In the Presidency of Madras, India, 19th century, a unit of land area = 576 square feet. Also romanized as coozwy. chart symbol

Land was measured by a kole (or rod) = 24 feet. One square kole = 1 kuli. 100 kulis = 1 káni or cawney = 57,600 square feet. See káni for an alternative way of defining this unit (though with the same size).

Charles Stewart Crole.
The Chingleput, Late Madras, District. A Manual compiled under the orders of the Madras Government.
Madras: Printed at the Lawrence Asylum Press, Mount Road, by W. H. Moore, 1879.

Page 59.



Kuli which literally means a pit, is used as a unit for area measure in extreme south only. Kuli was measured by different types of koles (measuring sticks) namely Kaḍigaikuḷattukkol¹, māḷigaikol², nālucānkol (4 span)³, pannirucānkol (12 span), padinārucankol (16 span)⁴, etc. During the time of Nṛpatuṅgavarman in an inscription, it is stated that 27,000 kulis of land were divided among various people, each kuli measured by a padinārucankol (12 span rod). Therefore in the time of Nṛpatuṅgavarman, a kuli must have measured (12 × ¾)² = 81 sq. ft.

1. MAER, 172 of 1921. [MAER = Madras Annual Epigraphical Reports. But this title is not used by libraries. Earlier issues are cataloged as India. Archaeological Dept. Southern Circle. Madras. Epigraphy, then as Annual report on epigraphy for the year ____, and later years as Annual Report on South-Indian epigraphy.]

2. ibid 99 of 1914.

3. ibid 7 of 1898.

4. EL, XX, p. 46. [I believe the "EL" is a printer's error for "EI", Epigraphica Indica.--ed.]

Saradha Srinivasan.
Mensuration in Ancient India.
Delhi: Ajanta Publications, 1979.
In the source, the "l" in "kuli" has a double dot beneath, a glyph not available in web fonts. Nṛpatuṅgavarman ruled at the end of the 9th century CE.


Kuli, written also, Kuzhi, Tam. (), Kuṛi, Mal[ayalam]. ( ) A measure of one square foot : it is also said to be a measure equal to 24 or 26 adis, or 22.8 feet, and is elsewhere considered the same as the gunta of 25,600 square feet : it is also said to be an extent of ground = 144 or 576 square feet; considerable variety thus prevailing in its valuation in different places: also, a pit, a hole in the ground, especially one in which a cocoa-nut tree is planted; whence, in Malayalam, it seems to imply planting trees.

H. H. Wilson, 1855, page 301.

home | units index | search |  contact drawing of envelope |  contributors | 
help | privacy | terms of use