Nakshatra (Sanskrit: नक्षत्र, Nakṣatra) is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu astrology and Indian Astronomy. A nakshatra is one of 28 (sometimes also 27) sectors along the ecliptic. Their names are related to a prominent star or asterisms in or near the respective sectors.

The starting point for the nakshatras according to Vedas is “Krittika” (it has been argued because the Pleiades may have started the year at the time the Vedas were compiled, presumably at the vernal equinox), but, in more recent compilations, the start of the nakshatras list is the point on the ecliptic directly opposite to the star Spica called Chitrā in Sanskrit, which would be Ashvinī, an asterism that is part of the modern constellation Aries, and these compilations therefore may have been compiled during the centuries when the sun was passing through the area of the constellation Aries at the time of the vernal equinox. This version may have been called Meshādi or the “start of Aries”.

The first astronomical text that lists them is the Vedanga Jyotisha.

In classical Hindu scriptures (Mahabharata, Harivamsa), the creation of the nakshatras is attributed to Daksha. They are personified as daughters of Daksha and as wives of Chandra known as the Moon God (who reluctantly married the 26 other nakshatra’s on Daksha’s request even though he was only interested to marry Rohini), or alternatively the daughters of Kashyapa, the brother of Daksha