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Vedic Vaishnava Calendar Version 4.01

Written by Shyamasundara Dasa and Markandeya Rishi Dasa

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
copyright (c) 1983-1999. All rights reserved.



1. Where to obtain VCAL
 2. VCAL is freeware
 3. List of files
 4. Spellings
 5. Introduction to the program
 6. How to use the program
 7. Some basic Vedic astronomy
    a. The movements of the moon and sun
    b. The definitions of solar and lunar months and years
        i. The solar month and year
       ii. The lunar month and year
 8. The Pancanga, or the Vedic calendar
    a. Tithi
    b. Naksatra
    c. Yoga
 9. Reasons to follow a lunar calendar
10. Traditional and modern methods of calculation
11. Some comments on interpreting the Vaisnava calendar
    a. Names of years and months
    b. When to observe Ekadasi
    c. "Break fast 05:18 - 09:34" and "Daylight-savings not        considered"
    d. Double or no tithi
    e. Sankranti
    f. Names for the signs of the zodiac
12. Parting Words

1. Where to obtain VCAL

The most recent version of VCAL should be available on the Worldwide Web.

2. VCAL is freeware

The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International owns the program, but you are welcome to use it and share it with others. There are only a few rules. They appear in the file LICENSE.TXT.

3. List of files

The following files are included in this archive:

Main program
Overlay used by the main program
Overlay used by the main program
Overlay used by the main program
File containing list of towns
Help file
The document you are now reading
Describing changes in each new version.
Questions and Answers for the release of this version.
Your license for the free use of this program
About the festivals mentioned in the calendar
About the saints and incarnations mentioned in the calendar
About His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
About the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
Brief identification of this program

You are welcome to share VCAL with others, but please distribute the complete archive, not just selected files.

4. Spellings 

To spell Sanskrit (and Bengali) names and terms, VCAL uses "as-if-diacritical" spellings. That is, it spells as if it were employing the diacritical marks used by scholars, but leaves those marks out. Thus "Krishna" is spelled "Krsna." The VCAL documentation follows the same system. A guide to the Sanskrit transliteration system is found in all the books of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust.

5. Introduction to the program 

VCAL calculates Vedic lunar calendars. There are different ways to make calendars according to the Vedic lunar system, all very similar. This program makes the calendar according to the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, an important branch of the Vaisnava tradition. The word "Vaisnava" denotes a worshiper of Visnu.

VCAL has been developed for ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, which follows the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. But the calendars VCAL produces should be useful for most people who follow a Vedic lunar calendar.

VCAL was written by Syamasundara Dasa. He and Markandeya Rsi Dasa developed it further.

To develop the program, in June 1989 Markandeya went to India for extensive research and consultation with persons knowledgeable about calendar making, astronomy, and Vaisnava observances. The learning and expertise of those consulted have contributed greatly to the reliability of this program.

6. How to use the program 

VCAL runs under DOS. It is not a Windows program. To install it, simply place all its files in any directory. To uninstall it, simply erase the files.

The program is easy to use, with a simple menu system. The F1 key gives you context-sensitive help.

VCAL uses a list of towns for which it can calculate a calendar. You may enter new towns as needed, to a limit of 1200. If you need more, you must delete some towns you don't use. (Or you can keep more than one town file and switch between your files by renaming them.)

Latitudes greater than 65 degrees and 35 minutes (north or south) cause problems for VCAL. Using such latitudes may result in wrong calculations or may terminate the program with an error.

If you add new towns to the list, take care to enter the latitude, longitude and time zone correctly. If any of this information is wrong, your calendar will be incorrect. (If you give your modified town files to others, this warning is even more important.)

VCAL also provides for "batch files," which allow you to calculate several calendars at a time. When you choose, from the Main Menu, "Make Vaisnava Calendar," you will be asked, two screens later, whether you want to calculate the calendar for only one town or for many. If you choose "many," VCAL will present you a list of the available batch files. Each batch file allows you to calculate calendars for many towns through one command.

You can also use VCAL to calculate birthdays. Insert the birth information according to the Western calendar, and VCAL will tell you the corresponding Vedic day of birth.

As of 1999, VCAL has been used for about twelve years, but could of course still have bugs. If you find a suspected bug, please contact Markandeya Rsi Dasa at this e-mail address: <>.

7. Some basic astronomy

a. The movements of the moon and sun

From the perspective of an observer on earth, the sun and moon and stars are moving around the earth every day. If we look at the sky at night, as the hours pass we will see the moon and stars gradually move west across the sky, seeming to move together. But as several nights go by, we may notice that the position of the moon in relation to the stars moves towards the east.

The extent of this relative movement comes to roughly 13 degrees per day. Thus the moon will complete a full rotation through the belt of stars, called the zodiac, in about one month.

A similar situation is true for the sun. Because the stars are too weak to be seen during the day, we cannot see the sun and the stars simultaneously. But if we could, we would see the sun moving gradually against the background of the stars. The sun, however, moves more slowly than the moon -- only about 1 degree each day. So we would have to wait longer to observe the difference. For the sun to come back to the same group of stars on the zodiac takes one year.

b. The definitions of solar and lunar months and years 

One can define a month and a year in two basic ways: by the movement of the moon and by the movement of the sun.

i. The solar month and year 

The Vedic solar month lasts the time it takes for the sun to traverse a complete sign of the zodiac. The zodiac has twelve signs, so each sign covers an angle of 30 degrees. Because the sun moves across the zodiac by about 1 degree each day, to traverse a complete sign takes about 30 days -- more exactly, 30.4 days. Twelve such months make one solar year -- that is, a little more than 365 days. In other words, a solar year is the time it takes for the sun to start from any group of stars and return to it. Such a year stays synchronized with the seasons.

ii. The lunar month and year 

The lunar month and year are slightly more complex. The Vedic calendar defines the lunar month in terms of the phases of the moon. We know that the phases of the moon change. The moon is sometimes full, sometimes half, and sometimes new, depending on how much of the moon we on earth can see lit up by the sun. When the sun and moon are close to one another on the zodiac, the side of the moon illuminated by the sun will mainly have its back to us. So we will see only a sliver, and most of the moon will seem dark. Then again, when the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the zodiac, the side of the moon we see from earth will be fully illuminated, so we will see a full moon. All other positions of the sun and moon result in the other, intermediate lunar phases.

In the Vaisnava calendar a month starts the day after one full moon and continues through the next full moon. This takes about 29.5 days.

Just as 12 solar months make one solar year, 12 lunar months make one lunar year. Since one lunar month takes 29.5 days, 12 such months will take about 12 times that long -- that is, 354 days.

This lunar year is 11 days shorter than the 365-day solar year, so although the month synchronizes with the lunar phases, the year does not synchronize with the seasons. Counting by the solar calendar, every solar year the lunar year will begin 11 days earlier. So, to synchronize the lunar year with the seasons, the Vedic calendar adds an extra month about every third year, according to certain rules. In this way the lunar and solar years stay in synch.

8. The Pancanga, or the Vedic calendar 

The Vedic calendar is called Pancanga. The word Pancanga indicates that the calendar consists of five parts, or tells about five elements. These elements are vara (the day of the week), tithi (the lunar day, or phase of the moon), karana (half a tithi), naksatra (the position of the moon in the zodiac), and yoga (a measurement derived from the positions of the sun and moon). For normal use of the calendar, one need not understand all these elements. But some of them are described as follows.

a. Tithi

As we have discussed, the lunar month marks the time from one full moon to the next. The lunar month is divided into 30 parts, called lunar days, or tithis. The tithis are simply the different phases of the moon. Thus the first tithi starts at the moment when the moon is full -- that is, when the angle between the moon and the sun is 180 degrees and it continues until the angle has increased 12 degrees. Then, that much less of the moon seems bright to us: the moon is no longer completely full.

Now the second tithi starts, and it continues until the angle between the sun and moon has increased 12 degrees more. Slightly more of the bright side of the moon now has its back to us, and so the moon is even less full.

When 15 such tithis have passed, the angle between the sun and the moon has increased by 180 degrees. This time the bright side of the moon cannot be seen at all, and so we have a new moon. Then 15 more tithis gradually pass, and the moon again becomes full. When 30 tithis have thus passed, the month ends.

The period when the moon wanes, or decreases in size, is called krsna paksa ("the dark fortnight"), and the period when it waxes, or increases, is called sukla paksa or gaura paksa ("the bright fortnight"). The words Krsna and Gaura used here are specific to the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition.

Some lunar calendars start the month from the 0-degree position -- that is, directly after the new moon. Such calendars are called mukhya candra. Other calendars, such as the one used by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, start directly after the full moon, with the Krsna paksa. Such calendars are called gauna candra.

Except for the new moon and the full moon, the names of the tithis are simply counting words: pratipat, dvitiya, trtiya (first, second, third), etc. These names are the same for the tithis occurring during Krsna paksa (the dark period of the moon) and the gaura paksa (the bright period). The new moon is called amavasya, and the full moon purnima.

Krsna paksa Gaura paksa Tithi Name Tithi Name

Krsna paksa
Tithi Name

1 Pratipat
2 Dvitiya
3 Trtiya
4 Caturthi
5 Pancami
6 Sasti
7 Saptami
8 Astami
9 Navami
10 Dasami
11 Ekadasi
12 Dvadasi
13 Trayodasi
14 Caturdasi
15 Amavasya (new moon)

Gaura paksa
Tithi Name

1 Pratipat
2 Dvitiya
3 Trtiya
4 Caturthi
5 Pancami
6 Sasti
7 Saptami
8 Astami
9 Navami
10 Dasami
11 Ekadasi
12 Dvadasi
13 Trayodasi
14 Caturdasi
15 Purnima (full moon)

Because the speed of the moon in relation to that of the sun is not constant but varies, a tithi is not a fixed duration of time. Its length fluctuates between 19 and 26 hours. Therefore, since a lunar tithi does not correspond to the 24-hour solar day, a tithi may start at any time of the day.

There are certain tithis on which the followers of the Vedic culture follow various observances or celebrations. On what day is such a tithi to be observed? The general rule is that one will celebrate a tithi on that day whose sunrise falls within the tithi, though sometimes other rules come into effect.

The Ekadasi tithi is especially important, and special rules determine when to observe Ekadasi. Special rules also sometimes apply for festivals such as Sri Krsna Janmastami.

b. Naksatra 

As previously mentioned, in the sky the belt of stars called the zodiac is divided into 12 signs, which cover 30 degrees each. There is also a way of dividing the zodiac into 27 parts, which cover 13-1/3 degrees each. These parts are called naksatras.

While moving over the zodiac, the moon continuously passes through these naksatras one by one. In the Vedic calendar, naksatra simply refers to the naksatra within which the moon is present at sunrise on any particular day.

The 27 Nakṣatras - lunar mansions or star constellations

Name Sanskrit Name Lord
1 Ashvinī
अश्विनी Ketu
2 Bharanī
भरणी Venus
3 Kṛttikā
कृत्तिका Sun
4 Rohiṇī
रोहिणी Moon
5 Mrigashīrsha
म्रृगशीर्षा Mars
6 Ārdrā
आर्द्रा Rahu
7 Punarvasu
पुनर्वसु Jupiter
8 Puṣyā
पुष्य Saturn
9 Āshleshā
आश्ळेषा/आश्लेषा Mercury
10 Maghā
मघा Ketu
11 Pūrva-Phalgunī
पूर्व फाल्गुनी Venus
12 Uttara-Phalgunī
उत्तर फाल्गुनी Sun
13 Hasta
हस्त Moon
14 Chitrā
चित्रा Mars
15 Svātī
स्वाति Rahu
16 Viśākhā
विशाखा Jupiter
17 Anurādhā
अनुराधा Saturn
18 Jyeshtha
ज्येष्ठा Mercury
19 Mūla
मूल Ketu
20 Pūrvāṣāḍhā
पूर्वाषाढा Venus
21 Uttarāṣāḍhā
उत्तराषाढा Sun
22 Śravaṇa
श्रवण Moon
23 Shravishthā/ Dhanishthā
श्रविष्ठा/ धनिष्ठा Mars
24 Shatabhishā
शतभिषा Rahu
25 Pūrva-Bhādrapadā
पूर्व भाद्रपदा Jupiter
26 Uttara-Bhādrapadā उत्तर भाद्रपदा Saturn
27 Revatī
रेवती Mercury

The 27 Nakshatras (stars) are houses or mansions of the Moon. These are used to track the course of the moon against the background of the stars in the course of the year. The ecliptic is divided into 27 nakshatras, which are variously called lunar houses or asterisms. These reflect the moon's cycle against the fixed stars.

The zodiac according to vedic Astrology comprises of 360 degrees. There are 27 Nakshatras or star constellations in it.Therefore, the value of each constellation is 13 degrees and 20 minutes when measured from the fixed initial point. These 27 Nakshatras (stars) complete the entire circle of 360 degrees of the zodiac. A forecast based on the transit/ correlation/inter - relation of planets in relation to the Nakshatras is more accurate than the results predicted on the basis of any other system in western astrology.

c. Yoga 

Tithis and naksatras can easily be understood in relation to the phenomena in the sky. Tithi is the phase of the moon, and naksatra marks the position of the moon. But yoga is not easily understood in a similar way. The yoga is determined by adding the angle or longitude of the sun and moon, reducing the sum to fit in the circle of 360 degrees (by subtracting 360 degrees if needed), and then dividing the resultant number by 13-1/3 degrees. Like the naksatras, the yogas are also 27 in number.

9. Reasons to follow a lunar calendar

In the Vaisnava calendar the times for various celebrations are determined by the tithi, sometimes with naksatra and other elements of the calendar taken into account.

Most scholars who have analyzed the old Indian calendar systems, both lunar and solar, have concluded that the lunar system is the more ancient.

The lunar phases are known to influence agriculture, and according to scriptures like Manu-samhita (The Law of Manu) they also influence more subtle aspects of human life.

10. Traditional and modern methods of calculation 

Traditionally the astronomical calculations needed to make a Pancanga were done according to one of the astronomical texts such as Surya Siddhanta. The methods described in Surya Siddhanta are basically quite similar to modern astronomical methods for ascertaining the positions of the planets. The main difference is that Surya Siddhanta has a simpler model. Such a model is needed if the calculations are to be done by hand in a practical way.

The methods of Surya Siddhanta could be used by a skillful person at any time, without the need for modern equipment. All that was needed were some observatory instruments that could be built without high technology. These instruments were used regularly to check that the calculations tallied with observable reality. When a difference appeared after some time, corrections were made to the astronomical constants in the formulas. With this system, fairly good results were obtainable even though the astronomical model was simple. Its accuracy cannot be compared to that obtained by modern methods, but for the purpose of astrology and creation of calendars it sufficed.

This computer program uses formulas that give an accuracy of 1 minute of arc for the longitude of the sun and 2 minutes of arc for the longitude of the moon. When determining ending times of tithis these errors can result in a maximum error of 5 minutes of time. The average error is about 3 minutes. Such an error will report an Ekadasi (the eleventh tithi) on the wrong date roughly once every 20 years.

11. Some comments on interpreting the Vaisnava calendar 

Following Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition, the years are counted from the appearance of Lord Sri Krsna's incarnation as Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya is also known as Gaura, so the year is called "Gaurabda," "the year of Lord Caitanya."

Each month, or "masa," is known by a name of Visnu. The months, the Sanskrit names by which they are commonly known in India, and their rough equivalents according to the Gregorian calendar are listed as follows:

a. Names of years and months

1 Viṣṇu Chaitra (चैत्र, March–April)
2 Madhusudana Vaiśākha (वैशाख, April–May)
3 Trivikrama Jyeṣṭa (ज्येष्ठ, May–June)
4 Vāmana Āṣāḍha (आषाढ, June–July)
5 Śrīdhara Śrāvaṇa (श्रावण, July-August)
6 Hṛṣīkeśa Bhādrapada (भाद्रपद, August–September)
7 Padmanābha Āśvina (अश्विन्, September–October)
8 Dāmodara Kārtika (कार्तिक, October–November)
9 Keśava Mārgaśīrṣa (Agrahāyaṇa)
(मार्गशीर्ष, November–December)
10 Nārāyaṇa Pauṣa (पौष, December–January)
11 Mādhāva Māgha (माघ, January–February)
12 Govinda Phālguna (फाल्गुन, February–March)
Adhika month (अधिक) or Dvitiya Jyestha
intercalary month, (leap year)

What is the Adhika month (Puruṣottama month)

The Vedic calendar is a combined lunar and solar calendar
Krishna is very kind because He always presents different ways for us to surrender to Him.

To help the lunar months coincide with the solar year, an extra month, (leap year) called Purushottama Adhik Mas, is inserted every 30 months, every 2 ½ years. Adhik means extra and mas means month. During Purushottama Adhik Mas certain activities should be avoided such as marriages, signing contracts, beginning new construction, griha pravesham (house warming), etc.

The origin of Purushottam Adhik Mas is explained in the Padma Purana. Every month has a presiding deity, but Adhik Mas was rejected by all the deities: it was thought to be inauspicious because there is no sankranti during this month, meaning that the Sun does not enter any new sign. So originally it was known as Mal Mas (meaning wasted month). Feeling dejected by this, the personified Adhik Mas traveled to Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha for advice. With heartfelt prayers she requested to be delivered from this inauspicious state. Lord Vishnu blessed her, and sent her to Goloka to meet Lord Krishna, who blessed her with the boon, “I bless you as My own month. Whatever good deeds are done during your reign will outshine works done during all the other months. Works done with devotion during Adhik Mas will amass such great fruits that even the doors to Goloka will open for the devotee. Among all months, you shall reign as the supreme and shall be known by My own name, Purushottama Mas."The Lord then added, “I will forgive all the sins of those who perform penance in Purushottama Adhik Mas.”

Purushottama Adhik Mas is known as Lord Krishna’s month, just as Kartika is Srimati Radharani’s month. Devotees look forward to passing this month in devotion to the Lord, because bhakti is the surest means to salvation in this terrible age of Kali-yuga. The days should be devoted to listening to Krishna katha. Those observing extra devotion, bhakti, during this month gain extra blessings from Lord Krishna, and their sins are washed away. Devotional service to be performed: * Worship Lord Krishna by chanting His holy names: Japa. * Bathe in a holy river * Give in charity to the temple

b. When to observe Ekadasi 

Ekadasi, the eleventh tithi, has special importance. In the scripture Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, chapter 24), Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructs Sanatana Gosvami regarding the Vaisnava regulative principles. In text 342 Lord Caitanya says:

"You should recommend the avoidance of mixed [viddha] Ekadasi and the performance of pure Ekadasi. You should also describe the fault in not observing this. One should be very careful as far as these items are concerned. If one is not careful, one will be negligent in executing devotional service."

As described in the book Hari Bhakti Vilasa, viddha (mixed) Ekadasi takes place when the eleventh tithi starts before sunrise but the tenth tithi still presides at the beginning of brahma muhurta (the auspicious period that starts an hour and a half before sunrise).

On Ekadasi it is traditional to fast. But under certain conditions, called mahadvadasi, one fasts not on the Ekadasi but on the next day, the dvadasi, even though the Ekadasi is suddha, or pure, and not viddha, or mixed. There are eight mahadvadasis.

The calendars produced by this program make it easy to see when to observe Ekadasi. The Ekadasi fast should be observed on the day called suddha (pure) Ekadasi, or alternatively on Mahadvadasi, even if the previous day is called Ekadasi. All this is clarified by the asterisk (*), which indicates a fast, at the right margin of the calendar.

c. "Break fast 05:18 - 09:34" and "Daylight-savings not considered" 

To complete the proper observance of Ekadasi, the next morning one should end the fast after the first time given in the calendar and before the second time. The calendar gives these times according to the standard time of the place for which the calendar is made.

During the summer, many locations do not follow standard time, but instead move their clocks an hour ahead (or sometimes more) to make more use of the hours of daylight. So, for example, 5 o'clock in the morning becomes 6 o'clock instead. The Vedic Calendar program does not take such daylight-saving time into account. So for days when your location uses daylight-saving time, you must adjust the times given by the calendar. Generally, this means that when daylight-saving time is in effect you should add an hour to the times given.

d. Double or no tithi

When studying the calendar, you may find that sometimes a tithi is skipped and sometimes one tithi comes on two consecutive days. There is nothing wrong with this. For each day, the calendar just shows which tithi (moon phase) prevails at the time of sunrise. Sometimes a given lunar phase may begin after one sunrise and end before the next, and therefore on the calendar that tithi appears missing. Or sometimes one lunar phase extends throughout two sunrises in a row, and therefore that tithi appears twice.

A person's birthday is determined by the tithi prevailing at the moment the person was born. Every year thereafter, the day to celebrate as the birthday should be the day whose sunrise occurs during that same tithi. If the tithi prevails on two consecutive sunrises, the sunrise that has the same naksatra as at birth will be the proper day for celebration. If neither sunrise occurs with that naksatra, then the latter of the two days should be chosen. If there is no day whose sunrise occurs during that particular tithi, then the day within which the tithi falls should be chosen as the day of celebration.

Suppose, for example, that a person's appearance day should be celebrated on dvitiya tithi in the month of Kesava and that for the month of Kesava the calendar lists two dvitiya tithis, one after another. And suppose that the naksatra that prevailed at birth is not present. Then the second dvitiya should be chosen as the day of celebration. If the calendar shows no dvitiya at all, then the appearance day should be celebrated on the day listed as pratipat, because the dvitiya phase of the moon will occur during that day.

e. Sankranti 

Sankranti means the time when the sun enters a sign of the zodiac. If you are conversant with astrology, you might wonder why the calendar shows the sun entering the various signs of the zodiac at times different from those given in Western astrology. This is one of the differences between the two kinds of astrology, Western and Vedic. The difference pertains to a certain angle called ayanamsa, which is presently around 23 degrees. The explanation of ayanamsa can be found in books about Vedic astrology.

f. Names for the signs of the zodiac 

Here are the Sanskrit names for the signs of the zodiac,
alongside their English counterparts.

No. Devanagari Sanskrit
मेष Meṣa Aries
वृषभ Vṛṣabha Taurus
मिथुन Mithuna Gemini
कर्कट Karkaṭa Cancer
सिंह Siṃha Leo
कन्या Kanyā Virgo
तुला Tulā Libra
वृश्चिक Vṛścika Scorpio
धनुष Dhanus Sagittarius
मकर Makara Capricorn
कुम्भ Kumbha Aquarius
मीन Mīna Pisces

12. Parting Words 

We wish you a life fulfilled with good Vaisnava years. Hare Krsna.

Documentation (c) 1999 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc. All rights reserved.


Explanations compiled by Krsna-priya Devi Dasi
(Vaisnava Academy for Girls, Alachua, Florida, USA)

NOTE: This Vaisnava calendar uses the terms "appearance" and "disappearance" to denote the birth ("appearance") and the departure ("disappearance") of great souls and incarnations of the Lord.

Bahulastami -- the appearance day of Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, sacred ponds that are the bathing places of Srimati Radharani and Lord Krsna in Vrndavana.

Balarama Rasayatra -- Lord Balarama's springtime rasa dance with His cowherd girlfriends.

Bali Daityaraja Puja -- the festival commemorating Bali Maharaja's surrender to Lord Vamanadeva, the dwarf incarnation of Lord Krsna. A Deity of Vamana is worshiped.

Bhismastami -- the appearance anniversary of Bhismadeva, the "grandfather" of the Pandavas.

Candana Yatra -- a festival during the hot season in India in which the Deities are covered with sandalwood paste (candana) to cool Them. (This is generally impractical in the West, where it is cold during this time.)

Damodara Masa -- the month of Damodara. Throughout this month, devotees commemorate the pastime of naughty Lord Krsna's being bound with ropes by mother Yasoda. Devotees offer lamps daily.

Dipa-dan, Dipavali, or Diwali (and Kalipuja) -- a commemoration of Lord Rama's return from exile to Ayodhya, His capital, following the defeat of the demon Ravana. (Vaisnavas don't regularly observe Kalipuja, the worship of Durga Devi.)

Hera Pancami -- a festival held three days after Ratha-yatra to commemorate Srimati Rukmini Devi's visit to Vrndavana to bring Lord Krsna back to Dvaraka.

Ganga Puja -- the appearance anniversary of Ganga Devi, the goddess of the River Ganges.

Ganga Sagara Mela -- a festival observed especially at the confluence of the Ganges and the Bay of Bengal. Kapilasrama, the asrama of Lord Krsna's incarnation as Kapiladeva, the son of Devahuti, is located at this place. The festival commemorates King Bhagirathi's bringing the River Ganges down from the celestial planets to the ocean and the lower worlds.

Gaura Purnima -- the appearance anniversary of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krsna Himself in the role of His own devotee. He appeared in 1486 in Mayapur, West Bengal.

Gopastami, or Gosthastami -- After previously having grazed the calves, on this day Krsna first went out to graze the cows. In this way He became a gopa, a cowherd boy. On this day the gosalas (cow pens) are cleaned and the cows worshiped and offered prasada (santicified food) by the devotees.

Govardhana Puja -- the festival commemorating the worship of Govardhana Hill by the residents of Vrndavana and Lord Krsna's lifting the hill.

Go Puja, or Go-krda -- On this day, according to Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa, one should decorate the cows and bulls, make them run, and have the bulls plow the field.

Gundica Marjana -- the cleansing of the Gundica temple in Jagannatha Puri, India.

Guru (Vyasa) Purnima -- the appearance anniversary of Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of the Vedic literature.

Incorporation of ISKCON in New York -- Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, in 1966.

Jahnu Saptami -- The day when the sage Jahnu released the River Ganges after swallowing her. On this day, if possible, one should worship the Ganges and bathe in her waters.

Jagaddhatri Puja -- the day for worship of a form of Mahamaya called Jagaddhatri, "the maintainer of the material world." (Vaisnavas do not usually observe this festival.)

Festival of Jagannatha Misra -- the day the father of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed the celebrations for Lord Caitanya's appearance.

Katyayani vrata -- a vow to observe austerities to please Katyayani Devi, or Yogamaya Devi, the spiritual energy of Lord Krsna.

Krsna Janmastami -- the appearance anniversary of Lord Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Krsna Phula Dola, Salila Vihara -- a summer boat festival for the Deities of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.

Krsna Pusya abhiseka -- During the morning puja, or worship, the Deity or a salagrama is bathed in pure ghee. Srila Prabhupada once explained the festival this way: "Krishna was just a toy in the hands of the Gopis, so one day the Gopis decided that we shall decorate Him. Pusyabhisheka means a ceremony to decorate the deity profusely with flowers, ornaments, cloths. After there should be lavish feasting and a procession through the streets, so that all the citizens should see how beautiful Krishna appears."

Krsna Saradiya Rasayatra -- Lord Krsna's autumn rasa dance with His girlfriends.

Krsna Vasanta Rasa -- Lord Krsna's springtime rasa dance.

Lalita Sasti -- The appearance day of Lalita-sakhi, the intimate confidante of Srimati Radharani.

Laksmi Puja -- worship of Laksmi Devi, the consort of Lord Visnu (not observed by Gaudiya Vaisnavas).

Nandotsava -- the festival observed by Nanda Maharaja, Lord Krsna's father, to celebrate Lord Krsna's appearance.

Nrsimha Caturdasi -- the appearance anniversary of Lord Nrsimhadeva, Lord Krsna's incarnation as half-man, half-lion.

Panihati Cida Dahi Utsava -- Srila Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami's chipped- rice-and-yogurt festival for Lord Caitanya and His associates. Celebrated especially in Panihati, West Bengal.

Radhastami -- the appearance anniversary of Srimati Radharani, the eternal consort of Lord Krsna.

Radha Govinda Jhulan Yatra -- the swing festival of Radha-Krsna. The Deities ride on an elaborately decorated swing.

Radha Kunda prakat, snan dan -- the appearance anniversary of Radha- kunda, the bathing pond of Srimati Radharani in Vrndavana. Devotees bathe there especially on midnight of this day.

Radha Ramana Devji appearance -- the appearance of the Deity of Lord Krsna worshiped by Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami.

Ratha Yatra -- The chariot festival in which Lord Krsna in the form of Lord Jagannatha rides with Lord Balarama and Subhadra Devi in Jagannatha Puri, India.

Ramacandra Vijayotsava -- Lord Ramacandra's victory over the demon Ravana. A large effigy of Ravana is ceremoniously burned.

Salagrama and Tulasi Jala Dan -- During the hot season in India, a pot of dripping water is placed over Tulasi and Salagrama to keep them cool. (Generally, this is impractical in the West, where it is cold during this time.)

Sarasvati Puja -- worship of the goddess Sarasvati (not generally observed by Vaisnavas).

Siva Ratri -- worship of Lord Siva. Devotees may bathe a Siva-linga in water and panca-gavya (five substances from the cow) and offer Krsna-prasada to Lord Siva. Fasting is optional for Vaisnavas.

Snana Yatra -- On this full-moon day, sixteen days before Ratha- yatra, Lord Jagannatha is bathed. He becomes sick and is confined to rest for fourteen days. He is then offered special care until He comes out for Ratha-yatra.

Srila Prabhupada's acceptance of sannyasa -- Srila Prabhupada accepted sannyasa, the renounced order of life, from Sri Srimad Bhakti Vijnana Kesava Goswami Maharaja in Mathura, India, in 1959.

Srila Prabhupada's arrival in the USA -- Srila Prabhupada arrived in Boston on September 17, 1965.

Srila Prabhupada's departure for the USA -- On this day in 1965, Srila Prabhupada left Calcutta aboard the steamship Jaladuta.

Srila Prabhupada's disappearance day -- Srila Prabhupada left this world on November 14, 1977, in Vrndavana, India. Devotees observe this anniversary with personal remembrances of Srila Prabhupada, readings from his biography, and so on.

Tulasi-Saligram Vivaha -- the wedding of Salagrama and Tulasi Devi.

Vamana Dvadasi -- the appearance anniversary of Lord Vamanadeva, the dwarf incarnation of Lord Krsna.

Vasanta Pancami -- the first day of spring. On this day, the Deities are offered many flowers, leaves and new shoots of grass.


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