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A Yojana (Sanskrit : योजन ) is a Vedic measure of distance that was used in ancient India. It is equivalent to about 1.6 km (1 mi) as per modern measures of distance, although the exact value is disputed among scholars (between 2 and 5 km (1 and 3 mi)).

In modern Hindi the word yojanaa (Hindi : योजना) means "plan" or blueprint, and is etymologically connected with the Cartesian notion of distance in the word yojana. However, note that the words "yojana'" and "yojanaa" are different, and pronounced differently. The last sound of the second word is pronounced "aaa" as in arm [ārm].

Variations on length[edit]

The length of the yojana varies depending on the different standards adopted by different Indian astronomers. In the Surya Siddhanta of the 5th century, for example, a yojana was equivalent to 8.0 km (5 mi),[1] and the same was true for Aryabhata's Aryabhatteeya (499).[2] However, 14th century scholar Paramesvara defined the yojana to be about 1.5 times larger, equivalent to about 13 km (8 mi).[1] A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gives the equivalent length of a yojana as 1.6 km (1 mi)[3] throughout his translations of the Bhagavata Purana. Some other traditional Indian scholars give measurements between 3 km and 6 km (4–5 miles) or thereabouts.[citation needed] Alexander Cunningham, in The Ancient Geography of India, takes a yojana to mean 4.8 km (3 mi).

The Thai equivalent โยชน์ (pronounced "yot") gives the distance as 3km. The word is also used to describe a large distance, the same way an English speaker would say something is "miles" away.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Richard Thompson (1997), "Planetary Diameters in the Surya-Siddhanta", Journal of Scientific Exploration 11 (2): 193–200 [196] 
  2. ^ O'Connor, John J.; Robertson, Edmund F., "Aryabhata I", MacTutor History of Mathematics archive, University of St Andrews .
  3. ^ Srimad Bhagavatam 10.57.18 (translation) "one yojana measures about eight miles"
  4. ^ th:โยชน์

Further reading[edit]

  • one Bengal mile=one coss= 2000 yards=1.8288 kilometres