Gotras of Kashmiri Pandits



The Kashmiri Brahmins are divided into 199 exogamous sections (gotras) the members of which profess to be descended from the Rishi or inspired saint whose name the gotra bears. Among these sub-divisions social preeedence is governed by the spiritual greatness or the inferiority of the respective Rishis, Koul being considered the highest of all the sub-divisions. But, generally, social position is determined by the nature of occupation followed rather than by the gotra and those who have been employed in superior State service since two or three generations hold their heads high above, those who are engaged in trade or cultivation. Originally there existed only six gotras, viz., Dhattatreya, Bharadwaja, Paladeva, Aupamanyava, Maudgalya and Dhaumyayana. By intermarriage and intermixture with other Brahmins the number of gotras multiplied to 199. According to some authorities there were only three principal divisions viz., Bhat, Pandit and Razdan, from which are derived the distinctive appellations of Koul, Sopori Pandit and Raina. From these three families, as each took to a particular occupation or by adoption or intermarriage with other gotras, other gotras came into existence.

Besides gotra, each family has a kram or nick-name added to the original name by reason of the head of the farmily's or any of his ancestor's special calling or because of such peculiar circumstance which has occurred to him. For instance, a man, named Wasdev, had mulberry tree growing in his courtyard and, therefore, he was called Wasdev Tul (mulberry). He, in order to get rid of this nick-name, cut down the tree. But a mund (trunk) remained and people began to call him Wasdev Mund. He then removed the trunk of the tree but by its removal a khud (depression) was caused and henceforth people called him Wasdev Khud. He then filled up the depression and the ground became teng (a little elevated) and he began to be called Wasdev Teng. Thus exasperated, he left to do any further attempt to remove the cause of his nick-name and it continued to be Teng which is now attached to the names of his descendents.

The Kashmiri Brahmins perform their religious ceremonies and rites according to the Vedas of Laugakshi Rishi and the Nilamatpurana. They freely partake of fish and flesh. They intermarry, only avoiding gotras on both paternal and maternal sides. A list of gotras, together with the two chief divisions of Bhamamasis and malmasis and the nick-names of the families belonging to each gotra is at the end of this chapter.

Pocock says that there are traces of the settlements of Kashmiris in Greece and from this he infers that the Kashmiri Pandits were originally Greek or Persian settlers in the valley who were Brahmanised. It is by no means improbable that some Kashmiris went to Persia and Greece in the time of Darius Hystapse's invasion of the Punjab and Alexander's conquest of India (331 B.C.) and settled there. Hence there might be traces of Kashmiri settlement in those countries. It is possible that some people from Greece came and settled in Kashmir in ancient times. The tribe Mlecchas which existed here in the time of Ashoka is assumed to have been Greeks (see Rajatarangini I, footnote 10). These were driven out of the country by his son Jalauka. But Mlecchas were quite a distinct race from the Kashmiri Brahmins.

There is a tradition in Maharashtra that white men like Kashmiri Brahmins got drifted in a storm on the Malabar Coast and, being supposed to be dead, were, however, found alive when attempted to be cremated. Probably it was a large number of fugitives from Kashmir in the time when Hindus here were being forced to embrace Islam. They might have been quite exhausted and emaciated as if looking dead after their long and tedious journey. The terms of this tradition are, I believe, a grossly exaggerated form of expression.

During the Muhammadan rule some Brahmins were once given option to either submit to the sword or take food prepared by a Musalman. They naturally quivered at the prospect of death and unwillingly accepted the latter alternative, but, in their anguish to reduce pollution to its minimum. made the Musalman cook boil rice in a new lej or earthen pot and when ready they took it out from the lej with their own hands and reluctantly ate it. They afterwards expaciated for the forcible pollution by performing Prayashchitta but still the Biradari, who were as punctilious as ever, ostracised them, condemmning them for not having preferred death to losing their caste by pollution as thousands others had boldly done under such circumstances. Their descedents are called Lejibat because of their ancestors having eaten food cooked by a Muhammadan in a lej. A stigma also attaches to the members of the caste known as Wurud or Purib who are the illegitimate offspring or are of a mixed union in which one of the parents is brahrmin and the other a khatri. No Brahmin will take food touched by a Lejibat, Wurud or Purib. In the time of Zain-ul-abdin the Brahmins, who studied Persian and took to government service, were called Karkuns. With the advent of Sikh rule in 1819 A.D. some Karkuns began the study of Sanskrit literature again, and they were called Pandits. Karkuns do not, intermarry with Bachabats. Those who are versed in astrology and draw up calendars, cast horoscopes and profess to prophecy future events, are called Jotshis. The priests, who preside over Shiva worship, are called Gurins. The Panyechh are those who receive alms and other offerings connected with funeral obsequies. Their office is legarded as derogatory by the Bachabats as well as the Karkuns who, for this reason, look down on them and refuse to take food from their hands.

Gotras  Nick Names
Bhava Kapishthala 
Khoru, Zadu, Sibbu, Vantu, Chandra, Kalla, Khaibri, Lattu.
Bhava Kapishthal Aupamanyava 
Bhuta Vatsya Aupamanyava 
Bhuta Vatsya Lauaakshi
Dar Bharadwaja 
Bangi, Dar, Jawansher, Misri, Parikala, Qandahari Thalatsur, Tritsha, Tshut, Turki, Uthu, Vichari, Waguzari.
Dar Varshaganya 
Bakhshi, Kachru, Safaya, Shali
Dar Wasak Shandilya 
Deva Bharadwaja 
Jatu, Khurdi, Sabani, Yachh, Zaru, Kallu.
Deva Vardhatta Shalan Kaushika 
Deva Varshaganya Shandilya 
Datthtreya (Koul) 
Aima, Babu, Bamtsunt, Bamzai, Buju, Chowdhri, Dandar, Dangar, Drabi, Dout, Hak, Jalali, Jinsi, Jota, Kak, Keni, Kissu, Kothdar, Ladakhi, Mekhzin, Mandal, Moza, Muhtasib, Nagari, Padar, Pahalwan, Ratiz, Sahib, Shargha, Shoga, Singhari, Salman, Sultan, Tota, Ugra, Zamindar.
Kantha Dhaumyana Laugakshi Gautama 
Bandar, Breth, Hastiwal, Muhtasib, Kav, Razdan, Shah, Shair, Wangani, Wat, Zari.
Paldeva Vasagargya 
Pat, Kukru, Khoshu. Kav, Pir, Malla.
Pat Svamina Kaushika 
Amhardar, Bira, Braru, Chacha, Chaghat, Durani, Fotedar, Ganju, Jala, Kachru, Kalu, Khurdi, Kyani, Mam, Mattu, Misri, Pandit, Panzu, Salman, Shanglu Sulu, Teng, Tritshal, Unt, Vashnavi, Wufa, Wanchu, Waza, Zithu.
Pat Svamina Deva Ratra Parwara 
Pandit, Watal. 
Raj Kaushika 
Svamina Bharadvaja 
Bazari, Garyali, Jan, Khar, Miskin, Miyan, Munshi, Tikku.
Svamina Gautama 
Gagar, Tava, Padora, Parimu, Keni, Kak, Razdan, Fehrist, Tarivala.
Svamina Gautama Laugakshi 
Svamina Koshk Bharadwaja 
Bhatt, Kukru.
Svamina Maudgalya 
Lala, Kandar, Buni
Svamina Laugakshi 
Svamina Vasishtha Vatsya Laugakshi 
Svamina Was Atreya 
Shalan Kautsa Sharman Gusha Watsya Aupamanyava 
Tilwan Koul, Mukka.
Wasadeva Palagargya 
Gotras  Nick Names
Atri Bhargaya 
Artha Varshaganya Shandalya 
Bhava Atreya
Bhava Devalya
Bhava Kapishthala Kaushika 
Bhava Kapishthala Manana
Bhava Aupamanyava 
Bhuta Laugakshi Dhaumyayana Gautama
Bhuta Laugakshi Gautama
Bhuta Raja Laugakshi Dhaumyayana Gautama
Bhuta Aupamanyava Laugakshi
Bhuta Aupamanyava Shalan Kayana 
Bhuta Aupamanyava Vatsya Laugakshi 
Bhuta Was Aupamanyava Laugakshi 
Peshen, Thakur, Zalpari
Dar Bharadwaja Paladev Vasagargya
Dar Dev Shalan Kapi 
Dar Dev Shalana Kaushika 
Dar Dev Shalana Kuayana
Dar Kapisthala 
Lidi, Bhatt.
Dar Kapisthala Upamanuva 
Dar Shandalya 
Dar Sharman Kautsa
Dipat Saman Aupamanyava 
Dat Dat Shalan Kautsa 
Bhatt, Kasab, Khaumush, Malik
Datta Kaushika
Dat Sharman Kantha Kashyapa 
Dat Varshaganya 
Dat Was 
Deva Bharadwaja 
Bhatt, Gadar, Kallu
Deva Bharadwaja Kaushika 
Deva Gargya 
Deva Gautama 
Bhatt, Purbi
Deva Gautama Laugakshi 
Deva Kaushika 
Deva Kantha Kashyapa 
Deva Kucha Atreya 
Deva Kashyap Maudgalya Kashyap 
Deva Laugakshi 
Mantapuri, Pandit
Deva Parashara 
Thogan, Tulsi, Yachh, Kak
Deva Patsvamina Aupamanyava Kaushika
Deva Patsvamina Koshk 
Deva Rishi Kaushika
Deva Svamina Gautama Kaushika Maudgalya
Deva Sharmanya Kautsa
Deva Shandalya 
Bataphalu, Karawani
Dev Svamina Maudgalya 
Dev Chahanda Shandalya
Dev Aupamanyava 
Kalu, Khashu, Meva, Pandit
Dev Vasishta Bharadwaja
Dev Wasishta 
Shopuri, Hukku
Dev Vishamitra Varshaganya 
Kem, Vangar
Dev Wasishta 
Ishwar Shandalya Kusha 
Nakhasi, Raval
Kautsa Atreya 
Kaushika Bhardwaja 
Bhatt, Nagari
Kanth Kasahap 
Bhatt, Dassu, Razdan, Tangan
Karchanda Shandale 
Chandru, Kar
Kara Shandalya 
Kash Aupamanyava 
Mitra Atreya
Mitra Kaushika
Mitra Kashyapa 
Mitra Shandalya 
Mitra Svamina Kaushika Atreya 
Nanda Kaushika Bharadwaja 
Nanda Kotsa
Nanda Koshk 
(Deva) Parashara 
Paladeva Vasgargya 
Bangru, Bakaya, Kadalabuju, Khashu, Kichlu, Kokru, Mala, Mam, Mirakhur, Misri, Munga, Pir, Put, Sopuri-Pandit
Raj Dat Atreya Shalan Kautsa 
Raj Bhut Logaskhi Deval 
Ratra Bhargava 
Zitshoo, Chacha
Raj Dhattatreya 
Ratna Kucha
Raj Kaushika 
Rishi Kaushika 
Raj Kautsa
Rishi Kavigargya 
Ratna Maudgalya
Rama Ratra Vishwamitra Agastya
Rama Ratra Vishwamitra Vasishta
Raj Shandalya 
Raj Soma Shandale
Ratra Varshaganya 
Raj Vasisht 
Ratra Vishwamitra Agastya Aupamanyava
Ratra Vishwamitra Vasishta 
Ratra Vishwamitra Agastya 
Sharman Atreya 
Sharman Bharadwaja 
Shandalya Bharadwaja 
Sharman Kautsa 
Bhatt, Mogal, Sav, Thela
Sharman Kanth Kashyapa
Shalan Kayana Atreya
Sharman Kaushika
Sharman Shandalya
Shila Shandalya
Soma Gargya
Soma Shandalya
Soma Vatsa Gargya
Svamina Atreya 
Chaka, Handu, Gadwali, Kala, Shal, Sikh
Svamina Bhargava 
Bali, Battiv
Svamina Bharadwaja 
Khar, Kutsru
Svamina Bharadwaja Vatsa Atreya
Svamina Bharadwaja Kaushika Vatsa
Svamina Bharadwaja Vas Atre 
Svamina Bharadwaja Kaushika
Svamina Bharadwaja Shandalya
Svamina Bharadwaja Kaushika
Svamina Bharadwaja Dhuni, Kashypa, Gautama, Laugakshi Divali
Svamina Deva Gargya
Svamina Gargya 
Svamina Gautama 
Bazaz, Badam, Charangu, Chillum, Gurut, Kak, Khosa, Kakapuri, Labru Langer, Manwotu, Naqib, Padora, Piala, Qazi, Razdan, Thalatsur, Thapal, Zari
Svamina Gautama Atreya Shalan Kucha 
Svamina Gan Kaushika 
Svamina Gotam Bharadwaja 
Kemdal, Karihalu
Svamina Gotam Laugakshi 
Choku, Chhotu, Turi
Svamina Gotam Shandalya 
Labru, Razdan
Svamina Gotam Kaushika
Svamina Gotam Shalan Kucha Atreya 
Svamina Gotam Gosh Vas Aupamanyava 
Svamina Gotam Atreya 
Svamina Gotam Shalan Kucha
Svamina Hasya Dvaseya 
Svamina Kaushika 
Thakur, Watal
Svamina Kantha Kashyapa 
Svamina Laugakshi
Svamina Maudgalya 
Bhuni, Chana, Dewani, Galikrapa, Kanth, Khazanchi, Mazari, Muj, Madan, Mushran, Put, Shora Taku, Zahi, Razdan, Zitu, Zotan
Svamina Maudgalya Parashara
Svamina Parashara
Svamina Rishi Kanya Gargya 
Koul (Kulin)
Svamina Rishi Kanya Vatsya
Svamina Shandalya 
Bhatt, Bakhshi, Nari
Svamina Aupamanyava 
Svamina Kautsa Atreya
Svamina Vasishta
Svamina Vasishta Bharadwaja 
Bhatt, Handu, Hukhu
Svamina Vaaa Gulak
Svamina Vara Mitra Vatsya Guna Kaushika
Svamina Vasa Gargya 
Langer, Sum
Svamina Vatsya
Svamina Vas Atreya 
Ghasi, Thusu, Waza
Svamina Vatsya Aupamanyava 
Bhatt, Wallu
Svamina Warshaganya 
Chothai; Duda, Hangal, Kathju, Lange, Kasid
Svamina Was 
Chhanda Shandalya
Barbuz, Karnel
Vatsya Atreya
Vatsya Gusha Aupamanyava 
Vishnu Bharadwaja
Vishnu Gargya
Vishnu Shaunaka
Vasishta Svamina Maudgalya 
Vasa Aupamanyava Laugakshi
Bhatt, Rangateng
Wasishta Dhatta Shalana Kucha 
Wardhatta Shalana Kucha 
Wata Shalana Kucha
Excerpts from:
The Kashmiri Pandit
by Pandit Anand Koul
Thacker, Spink & Co.
Kashmiri Overseas Association
 Kashmiri Names