How many elephants – Puram 130

Praise your patron make fun of his enemies, you have an elephant waiting as your gift. Those were the times, some king’s gifted elephant (something like a Rolls Royce of the day) to poets who impressed them.

புறநானூறு 130, பாடியவர்: உறையூர் ஏணிச்சேரி முடமோசியார், பாடப்பட்டோன்: ஆய் அண்டிரன், திணை: பாடாண், துறை: இயன் மொழி

விளங்குமணிக் கொடும்பூண் ஆஅய்! நின்னாட்டு
இளம்பிடி ஒருசூல் பத்து ஈனும்மோ?
நின்னும் நின் மலையும் பாடி வருநர்க்கு,
இன்முகம் கரவாது, உவந்து நீ அளித்த
அண்ணல் யானை எண்ணின், கொங்கர்க்
குடகடல் ஓட்டிய ஞான்றைத்
தலைப்பெயர்த் திட்ட வேலினும் பலவே!

Purananuru 130

Aay who adorns curved jewels, embedded with glittering gems!

Do the young pregnant elephants of your country give birth to ten calves?

The count of elephants you gave 

pleasingly with smiling face

without deceit

to those who came singing 

your mountain and your praise,

Is more than the count of weapons

left behind by the Kongu warriors,

whom you chased back to the western sea!

Poet: Uraiyūr Ēnichēri Mudamōsiyār

Translated by Palaniappan Vairam Sarathy

மின்னுகின்ற மணிகளை அணிகளாக அணிந்த ஆஅய்!
உன் நாட்டில் இளம் யானைகள் ஒரே கருப்பத்தில் பத்துக் கன்றுகள் ஈனும்மோ?
உன்னையும் உன் மலையும் பாடி வருபவர்க்கு
வஞ்சனையின்றி இனிய முகத்துடன் உவந்து நீ அளித்த
பெரிய யானைகள்
உன்னால் அன்று மேற்கு கடலுக்கு விரட்டி அடிக்கப்பட்டக்
கொங்கு வீரர்கள் விட்டுச் சென்ற வேலை விடப் பலவே!

Arabian sea is called as Kudakadal – Western Sea in Sangam Literature.

சூல் – Sool – Tamil word for pregnancy

Some elephant facts:

How long are elephants pregnant for?

How long an elephant is pregnant for depends a little on the species. African elephants are pregnant for up to 22 months, while Asian elephants are pregnant for 18-22 months. This is actually the longest gestation period of all mammals, which makes sense when we think about how big elephants are. A blue whale is only pregnant for 10-12 months, nearly half the length of an elephant pregnancy. Compare this to a hamster – those little guys are only pregnant for 16 days at a time!

How many babies can an elephant have at once?

Unlike other animals, elephants usually only have one baby at a time. However, there are cases where elephants can have twins, but this only happens in one per cent of elephant births. This is only slightly smaller compared to humans, where 1.6 per cent of births are twins. As you can imagine, carrying two huge babies can be very dangerous for the mother. However, we do see this happening, particularly with wild African elephants.

How big is a baby elephant when it’s born?

At birth, elephants can weigh up to 268 pounds and stand about 3ft tall. That’s about the same weight as a fully grown panda bear, reindeer or warthog. Asian elephants are a little skinnier at around 200 pounds, although they’re about the same height. For context, human children don’t get to 3ft tall until they’re 2-3 years old. Imagine the poor stork having to carry all that weight!

How many babies can an elephant have?

Elephants give birth around every four years, and given their pregnancies can last around two years, that is quite a lot! Although elephants can live for 60-70 years, they typically only have about four or five babies during their lives. Even so, that’s still a large chunk of their lifetime spent being pregnant.

Elephant Pregnancy Facts



University of Madras, Tamil Lexicon

Purananuru Urai by Avvai Natarajan

Four hundred songs for Was by George L Hart and Hank Heifetz

Learn Sangam Tamil


viḷaṅkumaṇik koṭumpūṇ āay! niṉṉāṭṭu
iḷampiṭi orucūl pattu īṉummō?
niṉṉum niṉ malaiyum pāṭi varunarkku,
iṉmukam karavātu, uvantu nī aḷitta
aṇṇal yāṉai eṇṇiṉ, koṅkark
kuṭakaṭal ōṭṭiya ñāṉṟait
talaippeyart tiṭṭa vēliṉum palavē!

விளங்கு மணிக் கொடும் பூண் ஆஅய்! நின்னாட்டு

shining/polishes/illustrious – saphire/gem- curved – jewel – Aay – your country

இளம் பிடி ஒரு சூல் பத்து ஈனும்மோ?

Young – female elephant – one – pregnancy – ten – yield?

நின்னும் நின் மலையும் பாடி வருநர்க்கு,

You and – your – mountain – singing – guest/seekers

இன்முகம் கரவாது, உவந்து நீ அளித்த

Smiling face – with false nature/deceit -pleasingly – you – gave 

அண்ணல் யானை எண்ணின், கொங்கர்க்  5

Great – elephants – numbers – Kongu people

குடகடல் ஓட்டிய ஞான்றைத்

western sea(குடக்கு கடல்) – chase – that time/day

தலைப்பெயர்த்திட்ட வேலினும் பலவே.

Recusing themself (leaving behind)  – lance – many


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