A Panchang is an elaborate Hindu calendar and almanac that resorts to the traditional units of the Indian Vedic scriptures to provide information relevant to astrologers for them to forecast celestial occurrences, mark auspicious and inauspicious time frames for important occasions such as marriage, education, career, travel, etc.
Panchang consists of two words namely, 'Panch' and 'Ang', Panch means 'Five' and Ang means 'Limbs'. Panchang is created by taking into account five aspects of the tradition Hindu timekeeping limbs or ‘ang’: day of the week (vaar); tithi or lunar day; constellation or nakshatra; yoga; and karan. The study of Panchang is the fundamental understanding of Rashi Phala, the impact of each of the 12 zodiac signs on an individual and how their day to day lives change based on several movements of the planets. The casting of a Panchang requires elaborate mathematical work involving high level of spherical geometry and in depth understanding of astronomical phenomena. However, in practice the tabulation is done on the basis of short-cut formulations as propounded by ancient Vedic sages and scholars.
Panchang is created for the fundamental use of providing information on how a day might look like, how people should optimize the ‘subh’ or positive span of time in order to lead a happy and prosperous life and what should they refrain from doing at negative hours of the day to avoid problems. Panchangs are optimally utilizing in the Hindu culture for planning important events and functions in a person’s life. Panchang matches the current planetary configurations with the position of the heavenly bodies in a person’s astrological chart, so that the auspicious days can be pin-pointed in their best interests.
The Panchang is also used to calculate Vedic birth chart or natal chart of a person. The calculations done in order to create a Panchang are based upon the position or movement of planets, star or Nakshatra in a certain sign at certain degrees. These calculations depict how these movements and transitions are supposed to affect a person on a particular date and can be done to minimise the negative and maximise the positive effects. The Panchang is used to calculate tithi, vaar, yog, karan and nakshatra to find out Muhurat or an auspicious time to perform any important task.
For any auspicious occasion or function, Hindus refer to Panchang which provides detailed knowledge and significance of a date and a particular duration of time. It is believed that if a new venture, in the form of business, career, marriage, etc is to undergo then it should be done at an opportune time and this time can be determined by referring to Panchang.