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Mal Maas 2023 - What is Mal Maas in Hindu Calendar?

Mal Maas, also known as Adhik Maas, is the extra month added to a Hindu lunar calendar once in 32 months to make the lunar calendar similar to the solar calendar. Mal Maas 2023 is from July 17 to August 16. Astronomically Mal Maas is known as Intercalary month.

Please note that in some regions Kharmas is also referred as Mal Maas -  (You can read about Kharmas here).

The month is known as Mal Maas (waste month) as the sun did not enter any rashis during Mal Maas and people considered it inauspicious and hence referred to it as waste.

Legend has it that Mal Maas did not like it being referred as waste and complained to Vishnu, who renamed the month as Purushottam Maas. The Mal Maas is thus dedicated to Sri Krishna and is considered ideal for all sort of Spiritual activities.

Why Mal Maas?

The Hindu lunar calendar, which has been around for a very long time, even long before the solar calendar, is based on the moon’s rotation around the Earth. The lunar month corresponds to one complete rotation of Moon around the Earth.

Since this period of rotation of moon around the earth varies, the duration of lunar month also varies. On average, the lunar month has about 29 1⁄2 days. In addition to moon’s rotation around the earth, the lunar year is based on earth’s rotation around the Sun. In general, the lunar year has twelve lunar months of approximately 354 days, thus making it shorter by about 11 days than the solar year. However, the lunar calendar accounts for this difference by adding an extra lunar month about once every 21⁄2 years. This extra lunar month is known as the Mal Maas in Hindu Tradition.

How is Mal Maas Calculated?

Sun remains in a zodiac sign for approximately one month, the Moon travels through all twelve zodiac signs in about 27 1⁄2 days. As a result, on average, once about every two and half years, the entry of the Moon in the same zodiac sign occurs twice while the Sun remains in the same sign.

In other words, when the Sun is traveling through the same zodiac sign, the month during which two new moons occur, happens once about every 2 1⁄2 years. The lunar month corresponding to the period between these two new moons is treated as the extra month or the Mal Maas.

Source – Based on an article written by Sanjiv R Malkan