Nepal
units of capacity

A warning

Nepalese units of capacity are a difficult subject. On the Indian subcontinent weight was commonly used in trading materials, such as cooking oil, for which Europeans used capacity. Whether this practice extended to Nepal is unclear. For example, consider two sources from the last half of the 20th century. A very useful glossary prepared by researchers who interviewed residents of Sidhulpalchok, Nepal, includes:

mana weight measurement; one mana is 10 handfuls, approx 400 grams

muri weight measurement for cereals contained in a sack approx 4 feet tall and 1 foot in diameter; approx 64 kg (one muri is equivalent to 20 pathis

pathi weight measurement, approx 3.2 kg (one pathi is equivalent to 8 manas); can also refer to the brass or copper vessel which contains a pathi of grain

 http:mountainvoices.org/n_glossary.html. Accessed 9 February 2014.
“10 handfuls”, capacity; “400 grams”, mass.

Circa 1955 the government of Nepal reported to the United Nations that the pathi was 1 imperial gallon (4.54609 liters), and in the Standard Weights and Measures Act, 1968, “1 pathi = 4.54596 liters.”

The writings of late 18th – early 19th century European travelers are not to be entirely trusted in this matter, because they tended to think the trading they observed was taking place in the manner customary in Europe. In India they often described units that were really units of mass as units of capacity. In Nepal the tukni, for example, has also been described as a unit of mass.

Units of dry capacity

         

muri

       

pāthi

20

     

kuruwa

4

80

   

mana

2

8

160

 

muthi

10

20

80

160

*

57

568

1.137

4.54609

90.922

55
mL

545
mL

1.09
L

4.361
L

87.215
L

* If 1 pathi = 1 imperial gallon. (Readers accustomed to the U.S. gallon should recall that the imperial gallon is both a liquid and dry measure.) Under “Dry Measure”, Wright (1877) reports the pathi “= 8 pounds avoirdupois”. Does he mean this pathi is a unit of mass, or is this a definition of volume based on the mass of some commodity, and if so, what? If water, it would only be about 80% of an imperial gallon.

Units of liquid capacity

pāthi

kuruwā

4

tukni

4

16

ādh tukni (aadhatuki?)

2

8

32

chauthāi

2

4

16

64

diyas

4

8

16

64

256

17.76
mL

71.03
mL

142.06
mL

284.1
mL

1.14
L

4.546
L

Besides some uncertainty in the size of the paathi, the values for the conversion factors and the values for the units, as given in various sources, and even within a single source, conflict.

Nagendra Sharma.
Nepal A to Z.
Kathmandu: Sahayogi Press, 1978.

Page 215.

Daniel Wright, editor.
History of Nepāl (the Vaṃọāvalī according to the Buddhist recension), translated from the Parbatiyā by Munshī Shew Shunker Singh and Pandit Shrī Gunānand. With an introductory sketch of the country and people of Nepāl by the editor, D. Wright..
Cambridge (UK): the university press, 1877.
Several facsimile reprint editions, e.g. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 1990.
https://archive.org/details/HistoryOfNepal

Appendix IV, page 298.

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