COSS to COSSID
COSS, s. The most usual popular measure of distance in India, but like the mile in Europe, and indeed
like the mile within the British Islands up to a recent date, varying much in different localities.
word is krosa, which also is a measure of distance, but originally signified a call, hence the distance
at which a mans call can be heard.1
In the Pali vocabulary called Abhidhanappadipika, which is of the
12th century, the word appears in the form koss; and nearly this, kos, is the ordinary Hindi. Kuroh is
a Persian form of the word, which is often found in Mahommedan authors and in early travellers. These
latter (English) often write course. It is a notable circumstance that, according to Wrangell, the Yakuts
of N. Siberia reckon distance by kiosses (a word which, considering the Russian way of writing Turkish
and Persian words, must be identical with kos). With them this measure is indicated by the time necessary
to cook a piece of meat. Kioss is=to about 5 versts, or 1 2/3 miles, in hilly or marshy country, but
on plain ground to 7 versts, or 2 1/3 miles.2 The Yakuts are a Turk people, and their language is a
Turki dialect. The suggestion arises whether the form kos may not have come with the Mongols into
India, and modified the previous krosa? But this is met by the existence of the word kos in Pali, as
In ancient Indian measurement, or estimation, 4 krosas went to the yojana. Sir H.
M. Elliot deduced from distances in the route of the Chinese pilgrim Fa-hian that the yojana of his age
was as nearly as possible 7 miles. Cunningham makes it 7½ or 8, Fergusson 6; but taking Elliots estimate
as a mean, the ancient kos would be 1m miles.
The kos as laid down in the Ain [ed. Jarrett, iii. 414]
was of 5000 gaz [see GUDGE]. The official decision of the British Government has assigned the length
of Akbars Ilahi gaz as 33 inches, and this would make Akbars kos = 2 m. 4 f. 183 1/3 yards. Actual
measurement of road distances between 5 pair of Akbars kos-minars,3 near Delhi, gave a mean of 2
m. 4 f. 158 yards.
In the greater part of the Bengal Presidency the estimated kos is about 2 miles, but it
is much less as you approach the N.W. In the upper part of the Doab, it is, with fair accuracy, 1¼ miles.
In Bundelkhand again it is nearly 3 m. (Carnegy), or, according to Beames, even 4 m. [In Madras it
is 2¼ m., and in Mysore the Sultani kos is about 4 m.] Reference may be made on this subject to Mr.
Thomass ed. of Prinseps Essays, ii. 129; and to Mr. Beamess ed. of Elliots Glossary (The Races
of the N.-W. Provinces, ii. 194). The latter editor remarks that in several parts of the country there are
two kinds of kos, a pakka and a kachcha kos, a double system which pervades all the weights and
measures of India; and which has prevailed also in many other parts of the world [see PUCKA].
c. 500.A gavyutih (or leaguesee GOW) is two krosas.Amarakosha, ii. 2, 18.
descendant of Kukulstha (i.e. Rama) having gone half a krosa.
Raghuvamsa, xiii. 79.
for the mile it is called among the Indians al-Kuruh.Ibn Batuta, iii. 95.
The Sultan gave orders
to assign me a certain number of villages.
They were at a distance of 16 Kuruhs from Dihli.Ibn
c. 1470.The Sultan sent ten viziers to encounter him at a distance of ten Kors (a kor is
equal to 10 versts).
Ath. Nikitin, 26, in India in the XVth Cent.
From Chivil to Jooneer it is 20 Kors;
from Jooneer to Beder 40; from Beder to Kulongher, 9 Kors; from Beder to Koluberg, 9.Ibid. p. 12.
directed Chikmâk Beg, by a writing under the royal hand and seal, to measure the distance from Agra
to Kâbul; that at every nine kos he should raise a minâr or turret, twelve gez in height, on the top of which
he was to construct a pavilion.
that the King of Portugal should hold for himself
and all his descendants, from this day forth for aye, the Port of the City of Mangualor (in Guzerat) with
all its privileges, revenues, and jurisdiction, with 2½ coucees round about.
Treaty in S. Botelho, Tombo,
c. 1550.Being all unmanned by their love of Raghoba, they had gone but two Kos by the close
of day, then scanning land and water they halted.Ramayana of Tulsi Das, by Growse, 1878, p. 119.
the rate of four coss (Coces) the league by the calculation of the Moors.Couto, Dec. XII., Bk.
I. cap. 4.]
1616.The three and twentieth arrived at Adsmeere, 219 Courses from Brampoore, 418
English miles, the Courses being longer than towards the Sea.Sir T. Roe, in Purchas, i. 541; [Hak.
Soc. i. 105].
The length of these forenamed Provinces is North-West to South-East, at the least 1000
Courses, every Indian Course being two English miles.Terry, in Purchas, ii. 1468.
distance by road to the said city they called seven cos, or coru, which is all one; and every cos or
coru is half a ferseng or league of Persia, so that it will answer to a little less than two Italian [English]
miles.P. della Valle, ii. 504; [Hak. Soc.i. 23].
which two Coss are equivalent to a Dutch mile.Van
Twist, Gen. Beschrijv. 2.
une cosse qui est la mesure des Indes pour lespace des lieux,
est environ dune demi-lieue.Thevenot, v. 12.