Result of Solar / Margazhi Garbottam for Monsoon 2019.

Nearly a fortnight long observation of Margazhi Garbottam came to an end on 11th January at 1-13 PM. This year the Garbottam period was eventful and totally different from the past 3 years (relevant for monsoon 2016, 2017 & 2018) when spotless blue sky was staring down at us on most days. Except for 2 days corresponding to November 2019, all the other days had some signs to guarantee rains. This Garbottam being the first source of assessing the entire rainfall season, the mostly eventful Garbottam gives me a sigh of relief in the wake of a bad prediction of rainfall for the upcoming year ‘Vikari’. Keeping ‘Vikari’ year prediction for another day let me present here what I gathered from this Garbottam that is applicable to Chennai ONLY.

The first two days saw surging grey clouds from North East – North West, apparently from the sea. From my observation of similar events in the past Garbottams, this is not exactly how solar Garbottam has to happen. A similar kind of Garbottam gave rains in the sideline of a cyclone (Gaja) in the 2nd fortnight of November 2018. Interestingly this cloud surge indicates the dates of some planetary trigger when Mercury overtakes Mars and comes in the lead of all planets in a watery sign (Cancer) and Saturn and Ketu enter into deep conjunction. The dates happening to be July 5th to 9th sound improbable for rains from a system, but it could also result from convergence of winds (Mercury for winds) and ‘Veppa Chalanam’ (Mars behind Mercury). How this happens will be an addition to our knowledge of astro-meteorology. 

An important feature I noticed was the role of cold northerlies and fog helping in cloud formation after the sun climbs up the next day. When fog was much less, the next day had clear sky. When cold winds (Vaadai- Kaatru வாடைக் காற்று) were blowing, there was very good cloud build-up the next day causing them cross the sun often. When it was misty the previous night or next morning, the sky was misty white till noon after which it was blue sky only.

On 10th January (Day 13), there must have been some difference in the moisture level of overnight mist – as one could see the misty white sky developing clouds that caused good Garbottam in some places of Chennai, while it was not so in my place of observation. Similar formation was something not at all seen in the last 3 years after Chennai was flooded in 2015. This apparent disparity makes me think that 2019 is going to see far better levels of rainfall.

The most unique day was Day 10, on 7th January between 8 to 10:30 AM. The overnight foggy weather seemed to give rise to a peculiar cloud formation of neatly arranged bundles of clouds much closer to the surface – not like cirrus clouds seen high above. This was noticed at other parts of Chennai and is comparable with similar looking clouds noticed in south of South India from Chennai to Kerala on 27th February 2018. It resulted in the rainfall of the century to Kerala on the 195th day – on 8th August 2018.

day 10 - jan 7th compare with kerala clouds


Similar cloud formation seen on 27th Feb 2018 for comparison


Compared to Kerala cloud, the duration was much less in Chennai. But the planetary combination was unique like it was when similar formation occurred in Kerala. Mars, Mercury and Venus were in exact square on 27th Feb 2018, when that cloud formation was happening.

In Chennai Mars and Mercury were in exact square at the time of cloud formation. On the corresponding dates (Oct 25th and 26th, 2019), Mars comes out of combustion and Mercury enters combustion both are trigger factors for very good rainfall.

The Feb 27th Garbottam (Kerala) did not happen in Margazhi. So it was counted as ‘Daily Garbottam’ and the impact date was deduced based on the phase and tithi of the moon on the 6th month.

But in Chennai Garbottam this time, it is counted for Margazhi Garbottam and also Daily Garbottam. The above mentioned dates in October are deduced from Margazhi Garbottam. In Daily Garbottam, the corresponding date is 20th May, 2019. This is also an important date to watch for rainfall and the nature of rainfall.

This Margazhi Garbottam observation is relevant for the period starting from June 22nd. However other features are there to ensure early rainfall for Chennai. The same data of Solar Garbottam is relevant as Daily Garbottam observation and it will be written in another blog shortly.

The chart given below gives the observation and the probable dates of rainfall. One drawback of this observation is that night time sky could not be watched. So nearly a week – rather the alternating weeks are not covered in this. However it was found that it was not at all cloudy on any of the nights of Solar Garbottam, but one important feature was early morning fog on most days which was found missing in the previous 3 years of my observation of this Garbottam in Margazhi.

pic - garbottam result



Solar Garbottam 2018-19: Count-down begins on 29th Dec for monsoon 2019.

The traditional weather forecast for rainfall prospects of 2019 begins at 11-19 AM on 29th December 2018 and is going to last until 1-13 PM on 11th January 2019. Most Tamil Panchangas make a mention of this duration as ‘Garbottam’ – translated as nature of ‘pregnancy’ of rainfall that occurs six months later starting from South west Monsoon season.

This period covers the transit of Sun in the star Purvashada (Pooradam) in the month of Margazhi. Each degree covered by the sun foretells the nature of rainfall for a fortnight starting from the time the sun enters the star Arudra in late June. In other words the climatic condition of this period is the causative factor for all that is going happen in the coming months with its result getting manifest for 6 months starting from the 2nd fortnight of June.

This Garbottam gives an overall general picture of the entire SWM and NEM season for the region where it is observed. I am observing it from Chennai and this is my 4th year in continuation ever since Chennai was ravaged by floods. In the past 3 years, this Garbottam was found to be highly reliable and it must be said that I am gaining a lot year after year in fine-tuning my understanding of this traditional knowledge.

New-comers may read my eralier article on how to see Solar Garbottam to help themselves catch up with this article. This Garbottam during Sun’s transit in Pooradam has been named by me as ‘Solar or Margazhi Garbottam’. This gives overall picture of the rainfall of next year. There is another one, which is same as this in observation, but observed everyday which I prefer to call as ‘Daily Garbottam’. The timing of rainfall varies in Daily Garbottam which will be explained in a separate article.

For now I am giving an observation chart for Margazhi Garbottam. The duration of each day with its corresponding rainfall-period (later) is given. On all these days given in the chart one must observe

  • The clouds,
  • The wind,
  • Drizzles if any

apart from lightning and thunder. The last two are excluded in the chart as they are not common. If observed they must be noted. If all the 5 features are noticed in a day in this period, there will be plenty of rainfall in the corresponding period.

For now each 1-3/4 hour of observation is equal to 1 day in the corresponding period.

Therefore the formation of clouds must occur at least for half an hour to give a few hours of rainfall later.


What to observe?

  1. Clouds resembling pearl or silver colour
  2. Clouds in the shape of aquatic animal, huge and dense.
  3. These clouds scorched by bright sun light
  4. Gentle breeze (presence of 3 and 4 together would result in torrential rain on the 196thday)
  5. Sun and the Moon encircled by glossy, bright and thick halo.
  6. Sky filled with bulky clouds or smooth needle like clouds (cirrus), or in the shape of sword.
  7. Clouds appearing in red or blue tint.
  8. Pleasant twilights in morning and evening.
  9. Light rumbling thunder
  10. Rainbow in the lower horizon.
  11. Red glow in the horizon at dawn and sun set.
  12. Clouds with halos



Look for clouds shaped as aquatic animals. The clouds will keep changing shapes. But as they change the aquatic look should be there.

Some common shapes one can expect in this Garbottam season are shown below:

Gar 1

Turtle shaped cloud


Gar 1

Swan- like

Gar 1

Swan’s beak

Other common shapes are long crocodile like clouds and fish shaped clouds.


Cloud and the Sun.

The clouds must cross the sun very often, that is, the sun must be hidden very often. The crossing clouds must look dark for our sight while its edges must glow. For example the cloud formation as in pic 1 must occur often whereas the one in pic 2 is not good Garbottam.

Gar 1

Pic 1

Gar 1

Pic 2

Even if the clouds are crossing the sun, bringing down the heat felt by us, the sun must not evaporate or shatter the clouds. Two sample formations are shown below to show a wasted Garbottam.

Gar 1

Gar 1

Clouds seemed boiled by the Sun – Failed Garbottam

It is best if the sun is not seen while dark clouds cross it for a while each time. A sample formation is given below:

Gar 1

The disc of the sun must be seen white with naked eye as the clouds pass through.


Wind pattern

There must be cool winds blowing when the clouds are crossing the sun. Even otherwise, the days must cold with a less hot sun in the sky. Direction of the wind must be noted down. The rainfall in the corresponding period will be in opposite to this direction. In the initial days the wind direction will be north east corresponding to south west monsoon. A change of direction is noticeable in later days corresponding to NEM. All this observation is done personally at the ground level.



The planetary positions during Margazhi Garbottam also play a role in monsoon later. Fortunately this year not many negative combinations are there with Mars well outside the days of this Garbottam. An eclipse during the Garbottam day spoils rainfall but the solar eclipse occurring in this period is not visible in India; so no adverse impact on Garbottam.

Fortunately moon will be moving in stars that ensure plenty of rainfall if Garbottam features occur well on those days. They are marked in the chart.

In olden days Garbottam was welcomed with worship of Nataraja on the Full Moon coming before Margazhi Garbottam. That is celebrated as Arudra Darshan even today. The first day of Garbottam corresponds to the time of Sun’s entry into Arudra in the month of Ani. Thinking of that our forefathers had prayed to Lord Nataraja to enable a bountiful monsoon which is dependent on the cloud, wind and heating conditions on the land on these 13 days of Margazhi Garbottam.

Let us also pray to Lord Nataraja to bestow auspicious Garbottam this time to bring relief to parched Chennai.

Margazhi Garbottam chart given below can be downloaded and used for noting down the observation. Note down the time of sighting Garbottam clouds and winds. The corresponding dates can be deduced on the basis of part of the Garbottam day.

Garbottam 2019 chart


The astrological tale of three cyclones: Titli, Luban and Gaja.

This year (2018) we found four cyclones of rare kind, with two of them forming in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea simultaneously which the IMD characterised as the rarest of rare occurrence! Cyclone Titli and Luban formed simultaneously in BOB and Arabian Sea respectively during an intervening between SWM and NEM. Twin formation on two sides of India has not been recorded so far.


Cyclone Gaja also made history of sorts by taking a long time to make a landfall, and once entered land, made a ‘walk-away’ across the land without losing intensity and causing severe havoc.

The next was cyclone Phethai which seemed to head towards north coastal TN but gave a miss to the parched North TN including Chennai. With the astro-meteorological phenomenon behind Phethai already discussed, we will be looking into Titli, Luban and Gaja in this article.


The twins – Titli and Luban

The twin cyclones occurred at a time of NEM in meteorological perception but in a fused SWM and NWM period in astro-meteorological perception.

Look at the dates of Mercury- Venus closeness which is the basic canvass of rainfall period for India in general.

Pic 1

(From Feb 26, 2018 article)

This closeness conveys that there will be good rainfall between Sep 21- Oct 26 which partly covers the SWM retreat period and onset of NEM period. How would the planetary influence (shall I say “Maruts”) behave in this period? In Arabian Sea or BOB or in both? This year we got a reality check for this, I would say. When the closeness extends from SWM to NEM, we can expect systems in both provided other first rate influences are there.

Now let us look at the dates of the twin cyclone on both the seas and compare with astrological features at that time.

Cyclone Titli

Genesis = Oct 6.

Intensification = Oct 9

Landfall = Oct 11 (Andhra)


Cyclone Luban

Genesis = Oct 6

Intensification = Oct 10

Landafall = Oct 14 (Yemen)


Astrological features in this period.

#Mercury – Venus closeness = September 21 – October 26

# Venus (in western sky in the evening in Swati = plentiful rainfall / Ativrishti yoga) = until Oct 20

Now the cyclone trigger features:


# Mercury enters the next sign to join Venus = Oct 6

# Venus Starts retrogression = Oct 5th night

# Venus continues to stall in the same degree (17th degree in Libra) = from Oct 6 – Oct 11.

Cyclone Titli’s progress exactly matches with this



When Mercury- Venus closeness is present and Venus begins retrogression with Mercury entering the sign where Venus is located, severe storm brews as long as Venus is stalled in its position

(Stalling happens when a planet starts retrogression from a forward motion. This is as seen from the earth. When seen from the earth its takes a few days to notice the backward motion of the planet. That period varies from planet to planet. That period is called “Stambhita” – or stalling)

In the same period cyclone Luban formed and progressed to a destination outside India. It intensified around the same time the stambhita of Venus was coming to an end and the planet started moving backward.


Cyclone Gaja

Genesis = Nov 5

Intensification in BOB = Nov 10

Landfall = midnight of Nov 16

Moved across Land to enter Arabian Sea = Nov 17


Astrological features in the same period.

Mercury- Venus closeness = Absent (between Oct 26 – Nov 28)

Mars-Saturn – Sun in alternate signs = Nov 6 – Nov 17

This single feature tells the story of Gaja.

Though Mercury- Venus closeness was not there, the other potent and deadly combination of the three planets (Sat, Ma & Sun) in alternate signs lasted for 11 days, the exact duration during which cyclone Gaja was potent.

Let us see the detailed features.

# Mars enters next sign (Aquarius) to come into alternate signs with Saturn and Sun = Nov 6

#Venus stalled (Stambhita) in the same degree = Nov 10- Nov 16

# Venus ends retrogression = Nov 16 (4-30 PM)

# Sun enters the next sign to end the alternate sign trot = Nov 16 (6-30 PM)



The Sthambita period of Venus both at the beginning and end of retrogression causes severe intensification of a cyclone provided the major canvass of rainfall is also present (Mercury –Venus closeness or Sat-Ma-Su in alternate signs).

The location of Venus in morning or evening sky must be in favourable stars for this intensification to give rainfall to India.

During Titli, Venus was in evening sky in Swati = plenty of rainfall.

During Gaja, Venus had moved backward to morning sky to be in Chitra = plenty of rainfall.

One planet, that is, Venus from the time of its retrogression and the end of the same had given 3 cyclones in between. It had moved from evening sky to morning sky in favourable stars throughout. Within the same period 2 major rainfall canvas features had occurred, the first one being Mercury- Venus closeness and the latter one being Sat-Ma-Su in alternate signs.

Certainly this is a rare combination.



The basic canvas for plenty of rainfall must be there. They are

# Closeness of Mercury- Venus

# Saturn, Mars and Sun in alternate signs.

#Venus in morning or evening sky in favourable stars.


Trigger for cyclone and intensification:

# The date of start of retrogression triggers meteorological activity.

# The date of end of retrogression causes massive rainfall.

# The days of stall of Venus when it is changing course while beginning or ending retrogression.

# Mercury entering a sign to join Venus.

# Mercury and Venus crossing each other.

#When Mercury crosses backward with Venus moving to the front, heavy rainfall.

# When Venus crosses backward with Mercury moving to the front, winds pick and reduction in rainfall.

  Titli Luban Gaja


Start date Oct 6 Oct 6 Nov 5
Astro feature Venus starts retrogression


Mercury enters next sign to join Venus

Venus starts retrogression


Mercury enters next sign to join Venus

Mars enters next sign to come into alternate sign with Sat & Sun


Retrogression of Venus continues

Intensification to landfall Oct 9-11 Oct 10-14 Nov 10-16
Astrological feature Venus in same degree (stalled / in stambhita) Venus in same degree (stalled / in stambhita) Venus in same degree (stalled / in stambhita)





“Elopement” of cyclones Ockhi and Phethai: some insights from astro-meteorology.

The stunning performance of cyclone Phethai like an eloping lover running past Chennai and north coastal Tamilnadu without giving a drop of rainwater will be a subject of analysis for some time to come. From astrological angle this was expected with Venus in adverse transit. It was written earlier on 20th November 2018 that Venus in morning sky transiting the stars Swati, Vishakam, Anusham and Jyeshtai would discourage rainfall. This year this transit started after 4th December and is going to last until the year end.

Does this mean that there won’t be any rainfall till this month end? In reality we have been seeing generation of cyclones or rainfall causing features occurring in the Bay. But Phethai showed that the usual NEM beneficiaries could not get benefited by this system. Phethai skipped coastal Tamilnadu and went further to give rainfall in north coastal Andhra Pradesh. Speaking on the ‘performance’ of Phethai, the Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Dr S. Balachandran had said that only 5 times in the last 120 years, the Bay cyclone had crossed Andhra Pradesh in the month of December.

This is a crucial piece of information to test the hypothesis that adverse transits during an otherwise rainfall supportive period of a season (here NEM) could drive away the rainfall from the regular NEM regions to other regions. This instantly brings a flash in my mind whether this is what Rig Vedic sages were referring to as Maruts! The Marut Ganas are winds or storm Gods who can come to the aid of Indra in giving rainfall or push away the rains and or even smash the weapons of Indra. A similar feature has happened precisely at a time Phethai was coming towards Chennai coast. But no sooner it came close enough to pour its waters, a wind had blown from north to south causing a wall of separation between Chennai and Phethai. Did the Marut Gana (Venus) strike its blow to keep away Indra? This thought was uppermost in my mind when I saw the following tweet.


The winds had pushed off the cyclone until it crossed north coastal Tamilnadu but allowed it to enter a location farther north (Andhra Pradesh) which normally does not come under NEM reckoning. From Dr Balachandran we come to know that this kind of hopping over to Andhra Pradesh had happened in December in the years 1965, 1985, 2003 and 2010.

This reminded me of last year’s Ockhi with a much weirder performance by going around south India and climbing up in the Arabian Sea to enter Gujarat in peak NEM season! This happened between 29th November and 6th December 2017. Ockhi is also a good test to check for the features of deterrence (astro-meteorologically) that caused the cyclone to shun the usual NEM regions.

In addition I have taken up the cyclones of NEM 2017 published in the Report of IMD for checking. The insights are given below:

Features that cause cyclogenesis or rainfall formation must be supported by the following planetary combinations.


  1. Sun, Saturn and Mars in alternate signs of the zodiac. This had caused heavy rainfall at times causing floods but definitely devastation.

Prominent examples are the Cyclone of 1985 that forced the then Chief Minister MGR to evacuate his flooded residence, Cyclone Laila in 2010, Cyclone Thane of 2011, Cyclone Vardah of 2016 and Cyclone Gaja recently.  The most memorable Chennai floods were caused when these planets were in alternate signs.


  1. Mercury and Venus must be moving closer to each other or the gap between them must narrow down as they move. This closeness happens 3 to 4 times in a year. In my observation of past 3 years, the closeness undoubtedly gives the limits of the monsoon season. When they are not close in regular season, the monsoon had failed in those days. When they are close, rainfall materialises but if un-supported by other features (Marut Ganas) rainfall occurs outside the region of the regular targets of a season.

For example this year’s Mercury- Venus closeness chart is furnished below.


The first row supported pre-monsoon showers. The next two were SWM showers. But the fourth one came very late on November 28th.  Between October 26th and November 28th there was a big gap. But within this gap we experienced cyclone Gaja. That was made possible by the 1st feature we listed above – i.e., the three planets in alternate signs – in addition to the equally important transit of Venus in certain stars.

The basic idea is that this closeness must be there at right times of the two monsoon seasons. If supported by the stronger feature of the three planets in alternate signs, rainfall occurs.  Even if there is no closeness between Mercury and Venus, rainfall occurs if this feature is there. But there is one dampener which is written next.


  1.  Venus must be in morning (pre-dawn) sky in the SWM months and evening sky in NEM months to ensure rainfall. Venus will be towing before or after the Sun always. If it appears before the sun (pre-dawn) while moving through Magha, Purva phalguni, Uttara Phalguni, Hasta and Chitra, there will be plentiful rainfall even if the previously mentioned features are not present. In 2017 major rainfall for Chennai came during this transit between 15th September and 8th

But Venus must be in evening sky while it is transiting Swati, Vishaka, Anusha and Jyeshta to give good rainfall. This transit mostly happens in NEM season. This year this transit is happening in the pre-dawn sky starting from 5th December. This is the single most reason for the ‘elopement’ of the cyclones from core NEM regions of Tamilnadu though Mercury- Venus closeness had started on 13th December.

Now a quick check at the 5 rainfall dates / cyclones of 2017 NEM season detailed in the Report of the IMD

The table of Mercury- Venus closeness for 2017 is given below for reference.

1 March 7 to March 25
2 April 20 to June 21

August 27 to October 8

4 December 13 to January 9

The table shows that there was a big gap between October 8th and December 13th in the main NEM period. NEM 2017 didn’t start on the expected date of 20th October. Mercury- Venus closeness was not there. And Saturn was in front of all the planets at that time. This caused dry conditions.

However it rained well throughout Tamilnadu between 29th October – 6th November, categorised as Fairly Widespread (FWS) to Widespread (WS) by IMD.

The single most potent feature was

  • Venus was in morning sky in Chitra – This is a rainfall causing feature.


During October – December 2017, 5 synoptic scale systems formed in the Bay (IMD Report).

  1. October 9th – 10th :LOPAR (Low Pressure Area) in North BOB and adjoining south Bangladesh.

Beneficiary: Jharkhand and West Bengal

Astrological feature: Venus in Uttar Phalguni in pre-dawn sky. (Other two features absent)

In the absence of first two major features, NEM did not benefit NEM regions. Only Venus was supportive.


  1. October 19th to 22nd: Depression in central BOB

Beneficiary: Odhisha, Gangetic west Bengal and Bangladesh

Astrological feature: Venus in Hasta in pre-dawn sky. (Other two features absent)


On November 8th Venus entered Swati in morning sky – signalling less rainfall to NEM regions.


  1. November 15th 17th : Depression in southwest BOB and adjoining areas of south Sri Lanka & equatorial Indian Ocean.

Beneficiary: Odisha

Astrological feature: All the three features are absent.

BUT Sun entered Scorpio (watery sign) to join Mercury on 15th and 16th. As Mercury was in the lead of all planets, it caused cyclonic conditions.


  1. November 29th to 6th December: Cyclone Ockhi.


Courtesy: Report on NEM 2017 by IMD

Beneficiary: Kanyakumari in South coastal TN, Kerala, Lakshadweep and Gujarat.

Astrological feature: All the three features are absent.

BUT on November 28th Mercury was in deep conjunction with Saturn and overtook  Saturn on 29th Nov. Now mercury is in front of all planets.

On 29th -30th Nov Mars entered next sign (Libra) and came in alternate sign with Saturn

Venus in adversarial transit in pre-dawn sky caused the Ockhi to run away from NEM regions.


  1. December 6th 9th: Deep depression over BOB.

Beneficiary: Weakened in north BOB and neighbourhood.

Astrological feature: All the three absent. No trigger feature from other planets.

No rainfall after this.

But Mercury-closeness started on 13th December 2017. But no rians.

On 16th December Saturn, Sun and Mars started moving in alternate signs. But no rains.

The only disruptive feature was transit of Venus in stars in pre-dawn sky (Swati to Jyeshta) when it cannot support rainfall.

The year ended with no rainfall as Venus continued in the same transit.


Now let us check the 5 dates mentioned by Dr Balachandran of the cyclones missing Coastal Tamilnadu but running away to Andhra Pradesh in the month of December.

  1. 30-12-1965 (Vishakapatnam)
  • Venus was in evening sky in a star much ahead (Sravana). This must have given rainfall to TN, but Jupiter- Sun opposition retards rainfall. NEM core region lost the opportunity.


  1. 12-12-1985 (Nellore)
  • Venus in adversarial pre-dawn sky in Jyeshta.


  1. 11-12-2003 (Krishna)
  • Venus was in the evening sky but much ahead in Purvashada. The dampener was Sun in Vayu Naadi.


  1. December 2010 (date and place not known)
  • Venus was in pre-dawn sky in adversarial transit throughout the month.


5. 17-12-2018 Cyclone Phethai (Kakinada)

  • Venus in pre-dawn sky in Swati. This caused the ‘run-away’ even though the first two features are very much present.


The lesson: Venus in favourable stars and in favourable part of the sky (pre-dawn or evening) is very crucial for rainfall in NEM regions. (Applies to SWM also)

Unfortunately this year (2018) Venus had entered the same part of the sky as in 2017 and in the same stars from 5th December onwards. Even though other two features had come up, this particular feature had driven out the rains from the NEM regions of Tamilnadu in general.

Is this how the Marut-gana is in action?

Is that why Rig Vedic sages invoked Maruts to not cause this drift in rainfall?



NEM 2018 for Chennai for a fortnight only?

The most awaited day had arrived with the good news of heavy rainfall for Chennai in the dates identified in our Margazhi /Solar Gabottam analysis. Earlier in our blog posted on 26th February, 2018 we had a given a detailed account of the 13-day observation and the expected rains from that. It showed heavy rainfall for Chennai only on the 12th day corresponding to a fortnight between 19th November and 2nd December 2018. It must be noted here that the rainfall conditions in Chennai followed more or less the same periods indicated by this Garbottam so far.

The much expected cyclone Gaja gave only isolated rains for Chennai and this was in tune with the prediction of Solar Garbottam. It showed only isolated rainfall between 12th to 19th November for Chennai. This is now followed by another system in the Bay that is expected to give heavy rainfall to Chennai exactly in the period indicated by the 12th day of Solar Garbottam.

The 12th day of Solar Garbottam started from sunrise on 9th January and lasted till sunrise on 10th January 2018. Throughout the day time of 9th January, the sky was completely overcast with darkness all around but without rains. Such a condition happening on Garbottam observation day must give plentiful rainfall in the corresponding period. Based on that observation we wrote as follows in our 26th Feb blog.

Pic 1

The cloud cover in the above picture was seen throughout 9th and 10th January 2018 (12th and 13th days of Solar Garbottam) covering 2 fortnights. However the Garbottam of 10th January was marred by rainfall in many places in Chennai. This restricts the rainfall of the current NEM season to only a fortnight until 2nd December for Chennai. The places where it didn’t rain on 10th January are likely to get rainfall, which means rainfall scenario of NEM is not yet over by 2nd December. It is likely to continue until 16th December in other impact regions of NEM.

Following planetary features support rainfall in NEM regions

  1. Mercury- Venus closeness:

This closeness starts from 28th November to 30th January. Though solar Garbottam for Chennai does not support rainfall in this period, there is going to be rainfall in other regions of Tamilnadu and east coast.

Pic 2

Dates of Mercury-Venus closeness

  1. 2. Mercury in combustion

Mercury begins combustion in watery sign from 21st November until 4th December. Both the starting and end dates will see heavy rainfall. With Solar Garbottam favouring Chennai, heavy rainfall can be expected on 21st November in Chennai. There will be rainfall / wet conditions throughout the combustion period.

  1. Mercury- Jupiter closeness.

Starting from 17th November Mercury is moving towards Jupiter stationed at Anusham. When these two planets are moving closer to each other, there will be heavy rainfall. This closeness lasts till 27th November. Until then there is likely to be very good rainfall in Chennai and from NEM in general.

On 27th -28th November Mercury is crossing Jupiter from the opposite direction (retrogression). This brings Mercury to come much closer to Venus. The crossing over is likely to trigger a meteorological event in the Bay on 27th / 28th.

  1. Mercury starting retrogression while Venus coming out of retrogression.

This is a good rainfall feature that happened on 17th November within 24 hours’ gap. This causes the two to come towards each other reducing the gap between them. This lasts until 30th December.  


Rainfall Spoiler

There is a biggest rainfall spoiler in this NEM season in the form of Venus in adverse transit. Venus appearing in the eastern sky before sunrise transiting the stars Swati, Vishaka and Jyeshta would spoil the rainfall. Unfortunately Venus begins transit on Swati on 4th December 2018. Though other features are good and Venus itself continues to be in close conjunction with Mercury, this feature is likely to fizzle out NEM a little earlier.

The locational direction of Venus and its movement through specific stars are supposed to give or spoil rainfall. Last year the major quantum of rainfall from NEM (for Chennai too) came at a time Venus was moving in rainfall giving (Ativrishti yoga) transit in stars starting from Magha in the east that happened between 15th September to 8th November 2017. Having seen that Ativrishti yoga working well, the converse of it happening this NEM season can be expected to work as well. In other words, the adverse transit of Venus in Swati, Vishaka and Anusham in the eastern sky before dawn is likely to reduce rainfall. This transit begins on 4th December and continues till the end of December.


Rainfall scenario for Chennai in a nutshell.

  • Good rainfall prospects between 19th November and 2nd December
  • With an exemplary Solar Garbottam in the background of this rainfall, major chunk of rainfall for Chennai can be expected in this fortnight.
  • Reduction in rainfall from 2nd December though there is likely to be heavy spell on 4th December

Rainfall scenario for regions under NEM in a nutshell

  • Spurt in rainfall activity from 17th November onwards.
  • Spurt in rainfall or meteorological events on 21st, 27th, 28th November and  4th December
  • Isolated rainfall after 4th
  • Reduction in overall NEM after 4th


Related news item: சென்னையின் தண்ணீர்த் தேவைக்கு போதிய மழை பெய்யுமா? ஜோதிடர் ஜெயஸ்ரீ சாரநாதன் கணிப்பு!

Scientific astrology behind Kerala floods.

Earlier posted in Ind Samachar

Recent floods in Kerala will be etched in memory and in records as one in a century phenomenon due to the magnitude of damage to life and property and also in terms of the torrential down pour that triggered a cascade starting from 8th August 2018. Modern science would attribute it to climate change, but what many do not know is that this was identified by astro-meteorological features well in advance, say, on February 2018 itself.  These features were part of the knowledge on rainfall-prediction given by the Vedic rishis such as Garga, Parasara, Kashyapa, Vatsa and others and encapsulated by Varahamihira in Brihad Samhita[i]

Modern science looks at cloud formation for the arrival of rainfall. But ancient rishis were looking at the clouds well in advance, say, six and a half months before the arrival of rainfall! According to them, specific types of cloud formation or the absence of them during the four solar months from Mārgashira to Phalguna decide the nature of rainfall in the monsoon season Monsoon rains.

According to them rainfall occurs on the 195th day from the date of observation of favourable cloud and wind condition. (This pertains to each region and observation must be done area-wise to know whether or not it would rain 195 days later). For identification of the 195th day, the tithi (तिथि) and lunar phase on the date of observation must be noted. The same tithi in the alternate lunar phase after 6 solar months will be the 195th day. Favourable cloud formation would yield good rainfall on the 195th day.

The rationale of this method is that the kind of meteorological features present in a particular place is related to rainfall or no-rainfall that would occur in the same place 195 days later! In other words, the meteorological conditions seen at any place at a particular time in space is related to the rainfall conditions at the same place when earth has moved 180 degrees away from that initial place. This can be shown by a diagram as follows:


This year a peculiar formation of clouds observed in Kerala and many parts of South India on 27th and 28th February matched with the time of sudden spurt in rainfall 195 days later – i.e., on 8th and 9th August. It went for a week thereafter leading to the opening of the flood gates of all the dams in Kerala.[ii]

Pre-monsoon clouds in Kerala and other places.

From the evening of 27th February the sky was covered with clouds that looked like a blanket of neatly arranged bundles covering the entire sky from evening till next forenoon. The near full moon enhanced the cooling effect for the observer. The clouds looked like Cirrus but were low in the sky. Many weather enthusiasts reported this formation at that time. The picture below was taken in Kerala where this formation was thick and glowing in moonlight.


At the same time similar cloud formation was noticed across South India at many places.


This formation coincided with a planetary combination of Mars in one sign and Mercury and Venus at 90 degrees away from Mars while Moon was in a watery sign.

Mars signifies heat. Mercury, Venus and Moon signify water (rainfall). This was a kind of presence of both heat and water together in the air at certain latitudes / at certain angle from the sun and these planets. The 195th day from the day of observation of these clouds was on August 8th and 9th – precisely the dates that saw a spurt in rainfall in Kerala to the extent of more than 300 mm in 24 hours at many places. Other regions of south India including Chennai received good rainfall on these days.

Another interesting feature is that Moon entered Aslesha after mid night of 27th when the clouds were still crossing the sky. Cloud formation on the day of Aslesha in the month of Magha would result in continuous rainfall for 16 days, according to Varahamihira. With Aslesha happening in the 2nd half, the rainfall went on for nearly a week in Kerala causing grave impact.

This real-time experience makes us take stock of what this wisdom is all about.

Hindu wisdom on clouds for prediction of rainfall.

  1. In the four months mentioned above (observation period), cumulous clouds must be present in the sky in abundance. They should be seen with a halo around them.
  1.  Around noon time huge and bulky clouds must be crossing the disc of the sun. They must look dark underneath for the observer on the ground.


  1. The clouds must be of the colour of pearl or silver. That means they must not be milk white, but of somewhat dull white.
  2. Shape of clouds also matters. Clouds must be of the shape of aquatic animals, like swans, crocodiles, fish, turtle and the like.


      Turtle –like cloud during observation period.

This is in contrast to mountain like, castle- like and animal like formations. Such formations must be seen in rainy season, and not in the observation period.

If clouds are seen with the above features in the observation period, it ensures good rainfall during monsoon period, subject to 195-day correlation. The clouds on 27th and 28th February were low and dark from below but not aquatic shaped. They looked low and dense, resembled cumulo-cirrus but never known to have been observed in the past. That makes the resultant rainfall rare and of destructive proportions.

Science behind these clouds.

In this backdrop let us take a look what science tells about the impact of clouds on rainfall. The linking of pre-monsoon clouds to 195-day-later rainfall is unknown to science. Only now the scientific community is waking up to the importance of clouds in affecting climate globally.  A NASA publication  says that “Scientists are gaining new insights into how clouds control atmospheric and surface temperature, atmospheric humidity, and atmospheric and oceanic circulation and precipitation patterns..”.  The following illustration from the publication shows the contrasting effect of low and high level clouds.


The high clouds, or those in the nature of Cirrus clouds tend to contribute to warming of the earth, says the publication. As per astro-meteorology, the four months of observation must be cool, thereby indicating that clouds must be at the low level.

The same publication discusses the effect of low clouds.


The above illustration shows low level clouds as controlling the solar radiation and reflecting them back. This keeps the ground cool.

Interestingly this is what is expected in the observation months. These months are expected to be foggy in the morning, followed by clouds forming in the sky as the sun climbs up. The slow heating and gentle winds expected in those months keep changing the shape of the clouds which appear as neck of the aquatic animals. (On these months one can observe swan shaped cloud becoming turtle shaped within minutes!) The incoming radiation is seen as a halo or glow around the clouds for the observer on land.

The difference between the scientific article and wisdom of sages is that science detects the conditions on the day of observation of the cloud but Hindu wisdom links it with the climatic conditions later. Its time our weather forecasters take a leaf out of this wisdom.

[i] Brihad Samhita, Chapters 21 – 28






Rainfall 2018 (Margazhi / Solar Garbottam)

The transit of Sun in the star Purvashada (Pooradam) is considered as the major phase of Garbottam indicative of the entire rainfall season of India from June to December. For easy reference I have named it as solar Garbottam or Margazhi Garbottam as this transit happens in the solar month of Margazhi. Sun travels one degree a day and as such crosses a star in little more than 13 days. (The span of each star is 13 degrees and 20 minutes). So this Margazhi Garbottam happens for 13 days plus few more hours.

Each day (degree) of Sun’s transit in Purvashada is indicative of the entire duration of Sun’s transit in a star starting from Arudra. This starts in June (in Gemini) and corresponds to roughly a fortnight. One may recall the importance of Arudra Pravesam highlighted in Panchanga based prediction. The entry of Sun in Arudra is linked to the first degree of Purvashada transited by the sun which is counted as the 1st day of Margazhi Garbottam. Each succeeding day is counted from the Sun’s entry into the succeeding degree.

The details of what to observe and how to link it with the dates of the rainy season were already given in this article.

In the current article, the nature of Margazhi Garbottam that ended recently and its likely impact on the rainfall season of 2018 are given in tabulated form and discussed. This gives a broad outlook for the entire season. The observation of this Garbottam is valid for the location where it is observed. So it is imperative that this observation is done throughout India to get an idea about the region-wise rainfall.

One disadvantage of this observation is that the night time features cannot be observed. This means a week’s duration for each period of fortnight is not backed up by any observation. But our previous experience has shown that unless the sky is overcast through the evening stretching into night, not much difference can be expected in the night time Garbottam.

Certain planetary transits happening at the time of Margazhi Garbottam are likely to influence the nature of rainfall later. The important ones are (1) Moon in beneficial stars and (2) eclipse and (3) planetary war in which 2 planets enter deep conjunction and one of them emerging ahead of the other and seen within one degree. In particular if Mars is in such a state, rainfall is affected. This year, Mars entered a planetary war with Jupiter and emerged ‘victorious’. Therefore these features also must be incorporated in judging rainfall later.

The transit of moon in beneficial stars is indicated as (+) in the table.

The spoilers (Planetary war) are indicated as (-)

For the rainfall season of 2018, the observation started in late December 2017 and continued into January 2018. The Sun entered Purvashada at 5-11 AM on 29th December 2017 and exited at 7-08 AM on 11th January 2018. This year the entry time starting from sunrise makes it easy to count the days from one sunrise to the next sunrise. The date given in the table below indicates this duration.

Day Date of Garbottam Nature of Garbottam Date of Impact (2018) Prediction
1 29th   Dec


Wind–  Mild & cool

Drizzles– Mild at 8 PM

Clouds– Good in forenoon.

V.Good at Noon and post noon

22nd June –

6th July

Good rainfall in the 1st half of the fortnight.

Good between 25th to 28th June.

2 30th  Dec 2017.



Wind – Mild & cool

Clouds – Good between 9-30 AM to 2 PM

6th July –

20th July

Good rainfall in the 1st half of the fortnight.

Good between 7th to 11th July

3 31st  Dec



Moon in Rohini at day time (+)

Wind – Mild in the morning.

Gusty post Noon from North / NW direction.

Clouds – moderate in the morning.

Good around noon.

20th July –

3rd August

Moderate rains in the 1st half of the fortnight.

Rainfall direction from South / South east. (to be cross-checked with planetary chart for system in the BOB)

Moderate between 23rd to 25th July.

4 1st  Jan




Moon in Arudra (+)

Wind – Mild & cool

Clouds – Good from sunrise to 9-30 AM

Overcast from 10 AM to 2 PM

Clouds from east

3rd August –

17th August

Good rainfall in the 1st half of the fortnight.

Rainfall from west.

Good from 3rd to 8th August.

5 2nd  Jan


Wind – Mild & Cool.

Clouds – Overcast from sunrise till 9 AM

Good and intermittent till 1-30 PM

17th August-

30th August

Good rainfall in the beginning of fortnight.

Good on 17th 18th August.

Intermittent till 22nd August.

6 3rd  Jan


Wind – Mild

Clouds – Intermittent, moderate

30th August –

13th September

Cloudy & isolated rains for a few days in the 1st half of the fortnight.

Isolated rainfall  between 1st to 3rd September

7 4th Jan


Mars enters deep conjunction with Jupiter (-)

Venus enters deep conjunction with Sun (-)

Wind – Dry


Clouds – Nil



13th September-

27th September

Dry weather
8 5th Jan


Mars enters deep conjunction with Jupiter (-)

Venus enters deep conjunction with Sun (-)

Wind – Dry


Clouds – Nil


27th September –

10th October

Dry weather
9 6th Jan


Mars wins planetary war with Jupiter (-)

Venus trails behind the Sun within 1 degree (-)

Wind – Dry


Clouds – Nil


10th October-

24th October


Dry weather
10 7th Jan


Mars wins planetary war with Jupiter (-)

Venus trails behind the Sun within 1 degree (-)

Wind – Dry


Clouds – Nil


24th October-

6th November

Dry weather
11 8th Jan


Venus in deep conjunction with the Sun(-)

Wind – Mild

Clouds – Moderate at 11-30 AM

Good between 1-20 PM to 2-30 PM

Brief at 4-30 PM

At night – patchy clouds.

6th November-

19th November


Moderate rainfall in the 1st half of the fortnight.

Isolated rainfall in the 2nd half of the fortnight.

Moderate between 9th to 11th November.

12 9th Jan


Venus overtakes the Sun (+)

Wind – Mild & cool

Clouds – overcast throughout

Drizzles – Yes. In some parts of Chennai

19th November –

2nd December

Widespread rainfall throughout the period.



13 10th Jan



Ends at 7-08 AM

11th Jan


Moon in Swati (+)

Wind – Mild & cool

Clouds – Overcast throughout.

Drizzles – Yes, at 9-30- AM

Rained in many parts of Chennai

2nd December –

16th December

Less rainfall.

Isolated rainfall likely where it didn’t rain on Garbottam day.

A glimpse of the clouds on Day 2 (30th Dec, 2017)  

Sun peeping out through overcast clouds on Day 12 (9th Jan, 2018)

pic 1

The broad outline for Chennai can be seen from the above table.

  • Rain picks up from the last week of June and goes on intermittently till the beginning of September.
  • For 2 months starting from the 2nd week of September to the 1st week of November, dry weather is indicated. The clear sky on the days of Garbottam was associated with a spoiling feature, namely the planetary war between Mars and Jupiter.
  • Rainfall picks up from the 2nd week of November and increases till the end of November.
  • December is likely to see isolated rainfall as the Garbottam day saw rainfall in many parts of Chennai. Rainfall on Garbottam day spoils rainfall later.

Now let us compare this broad outlook (for Chennai) with the overall rainfall scenario shown by Mercury- Venus closeness.


The 2nd row fits well with the rainfall prospects shown in the Garbottam table.

Between 9th August and 21st September, dry weather is indicated by the increasing gap between Mercury and Venus. The Margazhi Garbottam table concurs with this dry phase.

Day 5 in the above table shows less Garbottam only. August will see less rainfall for Chennai too as per Margazhi Garbottam.

Rains pick up 10 days before the closeness begins between Mercury and Venus.

On the whole the Mercury- Venus closeness compares fairly well with Margazhi Garbottam for Chennai.

The daily Garbottam observation for Chennai would further fine-tune the dates given above. That will be posted in the beginning of every month starting from June. The scenario until then was already posted here.

What remains to be checked is the planetary combination throughout the period from June to December. It holds good for entire India. It will be posted next.



UPDATE on 21st June 2018.

Jason Nicholls’ tweet today confirms the prediction as above based on Solar Garbottam and Venus-Mercury closeness. Early end to SWM and good NEM for Tamilnadu / Chennai.

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