The Gupta period is known for its numerous liberal land grants issued by Gupta kings to various nobles and Brahmins. 

These land grants were given on the basis of measurements that were called as Kulyavapa and Dronavyapa

Kulyavapa dronavapa meaning

The Kulyavapa, Dronavapa, Adhavapa are the terms related to land measurements mainly mentioned in the copper plate incriptions of Gupta era that were found in Bengal. 

According to kullukabhatta a 15th century author

Kulya is as much of a land that can be cultivated by two ploughs. 

The word Kulya also means a winnowing basket and vapa the act of throwing or scattering. Therefore the word Kulya refers to the measure(weighing unit) of seeds and Kulyavapa means the area of the land that was required to plant the  seedlings of paddy seeds of one Kulya in weight. 

According to historian D.C.Sircar  

The land grants were made based on the measure of seeds that could be scattered and grown in a particular piece of land. These seed were weighed using following units:-

8 mushti (8 handfuls) = 1 Kunci

8 Kunci (64 handfuls) = 1 Puskala

4 Puskala (256 handfuls) = 1 adhaka

4 adhaka (1024 handfuls) = 1 drona

8 drona (8192 handfuls) = 1 Kulya

He further states that one Kulya of seeds needed a large area of land to be scattered and a Kulyavapa land must have been equal to around 160 bighas of land. 

Which means a Dronavapa must be 16-20 bighas and Adhvapa which appears to be the smallest must be around 4-5 bighas of land. 

Records mentioning Kulyavapa, Dronavapa and Adhavapa

The earliest record which mentions Kulyavapa as a unit of measurement of land is Kumargupta I, Dhanaidaha copper plate inscription which dates back to 432 AD. 

Dronavapa as measurement of land is mentioned in his Baigram copper plate inscription 448 A.D.

and Adhavapa is mentioned in Paharpur land grant copper plate inscription issued in 479 AD. 

Another inscription which gives the relation between a Kulyavapa and Dronavapa is Paharpur copper plate inscription according to which 1.5 Kulyavapa= 8 Dronavapa. 


Seed weighing units- Kulya, Drona, Adhaka,Puskala, Kunci and Mushti. 

Land measuring units- Kulyavapa, Dronavapa and Adhavapa. 


  1. Measurement in Ancient India by Saradha Srinivasan
  2. Indian Culture by Devdutt Ramakrishna Bhandarkar

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