The Vikrama Samvat is said to have been founded by the emperor Vikramaditya of Ujjain following his victory over the Sakas in 56 BC, although it is popularly (and incorrectly) associated with the subsequent king Chandragupta Vikramaditya. It is a lunar calendar based on ancient Hindu tradition (see Hindu calendar and Vedic time keeping). The Vikram Samvat calendar is 56.7 years ahead (in count) of the solar Gregorian calendar. For example, the year 2056 BS began in AD 1999 and ended in AD 2000. The new year begins with the first day after the new moon, in the month of Chaitra, Chaitra Shuddha 1 or Chaitra Shukla Paksha Prathama; which usually falls in March–April in the Gregorian calendar. The nine-day Navaratri festival season begins on this day, culminating on Ram Navami day.
The date is supposed to mark the victory of king Vikramaditya over the Sakas, who had invaded Ujjain. Alternatively, it has been thought by some scholars to correspond to the Azes era, of the Indo-Scythian king Azes I, but this seems to be now thoroughly discredited by Falk and Bennett who place the inception of the Azes era in 47/6 BC.
Kalakacharya and the Saka King (Kalakacharya Katha-Manuscript, Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai) The story is described in "Kalakacharya Kathanaka", a work by a Jain sage called Mahesara Suri. The Kathanaka (meaning, "an account") tells the story of a famed Jain monk Kalakacharya. It mentions that gandharvasen, the then-powerful king of Ujjain, abducted a nun called Sarasvati who was the sister of the monk. The enraged monk sought the help of the Saka ruler, a Sahi, in Sakasthana. Despite heavy odds (but aided by miracles) the Saka king defeated gandharvasen and made him a captive. Sarasvati was repatriated, although gandharvasen himself was forgiven. The defeated king retired to the forest, where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, being brought up in the forest, had to rule from Pratishthana (in modern Maharashtra). Later on, Vikramaditya invaded Ujjain and drove away the Sakas. To commemorate this event, he started a new era called the Vikrama era. The Ujjain calendar started around 56 BCE to 58 BCE, and the subsequent Shalivahan Saka calendar was started in 78 AD at Pratishthan.
Determination of Date
The New Samvat begins on Chaitra Shukla Pratipada falling at Sun Rise. If there is Adhik Maas (Extra month) then same should be taken. If Chaitra- Shukla-Pratipada falls twice or does not fall at Sun Rise then Samvat starts on the first day only.
How to Celebrate
The traditional New Year of Bikram Samwat is one of the many festivals of Nepal, marked by parties, family gatherings, the exchange of good wishes, and participation in rituals to ensure good fortune in the coming year. It occurs in mid-April each year, and coincides with the traditional new year in Assam, Bengal, Burma, Cambodia, Kerala, Kashmir, Manipur, Orissa, Punjab, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Thailand.
In addition to Nepal, the Vikram Samvat calendar is also recognized in northern India, eastern India, and in Gujarat among Hindus. In Buddhist communities, the month of Baishakh is associated with Vesak, known as Visakah Puja or Buddha Purnima in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, Visakha Bucha in Thailand, Waisak in Indonesia and Wesak in Sri Lanka and Malaysia. It commemorates the birth, Enlightenment and passing of Gautama Buddha on the first full moon day in May, except in a leap year when the festival is held in June. Although this festival is not held on the same day as Pahela Baishakh, the holidays typically fall in the same month (Baishakh) of the Bengali, Hindu, and Theravada Buddhist calendars, and are related historically through the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in South Asia.
In Gujarat, the second day of Diwali is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar which is the first day of the month Kartik.
Nav Samvatsar Pratipada Vrat
According to Hindu calendar the Pratipada of bright half of the month of Chaitra is considered the first day of new Vikrami Samvat. New year begins on this day. According to Sri Bramhapurana Bramhaji considered this day as most auspicious and therefore, he created our universe on this day. Navratras for worshipping Goddess Durga also start from this day only.
Method of Observing Nav Samvat Vrat
Have your bath and wear new clothes and recite following Mantra to appease Lord Bramha after doing his Shodshopchar Pooja (worship with 16 auspicious articles) and receive blessings so that new year turns auspicious for you. In addition to that Goddess Durga is also worshipped on this day as it marks the beginning of Chaitra Navratri. Establish a flag at your house that day. Call some erudite astrologer and get predictions for you. Donate Ephemeries (Panchang). Offer food to your astrologer for getting the blessings of God. Recite 1 rosary of following Mantras
"Om Bramhney Namah"
"Om Aing Hreeng Kleeng Chamundayai Vichai"
jay ambe gauri, maiya jay shyama gauri|
tumko nishidin dhyavat, hari brahma shivri|| Om jay.......
mang sindur virajat, tiko mrigamad ko|
ujjval se dou naina, chandra vadan niko|| Om jay.......
kanak saman kalevar, raktambar raje|
rakta-pushp gand mala, kanthan par saje|| Om jay.......
kehri vahan rajat, khadg khappar dhari|
sur-nar-muni-jan sevat, tinke duahkhhari|| Om jay.......
kanan kundal shobhit, nasagre moti|
kotik chandra divakar, sam rajat jyoti|| Om jay.......
shumbh nishumbh bidare, mahishasur ghati|
dhumra vilochan naina, nishidin madmati|| Om jay.......
chand mund sanhare, shonit bij hare|
madhu kaitabh dou mare, sur bhay hin kare|| Om jay.......
brahmani rudrani, tum kamla rani|
agam nigam bakhani, tum shiv patrani|| Om jay.......
chainsath yogini mangal gavat, nritya karat bhairon|
bajat tal mridanga, aru bajat damru| Om jay.......
tum hi jag ki mata, tum hi ho bharta|
bhaktan ki duahkhahatrta, sukh sampatti karta|| Om jay.......
bhuja char ati shobhit, var mudradhari|
manvanchit fal pavat, sevat nar nari|| Om jay.......
Kanchan thal virajat, agar kapur bati|
shri malketu men rajat, koti ratan jyoti|| Om jay.......
shri amba ji ki arti jo koi nar gabe|
kahat shivanand svami, sukh sampati pave|| Om jay......