Caste system in Himachal Pradesh

By | November 6, 2016

Koli – Kolis are believed to have sprung from abandoned Kanets who volunteered to remove carcasses in the absence of Chamar when disease claimed the lives of large number of cattle. In the Shivalik Hills Kolis call themselves New Rajput or Kshatriya.

Chamar – Traditional leather workers are called Chamar. It is a widely spread community in the state of Himachal Pradesh. They worship ‘Sidh Chano’ as their community deity in the name of ‘Garha Devta’.  Chamars are known by various names as Mochi, Ramdasis and Ravidasi.

Chanal – The Chanals corresponds regarding their occupation, rituals and customs closely to the Hali of Chamba and Dagi and Koli of Kullu and Shimla. In district Kangra, Chanals are treated somewhat lower to the Kolis. Majority of this community work as agricultural labours for the Brahmins and Rajputs in lieu of a certain share of the produce.

Hali – The Hali means a person who earns his livelihood by hal (plough). Hali’s traditional occupations were to skin and tan dead animals, to remove carcasses, and to play music on marriages and other social and religious ceremonies.

Hesi – The Hesis are the traditional vagrant minstrels, who used to subsist by playing a Shehnai and beating Dholak or Tamborium, and singing wedding greetings and folk songs.

Sippi – Sippis are described as a ‘weaves of the Gaddi tribe’ and virtually same as Hali. They are mostly found in Bharmour, district Chamba.

Rihara – According to Ibbeston, the Riharas appears to be closely allied to Dumna. In district Shimla they earn their livelihood by making Kirri (Kilta basket) and removing cow dung whereas the Riharas are primarily engaged in silver smithy and tin smithy.

Turi – Turis are the agriculturist but their main occupation is music and dancing. They are also known as ‘Dayal’ (in Chopal) or ‘Dhakis’ or ‘Bajgir’. Their main concentration is in trans- Giri tract of district Sirmaur and their commonly spoken language is Sirmauri.

Acharaj – The Acharaj or Charaj are the Brahmin who seeks offerings (dan) in the name of dead by performing death rites – Kriya-Karam for various Hindu communities.

Battarha – The Battarhas are occupationally stone – workers or dresser/breakers. They are commonly known as ‘Mistri’ or ‘Rajgir’ or ‘Raj’ or ‘Sangatrash’.

Sunar – Sunar is basically the jeweller of the village. He is also a money lender, taking ornaments in pawns and making cash advances upon them. Soni, Kapila, Jargar and Zargar are the synonyms of this community. Tank and Mair are the subgroups of Sunar community.

Thathera – Thathera is the man who makes vessels of brass, copper and other mixed metals. The community is divided into different gotra/got viz. Mehta, Wadhvan, Uppal, Chadha, Varma and Anand.

Kumhars (Potters) – Kumhar is the man who makes earthen pots. These pots are used in the village to store the grains. Some of their got/gotras are Shandil, Kashab and Bharapdariye.

Dumna – Dumna’s working material is bamboo. The Dumna are mostly found in Chamba, Kangra and Shimla Hills. They makes sieves (tokri), winnowing pans, fans, matting, baskets, grass rope,  string, furniture and other articles made of bamboo.

Ghirath – The Ghirath or Chowdhary come next to the Brahmins and Rajputs as a predominant Hindi community. They are mostly found in western part of Himachal Pradesh viz. Hamirpur, Kangra, Una and Bilaspur districts. The Ghirath is a local name and its origin from ghee reveals their traditional occupation of animal husbandry and farming. Although Ghiraths community claim their descent from Rajput or Kshatriya. The sub-division of Ghiraths is – namely Kaundal, Bhardwaj, Bhattlu, Badial, Pathari, Chhabru, Reru and Chhora.

Lohar (Blacksmith) – The Lohar is one of the village menials, receiving customary dues in the form of a share of the produce, in return for which he makes and mends all the iron implements of agriculture. They write Devnagari script and speak local dialect of Pahari within and outside the community.

Brahmin – The Brahmin from one of the largest social group in India. The Brahmins have their ‘gotra’ associated with various Rishis of ancient times. They consider themselves descendents of seven Rishi ancestors, namely Jamdagni, Gautama, Bhardwaj, Attri, Agatsaya, Kashyapa and Vashista. The famous Brahmin gotras are – Sarswat, Gauda, Vatsya, Upamanyu, Attri, Shandilya, Garga, Prashar, Gautam, Vatsa, Sankhyayan, Vatsyayan, Upadhyaya, Awasthi Sukla, Pathak, Vashistha, Kaushal, Kashyap, Bhardwaj and so on.

Rajput – The Rajput, one of the erstwhile principal warrior and ruling community of Himachal Pradesh, ‘”are said to be Brahmin by original stock”. The Rajputs are divided into six status groups, including Raja, Rajput, Mian and Thakur which include first grade and second grade Ranas and Rathis.

Mahajan – The Mahajan literally means “the great folk” are also known as Shah or Sahukar. The main castes in the Mahajan community are Khatri, Kayastha and Baniya.

Sood – Sood constitute of an important group of the traditional traders and shopkeepers like the Bania, Khatri and Mahajan. Their clans are Butel, Gupta, Chimre, Bante, Bagle, Mahdudiye, Parkhoee, Chab, Kodel, Wahi, Kalander Baddhu, Baggha and Augarh.


  2. The Wonderland of Himachal Pradesh by Jag Mohan Balokhra

56 thoughts on “Caste system in Himachal Pradesh

  1. N c kashyap pansotra

    Writer is seams to be a nonsense person. Rajput ,present brahmin, mahajan sood are lower castes. Lord brahma ji create ten prajapatis and maharaja daksh prajapati emperor of shrishti is the forfather of prajapati kumbh kumhar community.we are shrestha. Aadumbar prajapati janpad of kashab kashyapa gotra is the one from four janpad of hp . Your history is just to nonsense and misguide the mass. Varnshankar upper kaise ho gaye .correct your history or delete kumhar prajapati community chapter, heading from your fake history.

      1. Deshraj

        reservation is also given to you now so what is the difference …..thats why Real Koli are Suche Rajpoot…its proved now.

        1. Ankit

          Who are sainis in himachal ? What is their status in himachal and which category they belong?

    1. Viraat

      Kahan se ho aap ?
      Kumhar Or Kumbhar ki adhuri History likhi hai

      Kumhar ko Himachal me anderkee Or swarna caste manna jata hai.. even superior to many artisian or other caste.

      Don’t say wrong to Brahmin, Rajput and Mahajan etc. etc.
      Galat mat boliye.

  2. RANA Shubham Singh.

    Hey… Rajputs and thakurs are also called mians… So what is this…. Raja is first… Then Rajput?mian are also son of Rajas they are also from family of Raja.

    1. Pradeep Thakur

      मियां शब्द वैदिक साहित्य का शब्द नहीं है यह मुगलकाल की देन है जिन राजपूतों ने नवाब या सुल्तान या मुगलों से रोटी और बेटी का रिश्ता बनाया वे ही मियां हैं

      1. Ravan

        Mian title gave by gori aftr dogras help gori in battle of thrain by killing many prithvi raj general nd his brother
        Aur lwde thakur koi caste nhi hai title hai jb history whatapp par odi ho toh maa chudane nhi aate hr jagha

  3. Arpana Thakur

    I think We should grow forward to remove or stop this caste system

    Every one is a person whether he or she is in any caste

    Because We all are same , we all eat same, we all breathe same etc………

    1. Sumit Guleria

      Aparna ji…..You must understand that this caste system is totally based on the type of occupation undertaken by a person and has nothing to do with who’s up or who’s down. Even if you go to our rural himachal u will find mutual affinity between these sects . Don’t judge this system before you actually see it in proper working.

      1. Rajiv Kumar

        what people are doing these days may be business or govt. job but still they are describing themselves as Rajputs or brahmins… many people from scheduled castes who are serving our borders but they are still coded as shudra why they are not kshatriya why so called brahmins are not shudra those brahmins don’t know even Sanskrit and not have religious knowledge, eating non veg, drinking alcohol but they are still describing as brahmins but in reality their job is like vaishy or shudras or kshatriy….

        1. Rohit Kumar

          Haan pundit or rajput na non veg khate Hain nahi saraab peete Hain (Joke of the day).
          Or haan Jo apni jaat badal ke dikhata hai wo apne baap ka naam bhi badal le.

    2. Munish Kumar

      Really the castism is the main cause of violance n we must keep ourself above this nonsence cast system.

    3. IAMThakur

      Nice thinking

      but i m really suffered from this caste system
      being a upper caste i cant marry a girl who is very lower.
      this is shame to indian society

    4. Surendra Singh Rathore

      First of all stop reservation then automatically stop the castism….

      1. Prashant Tarhun

        You have to grow your mindset, if there was no castism like things till date ,there wouldn’t any reservations like things. instead of that reservations will be on the basis of maybe on other criteria like class , salary but not cast …

  4. Vikas Azad Sippy

    आप सिप्पी के बारे में क्या बकवास लिखते हैं। आपकी तरह की जानकारी के लिए सबसे पहले सिप्पी हली नहीं हैं। दूसरा, सिप्पी पत्थर की मूर्ति, लकड़ी के शिल्प, या सभी शिल्प से संबंधित चीजें जैसे शिल्पकार हैं। असल में एक शिल्पकार पूरी तरह पेशेवर रूप से कुशल और रचनात्मक दिमागी है, सबसे अच्छा उदाहरण है कि मैं आपको भर्मौर में ’84 मंदिर ‘देता हूं, और’ हुडी राम ‘द्वारा निर्मित बनी माता मंदिर भी प्रदान करता है।
    इसलिए मैंने आपको अनुरोध किया कि आप अपनी सामग्री को बदल दें जिसे आपने सिप्पी लोगों पर अपलोड किया था

    what rubbish you write about sippi’s. first of all for your kind information The sippi’s are not Hali. The Second is sippi’s are craftsman like stone sculpture, wooden craft, or all craft related things. actually a craftsman is totally professionally skilled and creative minded, one of the best example i give you of ’84 temple’ at bharmour, and also Banni mata temple build by ‘Haudi Ram’ etc.
    So i requested to you plz change your content that you uploaded on sippi people.

    1. Prashant Chadha

      You’ve mentioned that Mehta, Wadhwan, Uppal, Chadha, Anand etc belong to Thathera caste.
      I’m sorry but it’s completely wrong. All of these are KHATRI surnames. Please correct this otherwise it may lead to a lot of confusion and wrong facts for aspirants.

      1. Prashant Chadha

        It’s been three months I’ve posted the above comment but no corrections have been made. Also, many others have pointed out other errors. HP General Studies is a brilliant website so please update your information as it may lead to dispersion of incorrect information among the aspirants.
        Thank you.

      2. Prashant Chadha

        It’s been three months since I posted the above comment but there has been no correction. Many others have also pointed out various errors. Please rectify them as soon as possible so that the aspirants don’t get incorrect information.

      3. Harbans lal Mehta.

        We are now denigrated to kanet Rajput now like similar kanet Rajputs in himachal and adjoining areas to erstwhile princely state of simour.we have scientific record to show that we are related to warriors class Rajputs derived our ancestory from Raja Saralpaul who ruled saharanpur,meerut ,muzzafarnagar etc.but was killed by Mohammed Gauri in an attack.After him, his generations established small states in areas stretching yamuna to patta khaddnar ie situated in baddi tehsil of solan district now with their great fighting skill.we ruled the state of bhowana with its capital at pinjore.presant garden was later on occupied by fateh khan GG of punjab forcibly and changed it into terraced garden. We left the place with our rural who later on was again reduced to the title of Thakur with only two small parganas at his disposal to control. We being put to own small dry jagirs were constained to adopt agriculture as our profession and get social and matrimonial relations with local kanet Rajputs in earlier settlers of this area. Our Raja only bestowed upon us title of Mehtas and abandoned us from main Rajput stream.But I find complete neglect of such facts hence putting an average person in the darkness of confusion , fakeness and untruth.

  5. Prashant Singh Kashyap

    Mr. presenter,

    Please update this page. kolis are not “New Rajput”, don’t disgrace them with this word “New”. The “Badani Dynasty” or “Koli dynasty” is the oldest dynasty of Kullu. At present, Raja Maheshwar Singh is continuing that legacy.

    There are numerous Koli kingdoms and their traces can be seen across the country.

    And for your kind information, not all Kolis come under reservation

    Social equality is important, I don’t support caste discrimination either, but don’t dishonour this great dynasty.

    Do some research before writing!!

  6. Deepak

    chanal caste
    ka kam anaj ugana hota he kissani
    or kissani koi lower work nhi he
    sbse ucha kam he
    to chanal caste sc me nhi count honi chahie

  7. Ridhi Mishra Pawar

    Himachal me pawar log kya hote hai plzzz help me

  8. Koli sc chmar

    Koli Rajput nhi koli chmar hote hai or sc m aate hai

    1. Vijay panthi

      Aap se kisne bola ki koli chamar hote h kohli/koli/kori hum h kabir panthi bunkar samaj hamara kam kapde banane ka hota hamare sant kabirsahab h ham chamar se alagg h sc me aate h to kya chamar ho guess

  9. Sunil Chawla

    “KAUSHAL” from Shimla is which community. Are they Brahmins ?
    Please reply
    Sunil Chawla

  10. Rishabh

    Vashisth from manali or all over Himanchal are Brahmin..????
    Reply plz..

  11. Umesh Choudhary

    Why u not mentioned Hindu Gurjars of Himachal Pradesh ? Doon Kshetra is Hindu Gurjar Dominated

    1. HP General Studies Post author

      They have been mentioned in Tribes of Himachal Pradesh article.

  12. Raghvender

    Who are Sahani ? And they are comes under which category ? Please tell me

  13. Raghav

    Hi im raghav i’m. From distt Kangra and surname is Verma plz tell plz tell me we called sunar but we are not Mair Rajput or Khatri.. Plz Tell ne how we are

  14. Kshitij Rangra

    Rangra caste ko bhi mention karo…
    Humsa rajput na hua hai na hoga.

  15. Yog Raj

    Koli m kai sari subcaste included h, jisme badai turi hesi Hali dagi etc aate h.koli India Ka ek encient group Sindhu gati ke bightan ke baad desh ke alg alg hisse m vse, ye log shiv or prkrti ke aaj bhi sachche upssak h, ye mulrup se adivasi khashtriya h.inki sanskrti hinduon se thodi alg h.budh ke samay bhi koli rajvansh Ka zikr milta h.vrn vyvstha or Hindu dhrm ne niche inke khanpan ki bjeh se achhut goshit Kiya…or inhen kaam ke adhar pr Kai upsamhon m banta…ye log mrit janwaron Ka mas khate the……

    1. Mohit

      They started eating dead animals because of the influence of bodh dharm in bodh dharm a person can never kill a animal for food

  16. Viraat

    Kahan se ho aap ?
    Kumhar Or Kumbhar ki adhuri History likhi hai

    Kumhar ko Himachal me anderkee Or swarna caste manna jata hai.. even superior to many artisian or other caste.

    Don’t say wrong to Brahmin, Rajput and Mahajan etc. etc.
    Galat mat boliye.

    1. Ashok Gautam

      Manu created four Varna just for division of the labour.
      In ancient times Varnas had been interchangeable. With the passage of time a rift appeared in these Varnas as family occupations became permanent and a sense of superiority originated in the Varnas due to their noble professions. Afterall we are all sons and daughters of the same Supreme Father. All of us share the same earth, air and food. These false barriors have broken and divided the society and reservations are also the outcome of that.
      All educated people must give it a thought that your birth is not in your control and all these fake caste identies are just from birth till death. We must try to come out of this darkness of false barriors created by the man itself

  17. प्रजापति अर्जुन

    जब पृथ्वी पर किसी मनुष्य व चारों वर्णो का जन्म भी नहीं हुआ था तब केवल प्रजापति समाज का अस्तित्व था। प्रजापति(कुम्भकार), प्रजापति ब्रह्मा के वंशज है, सृष्टि निर्माण के समय भगवान ब्रह्मा ने प्रजापति उत्पन्न किये जिनमें दक्ष प्रजापित, अंगिरा प्रजापति आदि थे, प्रजापति समाज ने इस पृथ्वी पर सभ्यता का निर्माण किया है। सनातन समाज का कोई भी विशेष व दैनिक कार्य पूजा करने से लेकर मृत्यु तक कुम्हार समाज के बिना समपन्न नहीं होता है। जब प्रजापति ने कुम्भ का निर्माण किया तो उसे कुम्भकार कहा गया, दीपक का निर्माण करके संसार को प्रकाश देने वाला प्रजापति समाज है, कुम्हार के दीपक के नाम पर ही दीपावली का नाम रखा गया, अगर प्रजापति कुम्भ का निर्माण न करता तो समुद्र मंथन से निकने अमृत को धारण करने के लिए पात्र उपलब्ध नहीं होता, इसलिए कुम्भ मेले का नाम कुम्हार के कुम्भ(कलश या घड़ा) के नाम पर है। दही हाडी, करवा चौथ, आदि सभी कुम्हार के नाम पर ही है। भगवान विष्णु ने प्रजापति को अपना चक्र(चाक), शिव ने पिंड़ी(शिवलिंग) और ब्रह्मा ने जनेऊ आदि दिया तब जाकर पंच तत्वों से प्रजापति ने अपनी शिल्पविद्या से चारों वर्णों के लिए दैनिक वस्तुओ मिट्टी के घर, ईंट, बर्तन, चूल्हा, कलश, अस्त्र आदि का निर्माण किया ।
    आपने अपने पोस्ट प्रजापति कुम्हार समाज के विषय में सही तथ्य नहीं प्रस्तुत किये है।

  18. अमर वर्मा

    अर्जुन जी
    आपका ज्ञान कुछ adhura है
    प्रजापति ईश्वर Or गॉड caste है
    प्रजापति का अर्थ राजा, राजन्ये, राजे, क्षत्रिय है
    राजा राजन्ये Ratt प्रजापति:क्षत्रियो
    In हिन्दू rituals Kumhars are क्षत्रिय
    Kumharo के साथ वर्मन वर्मा singh , क्षत्रिय, chhetri title लगते hain

  19. Rana

    Sir hali is caste of Himachal Pradesh shiv bhakt they are pujari and sing a song on shiv nawala updated the hali meaning

  20. kavita sharma

    I dnt think this caste system is working these days … in history caste system is given according to there work but now these days they people grow by there status … we have to change our mentality regarding these caste system and also we have to upgrade our minds… We are jst normal human being first and we have no right to judge people according to there caste .. be a nice human being first and have humanity’s every people last vese hospital main blood transfusion ke tym koi to caste nahi puchta ?..

  21. abhishek

    can anyone tell who are ” CHANDRA” in himachal, which caste they belong.


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