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Rahukaal (also spelled as Rahukalam, Rahu kaal, Raukaal, Raahu kal, Raahu kaal, or Rahu kalam) or the period of Rahu is a certain period of time every day that is considered inauspicious for any new venture according to Indian Vedic astrology.
In Hindu Vigyan, Rahu Kaal is one of the 8 segments of the day and considered inauspicious period in Indian astrology due to its association with malefic, Rahu. The segments are calculated by taking the total time between sunrise and sunset, at a given place, and then dividing this time duration by 8. Astronomically in the Hindu Panchang Panchangas, the ever varying planetary configurations mean that the auspicious hours during each day will not always fall at the same moment of time. Rahu kaal (Raahukaala), Yamagandakaala (Yama Ghantam) and Vishaghati are the time periods which are especially considered inauspicious or unlucky (Ashubh).
The planets according to Indian astronomers are the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu. Rahukaal (Raahukaala) and Gulikakaal (Gulikakaala) are calculated based on these planets. Even though Rahu and Ketu are not physical bodies, they are sensitive points on the intersection of the ecliptic (the apparent path of motion of the Sun) by the Moon's orbit. Rahu is the northern point and Ketu is the southern point. Ancient astronomers felt that the mighty Rahu and Ketu have the strength to obscure the sun, thus causing a solar eclipse. Hence it is considered inauspicious to begin any undertaking during this "Rahukaal". Every day this Rahukaal lasts for around 90 minutes, but the duration differs according to the length of the time between sunrise to sunset.
To calculate Rahukaal, the time between the sunrise and sunset is divided into 8 units or time-groups, which time-group will have the Rahukaal depends on the weekday.
For each weekday, Rahukaal falls as under:
- Sunday - 8th Muhurt (Unit)
- Monday - 2nd Muhurt
- Tuesday - 7th Muhurt
- Wednesday - 5th Muhurt
- Thursday - 6th Muhurt
- Friday - 4th Muhurt
- Saturday - 3rd Muhurt
The timespan of Rahukaal varies each day and needs to be calculated as per the sunrise and sunset time. The times below can be used in absence of access to accurate Rahukaal. These times are accurate only if the daylight lasts for 12 hours, and the sunrise is at 6.00 AM. For longer or shorter days, the times need to be adjusted.
The mnemonic phrase is "7.30am Mother Saw Father Wearing The Turban Suddenly"
- Mother = Monday (7.30 AM-9.00)
- Saw = Saturday (9.00-10.30)
- Father = Friday (10.30-12.00)
- Wearing = Wednesday (12.00-13.30)
- The = Thursday (13.30-15.00)
- Turban = Tuesday (15.00-16.30)
- Suddenly = Sunday (16.30-18.00 PM)
Another mnemonic is "Edward Bought Home A Good Ford Car".
The first letter of each word represents days of the week starting from Monday, i.e., E for Monday, B for Tuesday, and so on.
The Rahukal for Monday can be found using the following calculation:
The letter for Monday is E. E is the 5th letter of the English alphabet. Divide 5 by 2 which is 2 and half. To this, add 5 (for E) which results in 7 and a half.
Therefore, on Monday, Rahukaal starts at 7:30 and ends by 9:00.