calendar 2024

Malayalam Calendar 2024 August

Kochi photographer’s Kollam Era calendar which uses Malayalam numerals is an ode to Malayalam

The Kollam Era calendar  | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Jinson Abraham’s Kollavarsham 1199 calendar [the Malayalam calendar, known as the Kollam Era calendar] stirred his father’s childhood memories; one of his first lessons, when he started education, was learning Malayalam numerals. It was the same for actor Mohanlal. “When I gifted one to the actor, he said he remembered seeing these as a kid but had forgotten about it until now. He called it a pleasant reminder!”   

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That was one of his intentions, Jinson confesses. “It is an ode to Malayalam, and a piece of ‘usable’ art that celebrates Malayalam numerals. It was used until recently in title deeds, which ceased with digitisation. This is as much a reminder as an attempt at preserving it,” says the 39-year-old software engineer-turned-lifestyle photographer. 

Jinson Abraham | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The calendar starts with 1199 KE Chingam (August-September 2023) and ends with 1120 KE Karkidakam (July-August 2024). The origin of the KE calendar is dated as 825 AD. Theories abound about the origin of the calendar; according to a current one it commemorates the founding of the Kollam harbour after the southern Chera kingdom was liberated. Regular calendars (in Malayalam) are Gregorian and use the Hindu-Arabic numeral system. 

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The initial plan was a calendar (with Hindu-Arabic numerals) from Chingam to Karkidakam, but that changed when he saw a calendar brought out by Moozhikulam Sala Organic Campus, Aluva (as a gift for their patrons). 

“What I intended was a calendar of the Malayalam months — Chingam to Karkidakam — but the Moozhikulam Sala calendar [with Malayalam numerals] inspired me to try making a calendar using Malayalam numerals,” Jinson adds. The images to go with the months are vintage-toned photographs of two women in a traditional tharavadu set. The pages with the dates are the focus. “You can keep it as a piece of art, the numerals by themselves are interesting!” He is grateful to TR Premkumar of Moozhikulam Sala for his help.   

The cover page of the calendar | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

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It is not just the numerals, even the names of the days of the week are different from what is used today. Njaayarazhcha (Sunday) is Ravi, Thingalazhcha (Monday) is Chandran, Chovvazhcha (Tuesday) is Kujan, Vyazhazhcha (Thursday) is Guru, Velliyazhcha (Friday) is Shukran and Shaniazhcha (Saturday) is Mandan; only Budhanazhcha (Wednesday) is Budhan.   

The freelance photographer has his own digital content production company through which he works with various brands and lifestyle magazines. Kochi-based Jinson worked as a web developer with a Kochi-based start-up before turning to photography full-time. He is happy with the response to his calendar. He has many ideas, one of them is a Gregorian calendar but with Malayalam numerals. 

Malayalam Calendar   Kerala Festivals  Kerala Holidays

The calendar, priced ₹999, is available on