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Nakshatra is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu astrology. A nakshatra is one of 27 (sometimes also 28) sectors along the ecliptic. Their names are related to the most prominent asterisms in the respective sectors.
The starting point for the nakshatras is the point on the ecliptic directly opposite to the star Spica called Chitr? in Sanskrit (other slightly different definitions exist). It is called Mesh?di or the “start of Aries”.[citation needed] The ecliptic is divided into each of the nakshatras eastwards starting from this point. The number of nakshatras reflects the number of days in a sidereal month (modern value: 27.32 days), that the width of a nakshatra is traversed by the moon in about one day. Each nakshatra is further subdivided into quarters (or padas) These play a role in popular Hindu astrology, where each pada is associated with a syllable, conventionally chosen as the first syllable of the given name of a child born when the moon was in the corresponding pada.

The nakshatras of traditional bhartiya astronomy are based on a list of 28 asterisms found in the Atharvaveda and also in the Shatapatha Brahmana. The first astronomical text that lists them is the Vedanga Jyotisha.

In classical Hindu mythology (Mahabharata, Harivamsa), the creation of the nakshatras is attributed to Daksha. They are personified as daughters of the deity and as mythological wives of Chandra, the moon god, or alternatively the daughters of Kashyapa, the brother of Daksha.

Each of the nakshatras is governed as ‘lord’ by one of the nine graha in the following sequence: Ketu (South Lunar Node), Shukra (Venus), Ravi or Surya (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Mangala (Mars), Rahu (North Lunar Node), Guru or Brihaspati (Jupiter), Shani (Saturn) and Budha (Mercury). This cycle repeats itself three times to cover all 27 nakshatras. The lord of each nakshatra determines the planetary period known as the dasha, which is considered of major importance in forecasting the life path of the individual in Hindu astrology.

In Vedic Sanskrit, the term nák?atra may refer to any heavenly body, or to “the stars” collectively. The classical sense of “lunar mansion” is first found in the Atharvaveda, and becomes the primary meaning of the term in Classical Sanskrit.

List of Nakshatras

The classical list of 27 nakshatras is first found in the Vedanga Jyotisha, a text dated to the final centuries BCE. The nakshatra system predates the influence of Hellenistic astronomy on vedic tradition, which became prevalent from about the 2nd century CE.

In Hindu astronomy, there was an older tradition of 28 Nakshatras which were used as celestial markers in the heavens. When these were mapped into equal divisions of the ecliptic, a division of 27 portions was adopted since that resulted in a cleaner definition of each portion (i.e. segment) subtending 13° 20′ (as opposed to 12° 51 3/7’ in the case of 28 segments). In the process, the Nakshatra Abhijit was left out without a portion[3]:179. The Surya Siddhantha concisely specifies the coordinates of the twenty seven Nakshatras

The following list of nakshatras gives the corresponding regions of sky, following Basham.

No. Name Associated stars Description Image
1 Ashvini
“wife of the Ashvins”
β and γ Arietis
  • Lord: Ketu (South lunar node)
  • Symbol : Horse’s head
  • Deity : Ashvins, the horse-headed twins who are physicians to the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 0° – 13°20′ Mesha
  • Western zodiac 26° Aries – 9°20′ Taurus
Aries constellation map.png
2; 7 Bharani
“the bearer”
35, 39, and 41 Arietis
  • Lord: Shukra (Venus)
  • Symbol: Yoni, the female organ of reproduction
  • Deity: Yama, god of death or Dharma
  • Indian zodiac: 13° 20′ – 26°40′ Mesha
  • Western zodiac 9° 20′ – 22° 40′ Taurus
Aries constellation map.png
3 Krittika
an old name of the Pleiades; personified as the nurses of Kārttikeya, a son of Shiva.
Pleiades
  • Lord: Surya (Sun)
  • Symbol: Knife or spear
  • Deity : Agni, god of fire
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40′ Mesha – 10° Vrishabha
  • Western zodiac 22° 40′ Taurus – 6° Gemini
Taurus constellation map.png
4; 9 Rohini
“the red one”, a name of Aldebaran. Also known as brāhmī
Aldebaran
  • Lord: Chandra (Moon)
  • Symbol: Cart or chariot, temple, banyan tree
  • Deity : Brahma or Prajapati, the Creator
  • Indian zodiac: 10° – 23°20′ Vrishabha
  • Western zodiac 6° – 19°20′ Gemini
Taurus constellation map.png
5; 3 Mrigashīrsha
“the deer’s head”. Also known as āgrahāyaṇī
λ, φ Orionis
  • Lord: Mangala (Mars)
  • Symbol: Deer’s head
  • Deity: Soma, Chandra, the Moon god
  • Indian zodiac: 23° 20′ Vrishabha – 6° 40′ Mithuna
  • Western zodiac: 19°20′ Gemini – 2°40′ Cancer
Orion constellation map.png
6; 4 Ardra
“the moist one”
Betelgeuse
  • Lord: Rahu (North lunar node)
  • Symbol: Teardrop, diamond, a human head
  • Deity : Rudra, the storm god
  • Indian zodiac: 6° 40′ – 20° Mithuna
  • Western zodiac: 2° 40′ – 16° Cancer
Orion constellation map.png
7; 5 Punarvasu (dual)
“the two restorers of goods”, also known as yamakau “the two chariots”
Castor and Pollux
  • Lord: Guru (Jupiter)
  • Symbol : Bow and quiver
  • Deity : Aditi, mother of the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Mithuna – 3°20′ Karka
  • Western zodiac 16° – 29°20′ Cancer
Gemini constellation map.svg
8; 6 Pushya
“the nourisher”, also known as sidhya or tiṣya
γ, δ and θ Cancri
  • Lord: Shani (Saturn)
  • Symbol : Cow’s udder, lotus, arrow and circle
  • Deity : Bṛhaspati, priest of the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20′ -16°40′ Karka
  • Western zodiac 29°20′ Cancer – 12°40′ Leo
Cancer constellation map.png
9; 7 Āshleshā
“the embrace”
δ, ε, η, ρ, and σ Hydrae
  • Lord: Budh (Mercury)
  • Symbol: Serpent
  • Deity : Sarpas or Nagas, deified snakes
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40′ – 30° Karka
  • Western zodiac 12°40′ – 26° Leo
Hydra constellation map.png
10; 15 Maghā
“the bountiful”
Regulus
  • Lord: Ketu (south lunar node)
  • Symbol : Royal Throne
  • Deity : Pitrs, ‘The Fathers’, family ancestors
  • Indian zodiac: 0° – 13°20′ Simha
  • Western zodiac 26° Leo – 9°20′ Virgo
Leo constellation map.png
11 Pūrva Phalgunī
“first reddish one”
δ and θ Leonis
  • Lord: Shukra (Venus)
  • Symbol : Front legs of bed, hammock, fig tree
  • Deity : Bhaga, god of marital bliss and prosperity
  • Indian zodiac: 13°20′ – 26°40′ Simha
  • Western zodiac 9°20′ – 22°40′ Virgo
Leo constellation map.png
12 Uttara Phalgunī
“second reddish one”
Denebola
  • Lord: Surya (Sun)
  • Symbol: Four legs of bed, hammock
  • Deity : Aryaman, god of patronage and favours
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40′ Simha- 10° Kanya
  • Western zodiac 22°40′ Virgo – 6° Libra
Leo constellation map.png
13 Hasta
“the hand”
α, β, γ, δ and ε Corvi
  • Lord: Chandra (Moon)
  • Symbol: Hand or fist
  • Deity : Saviti or Surya, the Sun god
  • Indian zodiac: 10° – 23°20′ Kanya
  • Western zodiac 6° – 19°20′ Libra
Corvus constellation map.png
14 Chitra
“the bright one”, a name of Spica
Spica
  • Lord: Mangala (Mars)
  • Symbol: Bright jewel or pearl
  • Deity : Tvastar or Vishvakarman, the celestial architect
  • Indian zodiac: 23°20′ Kanya – 6°40′ Tula
  • Western zodiac: 19°20′ Libra – 2°40′ Scorpio
Virgo constellation map.png
15 Svāti
“Su-Ati (sanskrit) Very good” name of Arcturus
Arcturus
  • Lord: Rahu (north lunar node)
  • Symbol: Shoot of plant, coral
  • Deity : Vayu, the Wind god
  • Indian zodiac: 6°40′ – 20° Tula
  • Western zodiac 2°40′ – 16° Scorpio
Bootes constellation map.png
16; 14 Visakha
“forked, having branches”; also known as rādhā “the gift”
α, β, γ and ι Librae
  • Lord: Guru (Jupiter)
  • Symbol : Triumphal arch, potter’s wheel
  • Deity : Indra, chief of the gods; Agni, god of Fire
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Tula – 3°20′ Vrishchika
  • Western zodiac 16° – 29°20′ Scorpio
Libra constellation map.png
17 Anuradha
“following rādhā
β, δ and π Scorpionis
  • Lord: Shani (Saturn)
  • Symbol : Triumphal archway, lotus
  • Deity : Mitra, one of Adityas of friendship and partnership
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20′ – 16°40′ Vrishchika
  • Western zodiac 29°20′ Scorpio – 12°40′ Sagittarius
Scorpius constellation map.svg
18; 16 Jyeshtha
“the eldest, most excellent”
α, σ, and τ Scorpionis
  • Lord: Budh (Mercury)
  • Symbol : circular amulet, umbrella, earring
  • Deity : Indra, chief of the gods
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40′ – 30° Vrishchika
  • Western zodiac 12°40′ – 26° Sagittarius
Scorpius constellation map.png
19; 17 Mula
“the root”
ε, ζ, η, θ, ι, κ, λ, μ and ν Scorpionis
  • Lord: Ketu (south lunar node)
  • Symbol : Bunch of roots tied together, elephant goad
  • Deity : Nirrti, goddess of dissolution and destruction
  • Indian zodiac: 0° – 13°20′ Dhanus
  • Western zodiac 26° Sagittarius – 9°20′ Capricorn
Scorpius constellation map.png
20; 18 Purva Ashadha
“first of the aṣāḍhā“, aṣāḍhā “the invincible one” being the name of a constellation
δ and ε Sagittarii
  • Lord: Shukra (Venus)
  • Symbol: Elephant tusk, fan, winnowing basket
  • Deity : Apah, god of Water
  • Indian zodiac: 13°20′ – 26°40′ Dhanus
  • Western zodiac 9°20′ – 22°40′ Capricorn
Sagittarius constellation map.png
21 Uttara Ashadha
“second of the aṣāḍhā
ζ and σ Sagittarii
  • Lord: Surya (Sun)
  • Symbol : Elephant tusk, small bed
  • Deity : Visvedevas, universal gods
  • Indian zodiac: 26°40′ Dhanus – 10° Makara
  • Western zodiac 22°40′ Capricorn – 6° Aquarius
Sagittarius constellation map.png
22; 20 Abhijit
“victorious”[5]
α, ε and ζ Lyrae – Vega Lord: Brahma
23; 20 Sravana α, β and γ Aquilae
  • Lord: Chandra (Moon)
  • Symbol : Ear or Three Footprints
  • Deity : Vishnu, preserver of universe
  • Indian zodiac: 10° – 23°20′ Makara
  • Western zodiac 6° – 19°20′ Aquarius
Aquila constellation map.png
24; 21; 23 Dhanishta
“most famous”, also Shravishthā “swiftest”
α to δ Delphini
  • Lord: Mangala (Mars)
  • Symbol : Drum or flute
  • Deity : Eight vasus, deities of earthly abundance
  • Indian zodiac: 23°20′ Makara – 6°40′ Kumbha
  • Western zodiac 19°20′ Aquarius – 2°40′ Pisces
Delphinus constellation map.png
24; 22 Shatabhisha
“requiring a hundred physicians”
γ Aquarii
  • Lord: Rahu (north lunar node)
  • Symbol : Empty circle, 1,000 flowers or stars
  • Deity : Varuna, god of cosmic waters, sky and earth
  • Indian zodiac: 6°40′ – 20° Kumbha ; Western zodiac 2°40′ – 16° Pisces
Aquarius constellation map.svg
25; 3 Purva Bhadrapada
“the first of the blessed feet”
α and β Pegasi
  • Lord: Guru (Jupiter)
  • Symbol : Swords or two front legs of funeral cot, man with two faces
  • Deity : Ajikapada, an ancient fire dragon
  • Indian zodiac: 20° Kumbha – 3°20′ Meena ; Western zodiac 16° – 29°20′ Pisces
Pegasus constellation map.png
26; 4 Uttara Bhādrapadā
“the second of the blessed feet”
γ Pegasi and α Andromedae
  • Lord: Shani (Saturn)
  • Symbol : Twins, back legs of funeral cot, snake in the water
  • Deity : Ahir Budhyana, serpent or dragon of the deep
  • Indian zodiac: 3°20′ – 16°40′ Meena ; Western zodiac 29°20′ Pisces – 12°40′ Aries
Andromeda constellation map (1).png
27; 5 Revati
“prosperous”
ζ Piscium
  • Lord: Budh (Mercury)
  • Symbol : Fish or a pair of fish, drum
  • Deity : Pushan, nourisher, the protective deity
  • Indian zodiac: 16°40′ – 30° Meena
  • Western zodiac 12°40′ – 26° Aries
Pisces constellation map.png

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