakshahi calendar will always occur on the same date of the Common Era calendar, except in the month of Phagun in a leap year when the corresponding dates of Phagun from March 1 to March 13 will differ by 1 day from those of the same month in non- leap years. This is a simple scheme, easier to remember; and the calendar is good forever so that a particular month will have the same season always.

Gurpurbs to follow solar dates

e) Celebrate the Gurpurbs according to the solar dates, and not according to the sudis and vadis of the lunar calendar. Vaisakhi, Maghi, and shaheedi purbs of Sahibzadas are already being celebrated according to the solar dates. If all Gurpurbs were celebrated according to the solar dates, then no complicated calculations for fixing the dates would be required. For example, the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Ji is:

  • Poh Sudi 7, 1723 Bikrami (Lunar Calendar)
  • 23rd Poh, 1723 Bikrami (Solar Calendar)
  • 22nd December, 1666 CE (Common Era)

If the Gurpurb is celebrated according to the solar date of Guru Ji's birth on 23rd Poh instead of Poh Sudi 7, then this date will always occur on 5th January each year according to the Nanakshahi Calendar, with proposed reforms.


f) The list of Gurpurbs according to the solar dates is as follows :

Guru/Event Birthdate Gurgaddi Date Jyoti Jot Date
Guru Nanak Dev 19 Katak (2 Nov) from Birth 8 Asu (22 Sept.)
Guru Angad Dev 5 Vaisakh (18 April) 4 Asu ( 18 Sep.) 3 Vaisakh (16 April)
Guru Amar Das 9 Jeth (23 May) 3 Vaisakh (16 Apr.) 2 Asu (16 Sep.)
Guru Ram Das 25 Asu (9 Oct.) 2 Asu (16 Sep.) 2 Asu (16 Sep.)
Guru Arjun Dev 19 Vaisakh (2 May) 2 Asu (16 Sep.) 2 Harh (16 June)
Guru Hargobind 21 Harh (5 July) 28 Jeth (11 June) 6 Chet (19 March)
Guru Har Rai 19 Magh (31 Jan.) 29 Phagun (12/11Mar) 6 Katak (20 Oct.)
Guru Har Krishan 8 Savan (23 July) 6 Katak (20 Oct.) 3 Vaisakh (16 April)
Guru Teg Bahadur 5 Vaisakh (18 April) 3 Vaisakh (16 Apr.) 11 Maghar (24 Nov.)
Guru Gobind Singh 23 Poh (5 Jan) 11 Maghar (24 Nov) 7 Katak (21 Oct.)
Completion of Guru Granth Sahib Ji: 1 Bhadon (16 August)
First Parkash Guru Granth Sahib Ji: 17 Bhadon (1 September)
Gurgaddi Guru Granth Sahib Ji: 6 Katik (20 October)
Creation of the Khalsa: 1 Vaisakh (14 April)
Hola Mohalla (New Year Day): 1 Chet (14 March)

It must be noted that the dates given above in the Nanakshahi calendar are the original dates of the solar Bikrami year. The corresponding dates of the Common Era are those of the Gregorian Calendar that is now in use in most countries of the world along with local calendars. The conversion to the Common Era dates has been done not according to the Bikrami Calendar, but according to the proposed modified Nanakshahi Samat.

The Bikrami calendar has an error of 1 day in about 71 years. The proposed Nanakshahi calendar will reduce this error to one day in about 3,300 years, but in the case of Nanakshahi calendar this error will automatically be corrected, whenever the correction to the Common Era calendar is made. The new Nanakshahi calendar is simple, rational, more accurate than the Bikrami calendar, and conforms to Gurbani. Sankrantis will occur on the same dates in the CE year, every year. All Gurpurbs will also occur on the same dates every year, with one exception noted above. There will not be any need to consult Jantri publishers to find out when a Gurpurb is to occur.

Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee made announcement in October 1997, that S.G.P.C. would adopt this calendar and implement it in the historic year of 1999 CE, when Khalsa Panth celebrates its tercentenary.

Many thanks to:

Dates for the three moveable events

Movable dates for Sikh festivals (these change every year in line with the lunar phase)

Year Hola Mohalla Bandi Chhor Divas Parkash Guru Nanak
Moon phase Full moon New moon Full moon
2003 19 Mar 25 Oct 8 Nov
2004 7 Mar 12 Nov 26 Nov
2005 26 Mar 1 Nov 15 Nov
2006 15 Mar 21 Oct 5 Nov
2007 4 Mar 9 Nov 24 Nov
2008 22 Mar 28 Oct 13 Nov
2009 11 Mar 17 Oct 2 Nov
2010 1 Mar 5 Nov 21 Nov
2011 20 Mar 26 Oct 10 Nov
2012 9 Mar 13 Nov 28 Nov
2013 28 Mar 3 Nov 17 Nov
2014 17 Mar 23 Oct 6 Nov
2015 6 Mar 11 Nov 25 Nov
2016 24 Mar 30 Oct 14 Nov
2017 13 Mar 19 Oct 4 Nov
2018 2 Mar 7 Nov 23 Nov
2019 21 Mar 27 Oct 12 Nov
2020 10 Mar 14 Nov 30 Nov
2021 29 Mar 4 Nov 19 Nov
2022 19 Mar 24 Oct 8 Nov
2023 8 Mar 12 Nov 27 Nov
2024 26 Mar 31 Oct 15 Nov
2025 15 Mar 20 Oct 5 Nov

Nanakshahi Calendar

Important Events Nanakshahi Date Common Era Calendar
Birth of Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Sikh Guru 23 Poh 5 Jan
Birth of Guru Har Rai, the seventh Sikh 19 Magh 31 Jan
Nanakshahi New Year commences and Guru Har Rai becomes the seventh Guru of the Sikhs and Hola Mohalla festival 1 Chet 14 Mar
Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, passes away 6 Chet 19 Mar
the ordination of the Khalsa 1 Vaisakh 14 Apr
Guru Angad, the second Sikh Guru, passes away 3 Vaisakh 16 Apr
Guru Amar Das becomes the third Guru of the Sikhs 3 Vaisakh 16 Apr
Guru Harkrishan, the eighth Guru of the Sikhs, passes away 3 Vaisakh 16 Apr
Guru Tegh Bahadur becomes the Ninth Guru of the Sikhs 3 Vaisakh 16 Apr
Birth of Guru Angad, the second Sikh Guru 5 Vaisakh 18 Apr
Birth of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru of the Sikhs 5 Vaisakh 18 Apr
Birth of Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru 19 Vaisakh 2 May
Birth of Guru Amar Das, the third Sikh Guru 9 Jeth 23 May
Guru Hargobind becomes the sixth Guru of the Sikhs 28 Jeth 11 Jun
Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, in martyred by Chandu Shah in Lahore 2 Harh 16 Jun
Birth of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru 21 Harh 5 Jul
Guru Hargobind Sahib 6 Sawan 21 Jul
Guru Harkrishan Sahib 8 Sawan 23 Jul
Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, is installed at the Golden Temple for the first time 17 Paadao 1 Sep
Guru Amar Das, the third Guru of the Sikhs, passes away 2 Asu 16 Sep
Guru Ram Das becomes the fourth Guru of the Sikhs 2 Asu 16 Sep
Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs, passes away 2 Asu 16 Sep
Guru Arjan becomes the fifth Guru of the Sikhs 2 Asu 16 Sep
Guru Angad becomes the second Guru of the Sikhs 4 Asu 18 Sep
Guru Nanak, the first Guru of the Sikhs, passes away 8 Asu 22 Sep
Birth of Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of the Sikhs 25 Asu 9 Oct
Guru Har Rai, the seventh Guru of the Sikhs, passes away 6 Katak 20 Oct
Guru Harkrishan becomes the eighth Guru of the Sikhs 6 Katak 20 Oct
Sovereignty of the Sikh Scripture (Guru Granth Sahib) declared as the Guru for all times to come by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth and the last Sikh Guru 6 Katak 20 Oct
Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, passes away 7 Katak 21 Oct
Birth of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru and the founder of Sikhism 19 Katak 2 Nov
Guru Gobind Singh becomes the tenth Guru of the Sikhs 11 Maghar 24 Nov
Guru Tegh Bahadur martyred in Delhi by Aurangzeb for defending the oppressed 11 Maghar 24 Nov
Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jujhar Singh, the two elder sons of Guru Gobind Singh, martyred in the battle of Chamkaur 8 Poh 21 Dec
Sahibzada Zorawar Singh and Sahibzada Fateh Singh, the two younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh, executed in Sirhind 13 Poh 26 Dec

Other matters

June 4 is noted as the anniversary of the attack on the Akal Takht, and June 6 as the "martyrdom" of Sant Baba Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale. It also lists as "martyrdom days" the death anniversary of the two assassins of the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.


See also

External links


Controversy about the calendar 2011-2012

These are the Twelve Months of the Nanakshahi Calendar
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Chet Vaisakh Jeth Harh Sawan Bhadon Assu Katak Maghar Poh Magh Phagun