# Tamil units of measurement

The Tamil units of measurement is a system of measurements that was traditionally used in ancient Tamil-speaking parts of South India.

These ancient measurement systems spanned systems of counting, distances, volumes, time, weight as well as tools used to do so. While modern India uses the metric system International System of Units (Tamil Nadu state included), some of these older day measurement systems, especially those of counting, are still used today.

Other units that have persisted are those of area – the 'ma' (not to be confused with the dollar-cent) and the ‘ground’, both used to measure land and the ‘molam’ which has been relegated to measuring the length of a sandanam garland sold on streets.

There are several similarities between the measurement system used in Tamil Nadu and that used by the Indus Valley civilisation. Recent excavation studies from Keezhadi reveal existence of an older non-vedic civilisation in Tamil Nadu.[1] New discovery suggest possibilities of source of ancient Indian mathematicians in Tamil Nadu.[2][clarification needed]

## Units of time in ancient Tamil history

• 10 குழிகள் (kuzḻigaḷ) = 1 மிய் (miy) = 66.6666 millisecond-the time taken by the young human eyes to flap once.
• 2 கண்ணிமைகள் (kaṇṇimaigaḷ) = 1 கைநொடி (kainoḍi) = 0.125 second
• 2 கைநொடி (kainoḍi) = 1 மாத்திரை (māttirai) = 0.25 second
• 6 மிய்கள் (miygaḷ) = 1 சிற்றுழி (நொடி) (ciṟṟuḻi (noḍi)) = 0.40 second-the time taken for a bubble (created by blowing air through a bamboo tube into a vessel 1 சாண் (cāṇ) high, full of water) to travel a distance of one சாண் (cāṇ).
• 2 மாத்திரைகள் (māttiraigaḷ) = 1 குறு (kuṟu) = 0.50 second
• 2 நொடிகள் (noḍigaḷ) = 1 வினாடி (viṉāḍi) = 0.80 second-the time for the adult human heart to beat once
• 212 நொடிகள் (noḍigaḷ) = 2 குறு (kuṟu) = 1 உயிர் (uyir) = 1 second
• 5 நொடிகள் (noḍigaḷ) = 2 உயிர் (uyir) = 1 சாணிகம் (cāṇigam) = 1/2 அணு (aṇu) = 2 seconds
• 10 நொடிகள் (noḍigaḷ) = 1 அணு (aṇu) = 4 seconds
• 6 அணுக்கள் (aṇukkaḷ) = 12 சாணிகம் (cāṇigam) = 1 துளி (tuḷi) = 1 நாழிகை வினாடி (nāḻigai-viṉāḍi) = 24 seconds
• 10 துளிகள் (tuḷigaḷ) = 1 கணம் (kaṇam) = 4 minutes
• 6 காணன்கள் (kaṇangaḷ) = 1 நாழிகை (nāḻigai) = 24 minutes
• 10 நாழிகைகள் (nāḻigaikaḷ) = 4 சாமம் (cāmam) = 1 சிறுபொழுது (ciṟupoḻutu) = 240 minutes = 4 hours
• 6 சிறுபொழுதுகள் (ciṟu-poḻutugaḷ) = 1 நாள் (nāḷ) = 1 day = 24 hours
• 7 நாட்கள் (nāṭkaḷ) = 1 வாரம் (vāram) = 1 week
• 15 நாட்கள் (nāṭkaḷ) = 1 அழுவம் (aḻuvaluvamam) = 1 fortnight
• 2912 நாட்கள் (nāṭkaḷ) = 1 திங்கள் (tingaḷ) = 1 lunar month
• 2 திங்கள் (tingaḷ) = 1 பெரும்பொழுது (perum-poḻutu) = 1 season
• 6 பெரும்பொழுது (perum-poḻutu) = 1 ஆண்டு (āṇdu) = 1 year
• 64 ஆண்டுகள் (āṇdukaḷ) = 1 வட்டம் (vaṭṭam) = 1 cycle
• 4096 ஆண்டுகள் (āṇdukaḷ) = 1 ஊழி ōḻi = 1 epoch

## Area Measurement

• 1 மரக்கால் விதைப்பது (marakkaḷ vitaippatu, seeds required for planting rice) = 8 cents
• 1212 மரக்கால் விதைப்பது (marakkaḷ vitaippatu) = 100 cents
• 1 குறுணி (kuṟuṇi) = 8 cents
• 1 பதக்கு (patakku) = 16 cents
• 1 முக்குறுணி (mukkuṟuṇi) = 24 cents
• 1 sq கஜம் (kajam) = 5242 cents
• 1 வீசம் (vīsam) = 36 sq ft
• 303 குழி (kuzhi) = 100 cents
• 1 குழி (kuzhi) = 144 சதுர அடி (144 sq ft = 12 ft x 12 ft)
• 1 மா (mā) = 100 குழி (kuzhi)
• 1 காணி (kāṇi) = 4 மா (mā)
• 1 வேலி (vēļi) = 5 காணி (kāṇi)

In Jaffna, Sri Lanka For House property

• 1 Parappu = 1 Lacham = 10 Perches
• 16 Parappu = 1 Acre

Varaku Culture (V.C.)

• 18 kulies = 1 lacham
• 16 lachams = 1 acre

• 12 kulies = 1 lacham
• 24 lachams = 1 acre

#### Balance weights

##### Thanga edaihal
• 4 nel eḍai (நல் எடை) = 1 kuṉṟimaṇi (குன்றிமணி)
• 2 kuṉṟimaṇi (குன்றிமணி) = 1 māñcāḍi (மஞ்சாடி)
• 1 māñcāḍi (மஞ்சாடி) = 1 paṇaveḍai (பணவெடை)
• 5 paṇaveḍai (பணவெடை) = 1 kaḻañcu (கழஞ்சு)
• 8 paṇaveḍai (பணவெடை) = 1 varāgaṉeḍai (வராகனெடை)
• 20 paṇaveḍai (பணவெடை) = 4 kaḻañcu (கழஞ்சு) = 1 kaqhsu (கஃசு)
• 80 paṇaveḍai (பணவெடை)= 16 kaḻañcu (கழஞ்சு)= 4 kaqhsu (கஃசு)= 1 palam (பலம்)
• 1.5 Kaḻañcu (கழஞ்சு) = 8 grams or one sovereign/pavun.

The above is not in line with South Indian Inscriptions. 2 kuṉṟima குன்றிமணி = 1 māñcāḍi மஞ்சாடி 20 māñcāḍi மஞ்சாடி = 1 kaḻañcu கழஞ்சு Ceylon Currency and Coins by H W Codrington page 10 too agrees with 20 māñcāḍi = 1 kaḻañcu.

##### Porutkal yedaihal
• 32 kuṉṟimaṇi = 1 varāgaṉeḍai
• 10 varāgaṉeḍai = 1 palam
• 40 palam = 1 veesai
• 1000 palam = 1 kā
• 6 veesai = 1 tulām
• 8 veesai = 1 maṇangu
• 20 maṇangu = 1 pāram.

#### Grain volume

• 1 kuṇam = smallest unit of volume
• 9 kuṇam = 1 mummi
• 11 mummi = 1 aṇu
• 7 aṇu = 1 immi
• 7 immi = 1 uminel
• 1 sittigai = 7 uminel
• 360 nel = 1 sevidu
• 5 sevidu = 1 āḻākku
• 2 āḻākku = 1 uḻakku
• 2 uḻakku = 1 uri
• 2 uri = 1 [email protected]
• 8 padi = 1 marakkaal (kuṟuṇi)
• 2 marakkāl (kuṟuṇi) = 1 padakku
• 2 padakku = 1 tōṇi
• 3 tōṇi = 1 kalam (= 96 padi)
• 5 marakkāl = 1 paṟai
• 80 paṟai = 1 karisai
• 96 padi = 1 pothi (mōdai)
• 21 marakkal = 1 Kottai
• 22 mākāni = 100 g

1 padi = 1800 avarai pods = 12,800 miḷagu seeds = 14,400 nel grains = 14,800 payaṟu grains = 38,000 arisi grains = 115,200 sesame ellu seeds

#### Fluid volume

• 5 sevidu = 1 āḻākku
• 2 mahani = 1 āḻākku (arai kal padi)
• 2 āḻākku = 1 uḻakku (Kal padi)
• 2 uḻakku = 1 uri (Arai padi)
• 2 uri = 1 padi
• 2 marakkāl (kuṟuṇi) = 1 padakku
• 2 padakku = 1 tōṇi
• 21 Marakkal = 1 Kottai

#### Length

• 1 Koan = (115.8953125 picometre)
• 10 Koan = 1 Nunnanu (0.1158953125 nanometre)
• 10 Nunnanu = 1 Aṇu (atom) (1.158953125 nanometre)
• 8 Aṇu = 1 Kadirtugal (9.271625 nanometre)
• 8 Kadirtugal = 1 Tusumbu (74.173 nanometre)
• 8 Tusumbu = 1 Mayirnuni (0.593384 micrometre)
• 8 Mayirnuni = 1 Nunnmanal (4.74707 micrometre)
• 8 Nunnmanal = 1 Siru-kadugu (37.976563 micrometre)
• 8 Siru-kadugu = 1 Yel (303.8125 micrometre or 0.3038125 millimetre)
• 8 Yel = 1 Nel (2.4305 millimetre)
• 8 nel = 1 viral = 8^8 aṇu (atom) = 1.9444 centimetre
• 12 viral = 1 sāṇ = 100 immi= 23.3333 centimetre = 9 inch
• 2 sāṇ = 1 muḻam = 46.6666 centimetre = 1.5 feet
• 2 sāṇ = 1 muḻam
• 2 muḻam = 1 yard = 3 feet = 1 yard
• 2 yard(yaar) = 1 pāgam
• 110 pāgam = 1 furlong
• 8 furlong = 1 mile
• 5 furlong = 1 kilometre or 1000 metre
• 625 pāgam = 1 kādam = 5000 sāṇ = 1166.66 metres = 1.167 kilometre

## Likeness (Sārttal)

Likeness has attributes of tone, sound, colour and shape for comparison of a given substance with a known standard.

## Whole numbers

The following are the traditional numbers of the Ancient Tamil Country, Tamizhakam.

 Rank Words Character Reading 101 102 103 104 105 106 109 1012 1015 1018 1020 1021 பத்து நூறு ஆயிரம் பத்தாயிரம் நூறாயிரம் மெய்யிரம் தொள்ளுண் ஈகியம் நெளை இளஞ்சி வெள்ளம் ஆம்பல் ௰ ௱ ௲ ௰௲ ௱௲ ௲௲ ௲௲௲ ௲௲௲௲ ௲௲௲௲௲ ௲௲௲௲௲௲ ௱௲௲௲௲௲௲ ௲௲௲௲௲௲௲ pathu nūru āyiram pattāyiram nūraiyiram meiyyiram tollun īkiyam neļai iļañci veļļam āmpal

Tamil texts also elaborate the following sanskritized version :

• 1 ONDRU = One = 10 0
• 10 = PATU = Ten = 10 1
• 100 = NŌRU = Hundred = 10 2
• 1,000 = ĀYIRAM = One Thousand = 10 3
• 10,000 = PATĀYIRAM = Ten Thousand = 10 4
• 1,00,000 = LATCHAM = Hundred Thousand = 10 5
• 10,00,000 = PATHU LATCHAM = One Million = 10 6
• 1,00,00,000 = KODI = Ten Million = 10 7
• 10,00,00,000 = PATHU KODI = Hundred Million = 10 8
• 1,00,00,00,000 = ARPUTAM = One Billion = 10 9
• 10,00,00,00,000 = PATU ARPUTAM = Ten Billion = 10 10
• 1,00,00,00,00,000 = NIGARPUTAM = Hundred Billion = 10 11
• 10,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU NIGARPUTAM = One Trillion = 10 12
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,000 = KUMBAM = Ten Trillion = 10 13
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU KUMBAM = Hundred Trillion = 10 14
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = GANAM = One Quadrillion = 10 15
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATHU GANAM = Ten Quadrillion = 10 16
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = KARPAM = Hundred Quadrillion = 10 17
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU KARPAM = One Quintillion = 10 18
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = NIKARPAM = Ten Quintillion = 10 19
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU NIKARPAM = Hundred Quintillion = 10 20
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATUMAM = One Sextillion = 10 21
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU PATUMAM = Ten Sextillion = 10 22
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = SANGGAM = Hundred Sextillion = 10 23
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU SANGGAM = One Septillion = 10 24
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = VELLAM = Ten Septillion = 10 25
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU VELLAM = Hundred Septillion = 10 26
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = ANNIYAM = One Octillion = 10 27
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU ANNIYAM = Ten Octillion = 10 28
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = ARTTAM = Hundred Octillion = 10 29
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATHU ARTTAM = One Nonillion = 10 30
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PARARTTAM = Ten Nonillion = 10 31
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU PARARTTAM = Hundred Nonillion = 10 32
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PŌRIYAM = One Decillion = 10 33
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU PŌRIYAM = Ten Decillion = 10 34
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = MUKKODI = Hundred Decillion = 10 35
• 10,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = PATU MUKKODI = One Undecillion = 10 36
• 1,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,00,000 = MAHAYUGAM = Ten Undecillion = 10 37

Malaysian text elaborates the following version

• 1 ONDRU = One = 10 0
• 10 = PATU = Ten = 10 1
• 100 = NŌRU = Hundred = 10 2
• 1,000 = ĀYIRAM = One Thousand = 10 3
• 10,000 = PATĀYIRAM = Ten Thousand = 10 4
• 100,000 = LATCHAM = Hundred Thousand = 10 5
• 1,000,000 = PATU LATCHAM = One Million = 10 6
• 10,000,000 = KODI = Ten Million = 10 7
• 100,000,000 = PATU KODI = Hundred Million = 10 8
• 1,000,000,000 = NŌRU KODI = One Billion = 10 9

## Fractions

• 1 – ஒன்று – onRu
• 3/4 = 0.75 – முக்கால் – mukkāl
• 1/2= 0.5 – அரை – arai
• 1/4 = 0.25 – கால் – kāl
• 1/5 = 0.2 – நாலுமா – nālumā
• 3/16 = 0.1875 – மும்மாகாணி –mummākāṇi this is called as Mukkhani
• 3/20 = 0.15 – மும்மா – mummaa
• 1/8 = 0.125 – அரைக்கால் – araikkāl
• 1/10 = 0.1 – இருமா – irumā
• 1/16 = 0.0625 – மாகாணி (வீசம்) – mākāṇi (vīsam)
• 1/20 = 0.05 – ஒருமா – orumā
• 3/64 = 0.046875 – முக்கால்வீசம் – mukkāl vīsam
• 3/80 = 0.0375 – முக்காணி – mukkāṇi
• 1/32 = 0.03125 – அரைவீசம் – araivīsam
• 1/40 = 0.025 – அரைமா – araimā
• 1/64 = 0.015625 – கால் வீசம் – kaal vīsam
• 1/80 = 0.0125 – காணி – kāṇi
• 3/320 = 0.009375 – அரைக்காணி முந்திரி – araikkāṇi muntiri
• 1/160 = 0.00625 – அரைக்காணி – araikkāṇi
• 1/320 = 0.003125 – முந்திரி – muntiri
• 3/1280 = 0.00234375 – கீழ் முக்கால் – kīḻ mukkal
• 1/640 = 0.0015625 – கீழரை – kīḻarai
• 1/1280 = 7.8125e-04 – கீழ் கால் – kīḻ kāl
• 1/1600 = 0.000625 – கீழ் நாலுமா – kīḻ nalumā
• 3/5120 ≈ 5.85938e-04 – கீழ் மூன்று வீசம் – kīḻ mūndru vīsam
• 3/6400 = 4.6875e-04 – கீழ் மும்மா – kīḻ mummā
• 1/2500 = 0.0004 – கீழ் அரைக்கால் – kīḻ araikkāl
• 1/3200 = 3.12500e-04 – கீழ் இருமா – kīḻ irumā
• 1/5120 ≈ 1.95313e-04 – கீழ் வீசம் – kīḻ vīsam
• 1/6400 = 1.56250e-04 – கீழொருமா – kīḻ orumā
• 1/102400 ≈ 9.76563e-06 – கீழ்முந்திரி – kīḻ muntiri
• 1/2150400 ≈ 4.65030e-07 – இம்மி – immi
• 1/23654400 ≈ 4.22754e-08 – மும்மி – mummi
• 1/165580800 ≈ 6.03935e-09 – அணு – aṇu
• 1/1490227200 ≈ 6.71039e-10 – குணம் – kuṇam
• 1/7451136000 ≈ 1.34208e-10 – பந்தம் – pantam
• 1/44706816000 ≈ 2.23680e-11 – பாகம் – pāgam
• 1/312947712000 ≈ 3.19542e-12 – விந்தம் – vintam
• 1/5320111104000 ≈ 1.87966e-13 – நாகவிந்தம் – nāgavintam
• 1/74481555456000 ≈ 1.34261e-14 – சிந்தை – sintai
• 1/1489631109120000 ≈ 6.71307e-16 – கதிர்முனை –katirmunai
• 1/59585244364800000 ≈ 1.67827e-17 – குரல்வளைப்படி –kuralvaḷaippiḍi
• 1/3575114661888000000 ≈ 2.79711e-19 -வெள்ளம் – veḷḷam
• 1/357511466188800000000 ≈ 2.79711e-21 – நுண்மணல் –nuṇmaṇal
• 1/2323824530227200000000 ≈ 4.30325e-22 – தேர்த்துகள் –tērttugaḷ

## Currency

• 1 pal (wooden discs/sea shellots) = (approximately) 0.9 grain
• 8 (or 10 base 8) paṟkaḷ = 1 senkāṇi (copper/bronze) = 7.2 grains(misinterpretted by Roman accounts as 10 base 10 paRkal = 9 grains)
• 1/4 senkāṇi = 1 kālkāṇi (copper) = 1.8 grains (misinterpretted by Roman accounts as 2.25 grains)
• 64 (or 100 base 8) paṟkaḷ = 1 KaaNap-pon aka. Kāsu panam(gold) = 57.6 grains
• 1 Roman dinarium was traded on par with 2 Kāṇappon plus 1 Senkāṇi(=124 grains).
• 18 Ana = 2.85 Rupee, 16 Ana = 1 Rupee, 1 Ana = 3 Tuṭu, 1/4 Ana = 3/4 (mukkal) tuṭu

## Divisions of a Day

சிறுபொழுது (Daily)
1. காலை (kālai): 6 am-10 am
2. நண்பகல் (naṇpagal): 10 am-2 pm
3. எற்பாடு (eṟpāḍu): 2 pm-6 pm
4. மாலை (mālai): 6 pm-10 pm
5. இடையாமம் (iḍaiyāmam): 10 pm-2 am
6. வைகறை (vaikaṟai): 2 am-6 am

## Divisions of the Year

பெரும்பொழுது (பெரும்பொழுது என்பது யாது எனில் பன்னிரு மாதங்களை ஆறாய்ப் பகுத்தது)

1. இளவேனில் (Iḷavēṉil): சித்திரை , வைகாசி
2. முதுவேனில் (Mutuvēṉil) :ஆனி , ஆடி
3. கார்காலம் (Kārkālam): ஆவணி, புரட்டாசி
4. குளிர்காலம் (Kuḷirkālam): ஐப்பசி ,கார்த்திகை
5. முன்பனிக் காலம்(Muṉpaṉik kālam): மார்கழி , தை
6. பின்பனிக் காலம் (Piṉpaṉik kālam): மாசி , பங்குனி