For beginners or those who have only a little knowledge of Astrology, I would suggest reading my book “A Practical Guide to Hindu Astrology,” available online here. The price is $15 (if you live in the USA) or $20 (if you live elsewhere). These prices include postage and handling. You can also get an e-mail delivery of the book by sending $10 only.
Please note: I am updating my book “A Practical Guide to Hindu Astrology” to use Tropical Signs instead of Sidereal. It can take a time of about one month to upload on Kindle. I will inform here as soon as it is ready.
However, there are many other sources of information about astrology available free on the internet. After learning the basics of astrology from my book, I would recommend interested persons to read the book “Light on Life” by Hart de Fouw and Robert Svoboda for more detailed knowledge of Hindu astrology. One needs to learn the techniques of Tajik Neelkanthi also to analyze the monthly solar return charts.
Software: For years, I used Jyotish Tools because it was easy and cheap. You can also get 30 -day trial version of this software if you go online and download it. This astrology software also comments about another kind of astrology system. Just ignore it because it is not useful for our purpose. However, I also use Haydn’s Jyotish for determining Shadbala, i.e., the strength of the planets, which Jyotish Tools do not calculate. Haydn’s Jyotish (https://www.hjyotish.com) is also an excellent source for the longitudes and latitudes of thousands of cities worldwide.
Another program, “Sri Jyoti Star” v6, is very accurate in its calculations and very good at displaying the data that we need for our purposes on one sheet. This program is a bit expensive, but it is worth the price. Here also the demo version is available for 30 days.
Recently I started using the software “Kala” (pronounced as Kaal, which means time in Hindi) written by Ernst Willhelm and his wife, Srishti. This is one software that allows me to work in any branch of astrology, such as Jaataka, Muhurtha, Varshaphala, Jaimini, Prashna, Ashatakvarga, Sankrantis, etc., etc. Since I use Solar return charts (varshaphala), this software calculates varsh-pati and maas-pati, which is ideal for me. Lately, I started using the Tropical zodiac for signs and the Sidereal zodiac for Vimshottri dashas. This software allows me this kind of flexibility. This was the main reason I discontinued Jyotish Tools. It also has a built-in atlas and daylight-saving information. “Kala” may be a bit expensive for the beginner of astrology, but it is worth ten times its price for a practitioner.
A free software, “Jagannath Hora,” written by PVR Narasimha Rao, is equally good and allows all kinds of flexibilities. However, it cannot calculate varsha-pati and maas-pati for the varshaphala charts.