Both horoscope types divide the 12 houses of the horoscope into twelve areas or segments as shown in the figures below. Let us take the example of a native born on May 30, 1970 at 14:20 hrs in
The picture above is the north Indian type of chart which is like diamonds within the square. Now how do you read the north Indian horoscope? In the subject example; the lagna (called the ascendant, the rising sign or the sign rising on the eastern horizon) when you were born is the diamond marked number ‘6’ (middle top). The lagna in north Indian chart type is always in the same position where you see the number ‘6’ in the above picture. The rising sign was Virgo which is the 6th sign of the natural zodiac. The first thing to do is to memorize the order of the natural zodiac. This is very important in Vedic astrology. The natural order of the zodiac; which you must be aware of is Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, & Pisces. Note that Virgo is the 6th sign in the natural order. Since Virgo was the sign that was the rising sign (or ascendant) it is numbered ‘6’ in the top diamond space. This Virgo; numbered ‘6’ is the first house of this native. In the north Indian type the houses are always fixed. The first house is always in the same position as shown in this example. The next house is the 2nd house and is numbered ‘7’ meaning it is Libra (7th in the natural order of the zodiac), the next ‘8’ is Scorpio and the next numbered one ‘9’ is Sagittarius and so on. The counting is done anti-clockwise starting from the ascendant or the first house; which is Virgo here. Remember that the signs superimposed on the houses will change and not remain the same depending on birth date and time.
Can you read in which signs and which houses each of the 9 grahas or planets are? If you have understood the above then you will be able to tell.
The Sun is in the 9th house in Taurus
The Moon is in the 7th house in Pisces
Mars is in the 10th house in Gemini
Rahu is in 6th house in Aquarius
Jupiter is in the 2nd house in Libra
Saturn is in the 8th house in Aries
Mercury is in 8th house in Aries
Ketu is in the 12t house in Leo
Venus is in 10th house in Gemini
Picture 2 above is the South Indian Chart for the same north Indian horoscope. In this type of chart the signs are always represented by the same squares. There are squares within the big square and not diamond shaped boxes. All the 12 signs take fixed places and do not change. Once you memorize them there is no need to identify the squares with the symbols. The ascendant in this type of a chart can fall in any of the 12 boxes and is represented by ‘As’ or ‘Lg’ or just a diagonal line. The counting of the houses is done in the clockwise direction which is also the directions of the signs in their natural order. The first house would of course be the house where the ‘Lg’ or ‘As’ or the diagonal line is marked.
Compare both types and see which one you like. I prefer the north Indian chart type since it gives a more realistic view of the representation of planets. It also makes it easy to identify aspects. The houses exactly opposite to each other show the 7th house aspects which is always a full aspect and never to be missed in chart interpretation. Secondly the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th houses of the horoscope get prominence. These four houses are the quadrants or the angular houses and are often termed the foundation houses of a horoscope. These are four sided and bigger houses of the chart signifying the importance of these houses. In the example of the north type chart above; the houses 6, 9, 12 & 3 become the angular houses.