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Vikram Samvat Calendar

The Vikrama Samvat is a Hindu luni-solar calendar, which means it is based on both the phases of the moon and the solar year. It has months that follow the lunar cycle but occasionally adjusts with an extra month to align with the solar year.

The scene shown above, closes the first part of the story of Kalakacharya, a significant legend in Jain tradition and history. Kalakacharya was a Jain monk and scholar. The monk is dressed in white, indicating he is a Shvetambara (“white clad”) which is a branch of Jainism.

King Gardabhilla, who became the king of Ujjain and reigned for 13 years, abducted Kalakacharya's sister, Sarasvatī. First Kalakacharya sought the help of was defeated by the Sakas. The Saka King beat Gardabhilla and captured him and made him a prisoner. In the end, Gardabhilla was forgiven and ran away to a forest, where he was killed by a tiger. The Saka ruled Ujjain.

Kalakacharya then approached King Vikramaditya, who was known for his valor and just rule. Vikramaditya launched a campaign against the Saka rulers and successfully defeated them, rescuing Kalakacharya's sister and restoring order.

As a mark of this victory, Vikramaditya is said to have established the Vikrama Samvat (VS) era. The calendar system starts in 57 BCE, the year Vikramaditya is believed to have defeated the Sakas.

This 19th century AR Rupee from the Sikh Empire is dated in the Vikrama Samvat Era (VS).

INDIA. Sikh Empire. Rupee, VS 1879 (1822). Amritsar Mint. Ranjit Singh.


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