Tamil Measurements

Neettal alavai

kAdam – Distance of about 10 Miles

Osanai ==> 4 kAda dhOram
Kal ==> a mile (1609 meter)
muzham ==> As the measure from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger (2 sAn)
sAn – the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger
OttaisAn ==> the space from the point of the thumb to that of the forefinger when extended
sAtkOl ==> measuring rod of a length of a sAn
anguttam ==> measure of thumb
adi ==> 12 anguttam (inches)
kasAkiram ==> mayir nuniyalavu ( a linear measure equal to hair’s breadth)
AL (aal) ==> man as a standard height
sEn ==> height / length
kOpiduthOram (kOsu) ==> hailing distance (short distance)
uvai ==> yonder at a distance nor far off
sEtchi (sEi) – remoteness

Niraththal alavai

AzhAkku ==> 1/8 of a padi (grain measure)
sevidu – 1/5 of AzhAkku (consisting of 360 grains of paddy)
sEr ==> 5 AzhAkku ( roughly 320 grams)
veesai ==> 1400 grams approx
idA ==> mugaththal alavai / palm leaf bucket for irrigation
uZhakku ==> 1/4 of a padi (grain measure)
chinna padi ==> 1/2 padi
pakkA ==> 2 padi (2 liters approx.)
vatti ==> 1 padi
vallam ==> 2 or 4 padi
ettunai ==> size of a single sesame grain
kahsu ==> 1/4 palam
palam ==> 35 grams approx.
rAththal ==> 13 palam
kOttai ==> 21 marakkAl (grain measure)
kalam ==> 12 marakkAl (grain measure)
thooni ==> 8 marakkAl
parai ==> 6 marakkAl
kalarai ==> 11/2 kalam (grain measure)
kuruni ( marakkAl) (pirappu) (ambanam)==> 8 padi (grain measure)

Parappalavu

kundu ==> depth / a land measure = 1089 sq.ft.
kuzhi – a land measure = 144sq.ft.
mA ==> 100 kuzhi
vEli ==> 20 ma (6.67 Acres)

kAla alavu

karpam ==> a day of brahma comprising 4,320,000,000 years
pAthumakarpam ==> first portion of brahma’s life span
vuri ==> arai nAzhi (nAzhigai)
kannal (nAzhigai) ==> 24 minutes
kanam ==> nodipozhuthu, wink of the eye, shortest duration of time as measured by a snap with fingers.
padalam ==> duration of an action, process of an event or occurrence
pAdam ==> 1/4 of the duration of the influence of a nakshathra
yAmam ==> 3 hours (7 1/2 nAzhigai)
mandalam ==> period of 40 / 41 / 45 days
mAmAngam ==> period of 12 years

  • baiyappa Reddy Ranganathan

    very informative and illustrative. must read by every tamils