Bikram Sambat: An Official Traditional Nepali Calendar

If you know some interesting facts about Nepal, then one of these facts you probably know must be that Nepal is said to be 56.7 years ahead of the rest of the world. The reason behind this saying is the Bikram Sambat calendar.

Nepal has its own traditional official calendar Bikram Sambat, whereas in most of the world the official calendar is the Gregorian Calendar. The time difference between these two calendars is 56.7 years. There are different types of calendars using all around the world. Gregorian Calendar is used in most of the world and is considered as an international calendar.

But there are some countries that still use their own calendar system. Such calendars are either traditional or religious. In addition to Bikram Samwat, the Gregorian calendar is also widely accepted in the Nepali community.

Nepal is also one of these few countries to have its own calendar-Bikram Sambat Calendar. In this article, we are going to tell you more information about this calendar than you might know. Stay with this article to interesting and amazing things about it.

A calendar is a system of organizing days by giving names to the period of times mostly in the terms of days, weeks, months, and years. There are different types of calendars used around the world. Basically, there are four types of Calendar-Lunisolar, Solar, Lunar, and Seasonal. People have been always using calendars to create and keep the track of days and larger divisions of time such as weeks, months, and years.

What Is Bikram Sambat?

Bikram Sambat(B.S) is an official traditional calendar. It is used throughout the country by the people of Nepal. Also pronounced as Vikram Sambat, it is a historical calendar Hindu calendar. Hinduism being popular in the Indian sub-continent for ages, Bikram Sambat has always a great influence and significance in Indian sub-continent countries.

But Nepal is still the only country to have this calendar as the official calendar of a country. There are other national calendars in Nepal like the Nepal Sambat calendar. Newari community of Nepal mostly uses the Nepal Sambat calendar.

This calendar uses lunar months and solar sidereal years. The calendar starts with the first day of Baisakh and ends with the last day of Chaitra. On average the length of every month in this calendar is 30 days, and 12 months makes a year in this calendar.

Mostly the year in this calendar is 354 days longs. A leap month (Adhik Maas) is added in accordance to the Metonic cycle roughly once every three years (or 7 times in a 19-year cycle) to ensure that festivals and crop-related rituals fall in the appropriate season.

History Of Bikram Sambat In Nepal

The history of the Nepali calendar has an intriguing story. Bikram Sambat is the calendar established by the Indian emperor Vikramaditya.

According to some ancient tales, King Vikramaditya Of Ujjain, Rajasthan established this calendar after defeating the Sakas. This is why this calendar is named Vikram Samvat. Samvat is a short term for Samvatsara which is a Sanskrit word for “Year”. In Nepal, it is termed and pronounced as Bikram Sambat.

After the rise of the Rana oligarchy in Nepal, Bikram Sambat was discontinued for a long time along with the official Shaka Sambat. They discontinued Shaka Sambat in its 1823rd year but later replaced it with Bikram Sambat for functionary use since then; Bikram Sambat came into official use in 1958 as Nepali calendar.

So we can say that the Rana Dynasty of Nepal made the Bikram Sambat the official Hindu calendar of Nepal in 1901 A.D as 1958 B.S. Since then Bikram Sambat is the official calendar of Nepal. But this doesn’t mean B.S wasn’t used in Nepal before that. Many ancient writings in the land of Nepal are found in B.S. The first day of the year is celebrated as one of the national festivals of Nepal.

Nepal Sambat

The significance of the Nepali calendar has different aspects the more important one being that the Nepalese people use more than one calendar and celebrate their new year days accordingly. Nepal has a unique lunar calendar by its own name, called Nepal Sambat.

Almost all festivals rituals are observed according to this calendar. This calendar originated in Nepal and bears a strict resemblance to Nepalese culture and tradition. The different months in the Nepali calendar are named accordingly as beginning with Baisakh and ending with Chait.

There are many events in the Nepali calendar with each month having a special religious ritual assigned to it, the most important being the festival of Mata Tirtha Puja, Buddha Jayanti, and Dashain. Thus, the Nepali Calendar presents an accurate measuring of different religious celebrations of the Nepalese.

How Bikram Sambat Calendar Works?

B.S uses both Sun and Moon’s movement for the measurement of time. It is simple to listen, but difficult to understand. To understand it completely, one would require some insights into Mathematics, Geomatics, and Astrology.

There are terms like Tithi, Pakshya, Masa, etc in the B.S calendars that are hanging on the wall almost every Nepali. Most of us rarely even know the exact meaning of these terms.

Tithi is a term very close to a lunar day in English. It is defined as the time it takes for the longitudinal angle between the moon and the sun to increase by 12 degrees. 15 Tithi make one Paksha. There are two Pakshyas. Krishna Pakshya and Sukla Paksha. These two Pakshas make one Maas. This way, One Maas contains approximately 29.5 Tithi. Now, two maas combined to make one Ritu. Three Ritu makes One Aayan. And two Aayan make on Barsha(Year). Like this every year when the Sun movies to “Mesh” line, a new year starts according to B.S Calendar. We see Rashis as some sort of divine thing. But in reality, Rashis are 12 scientific geographical lines same as the equator.

Key Difference Between B.S and A.D Calendar

There are many big differences between Bikram Sambat and Gregorian Calendar. Here are some key differences between these two calendars that you need to know.

Bikram Sambat(B.S)Gregorian Calendar(A.D)
It was introduced by Emperor Vikramaditya Of Ujjain, India.It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII of Papal States.
It is a Lunisolar Calendar that uses Lunar months and Sidereal years.It is a Solar Calendar that uses the Earth’s revolution around the Sun.
There is a total of 354 days with 12 months. To match a sidereal year, correctional months are added or subtracted occasionally. There is a total of 356 days with 12 months with 28-31 days each. Leap year is added in the month of February.
The new year starts with the first day of Baisakh and ends with the last day of Chaitra.The new year starts with the first day of January and ends with the last day of December.
It is mostly used by Hindus in the countries of the Indian subcontinent. It is mostly used by Christians and Romans all over the world.
Difference Between Bikram Sambat And Gregorian Calendar

Nepalese And Bikram Sambat Calendar

Bikram Sambat Calendar is so popular in Nepal that you can find this calendar hanging on the wall of almost every Nepalese house. It’s not only about Nepali households where you can find this calendar. You will find it also on the wall of almost every governmental & non-governmental office, school, college, institute, bank, and so on. Moreover, you will find the different calendar apps like Hamro Patro on the mobile devices of most Nepalese.

We hope you enjoy reading this article. This is our small attempt to give you some basic information about Bikram Sambat-An Official Traditional Calendar. If we have missed something or there is any sort of mistake that you find reading this, then let us know. You can also give your advice or suggestion in the comment box.


1. Who Started Bikram Sambat in Nepal?

Bikram Sambat had been always in use in Nepal even before its official announcement. Although it is made the official calendar of Nepal by Rana Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher in 1958 B.S.

2. Is Bikram Sambat A Lunar Calendar?

Bikram Sambat isn’t only a Lunar calendar. It uses both Lunar month and sidereal years to determine the period of time.

3. When was Bikram Sambat officially introduced in Nepal?

Bikram Sambat was introduced officially in Nepal in 1901 A.D.

4. How to convert B.S to A.D?

You can use different date converter tools to convert B.S to A.D.

5. In which country Bikram Sambat is the official Calendar?

Bikram Sambat is the official calendar in Nepal.

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