In Hindu astrology, Rāhukāla (transl. 'period of Rahu') is the inauspicious period of the day which is not considered favourable to start any good deed. Rāhukāla span for 90 minutes every day between sunrise and sunset.
It is considered important in southern India and is strictly avoided while calculating muhurtas. However, routine tasks which have already been started can continue as usual during this period. Rahukālam falling on a Tuesday is believed to provide immense benefits and protection for those who worship Durga.
Rahu is a shadow planet and king of meteors among the navagrahas (nine planets) mentioned in Hindu texts. During the Samudra Manthana, an Asura named Svarbhanu, disguised as a Deva, appears and drinks amrita. Svarbhanu later gets caught and is cut into two pieces by Vishnu's Sudarshan Chakra. These two pieces became Rahu and Ketu.
Rahu is considered a malefic planet which tries to eclipse the sun, and the time it is believed to influence is considered inauspicious.
Rahu Kaal is considered in a predefined manner during set times on the different days of the week, but can vary as per the time of sunrise as well. Its instances vary from place to place. The timing of sunrise is marked in the panchang (almanac) and 12 hours of the day is divided into eight equal parts (say 06:00 a.m. IST to 6:00 p.m. IST). Rahu Kaal does not occur in the first part of the day and the rest of the seven parts are attributed to other different parts of the day. Contemporarily:
- Monday: 7:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m. (2nd part)
- Tuesday: 3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. (7th part)
- Wednesday: 12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m. (5th part)
- Thursday: 1:30 p.m.–3:00 p.m. (6th part)
- Friday: 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m. (4th part)
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m. (3rd part)
- Sunday: 4:30 p.m.–6:00 p.m. (8th part)
- Narayanam, A. Sathya (14 December 2017). "What is Rahu Kaal and Timing of Rahu Kaal Every Day". The Times of India. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- Kramrisch, Stella; Burnier, Raymond (1976). The Hindu temple. Vol. 2. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 325–6. ISBN 978-81-208-0224-7.