The word "gotra" means "lineage" in the Sanskrit language. Among those of the Brahmin caste, gotras are reckoned patrilineally. Each gotra takes the name of a famous Rishi or sage who was the patrilineal forebearer of that clan. And each Gotra is addressed by the suffix 'sa' or 'asa' as relevant.

The concept of Gotra was the first attempt among Brahmins to classify themselves among different groups. At the beginning, these gentes identified themselves by the names of various rishis (Angirasa, Atri, Gautam, Kashyapa, Bhrigu, Vasistha, Kutsa,and Bharadwaja; the first seven of these are often enumerated as Saptarishis). It is to be noted that Vishwamitra was initially a Kshatriya king, who later chose and rose to become an ascetic rishi. Hence the gotra was applied to the grouping stemming from one of these rishis as his descendants.


Many lines of descent from the major rishis were later grouped separately. Accordingly, the major gotras were divided into ganas (subdivisions) and each gana was further divided into groups of families. The term gotra was then frequently started being applied to the ganas and to the sub-ganas. chaturvedi and agnihotri both are come from Bhargava

Every brahmin claims to be a direct patrilinial descendant of one of the founding rishis of a certain gana or sub-gana. It is the gana or sub-gana that is now commonly referred to as gotra.

Over the years, the number of gotras increased due to:

  1. Descendants of original rishi also started new family lineage or new gotras,
  2. By inter marriage with other sub-groups of the same caste, and
  3. Inspired by another rishi whose name they bear as their own gotra.

Pravara is the number of the most excellent (-cf. reference, Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Monier-Williams) rishis who belonged to that particular gotra to which a person belongs. Gotra is the name of the founding father. In vedic ritual, the importance of the pravara appears to be in its use by the ritualist for extolling his ancestry and proclaiming, "as a descendant of worthy ancestors, I am a fit and proper person to do the act I am performing." The sacred thread yajnopavita worn on upanayana has close connection with the concept of pravaras related to brahmin gotra system. While tying the knots of sacred thread, an oath is taken in the name of each one of these three or five of the most excellent rishis belonging to one's gotra.

The full affiliation of a brāhamana consists of (1)gotra, (2)pravaras (3)sutra (of Kalpa), (4)shakha.

Main bharadwaj poojari of kali mandir in delhi are living in Chirag Delhi

(Example :) A brahmana named 'X' introduces himself as follows : I am 'X', of Shrivatsa gotra, of Āpastamba sutra, of Taittiriya shākha of Yajurveda, of five pravaras named Bhārgava, Chyāvana, Āpnavan, Aurva and Jāmdagnya (This example is based upon the example given by Pattābhirām Shastri in the introduction to Vedārtha-Pārijata, cf. ref.).

While the gotras were classified initially according to nine (?) rishis, the pravaras were classified under the names of the following seven rishis:

According to the listing of authors included in the verses in Rigved, the rishi Jamadagni was a descendant of rishi Bhrigu while the rishis Gautam and Bharadwaja were the descendants of rishi Angirasa. There were a group of rishis(well-known as yogi), they believed that, they are originated from lord shiva, successor of that rishis are under shiva gotra and well-known as rudraja brahmin.

The pravara identifies the association of a person with three or sometimes five of the above-mentioned rishis.

For example, Kashyapa Gothram has 3 rishis associated with it viz. Kashyapa, Daivala and Aavatsaara

Gothras and Pravaras

  1. Suryadhwaja: Lakhi (Mehrishi), Soral, Binju
  2. Bharadwaja: Angirasa, Bruhaspatya (i.e. bruhaspati), Bharadwaja, Upreti
  3. Rathitara: Baaryhaspatya, Angirasa, Rathitara
  4. Vatula/Vadula: Bhargava,Vaitahavya,Saavedasa
  5. Srivatsa/Vatsasya: Bhargava,Chyaavana,Aapnavaana,Aurva,Jaamadaghneya
  6. Salankayana: Viswaamitra, Aghamarshana, Devarata
  7. Shatamarshana: Angirasa, Powrukutsa,Traasatasya
  8. Atreyasa: Atreyasa,Aarchanaasa,Syaavatsyasa
  9. Kowsika: Vishwamitra,Aghavarshana,Kowsika
  10. Kalabodhana/Kalabhavasa(3 variations)
    1. Kalabodhana: Viswaamitra,AAgamarshana,Kalabodhana
    2. Kalaboudha:Viswaamitra,AAgamarshana,Kalaboudha
    3. Kalabhavasa:Viswaamitra,AAgamarshana,Kalabhavasa
  11. Viswamitra: Viswamitra,Devarata, Owtala
  12. Kaundinyasa (Kaundinya): Vasista,Maitraavaruna, Kaundinya
  13. Haritasa: Angirasa, Ambarisha,Yuvanasva
  14. Gautamasa: Angirasa,Aayasyasa, Gautama
    1. gautamasa 7 sages;gautama,ayasya,ousishya,oushaja,kankshvadana,bhriguridhdha,vaamadava:krishna yajurveda tiettereeya saakha
  15. Mowdgalya(3 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Bharmyasva,Mowdgalya
    2. Tarkshya,Bharmyasva,Mowdgalya
    3. Angirasa, Dhavya, Mowdgalya
  1. Sandilya (4 Variations)
    1. Kasyapasa,Aavatsaara,Daivala
    2. Kasyapasa,Aavatsaara,Sandilya
    3. Kasyapasa, Daivala, Asitha
    4. Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Dev , Naidruva(Naitruva), Rebha, Raibha , Sandila, Saandilya
  2. Naitruvakaasyapa: Kasyapa,Aavatsara,Naitruva
  3. Kutsa: Angirasa,Maandhatra,Kowtsa
  4. Kanva (2 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Ajameeda,Kaanva
    2. Angirasa,Kowra, Kaanva
  5. Parashara: Vasista, Saaktya, Parashara
  6. Agastyasa: Agastya,Tardhachyuta,Sowmavaha
  7. Gargya/Garga (2 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Bharhaspatya,Bharadwaja,upadhyay
    2. Angirasa, Sainya, Gaargya
  8. Bhadarayana: Angirasa,Paarshadaswa, Raatitara
  9. Kasyapa (3 Variations)
    1. Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Daivala, Marichi,
    2. Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Naidruva(Naitruva), Marichi
    3. Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Naidruva(Naitruva), Rebha, Raibha , Sandila, Saandilya
  10. Sunkriti (2 Variations)
    1. Angirasa,Kowravidha,Saankritya
    2. Sadhya,Kowravidha,Saankritya
  11. Angirasa, Pourukutsya, Thraasadasya
  12. Gautamasa: Aangeerasa, ayasya, gowtama
  13. AgniVaiwaswatha: Angirasa, Brahaspthayasa, Bharadwaja, Srukva, Agnivaiwaswathasa
  14. Sankhyayana:Vishwamitra,Aghamarshana,Devaratha
    1. Vishwamitra, Shraumita, Kaamakayana, Devatarasa, Devaraata, Panchashraya
  15. Kapi: Angirasa,Amahaiya,Orukshaya,
  16. Kapila: Angirasa,Amahaiya,Orukshaya,
  17. Vartantu
  18. Kutsasa: Angirasa,Mandhatha,Kutsa,
  19. Kutchasa: Hatita, Ambarisha, Yuvanaswa, Mahandatha, Dharbapingala
  20. Rauksaayana:Angiras, Mandhana, Madhuvachasa
  21. Viswamitra:Viswamitra,AAgamarshana,lohitasya
  22. Jamadagni: Bhargava, Chyavana, Aapnavaana, Aurava, Jaamadagneya
  23. Bhargava:Bhargava ,Tvashta,Vishvarupa
  24. Lohitasa:Lohitasa,Ashtaka,Ambareesha
  25. Vatsa: Orva,Bhardwaj,Bhargava, Chyavana, Aapnavan
  26. Kapinjala:Vasista,Aindrapramada,Abharadwasavya
  27. Aupamanavya:Vasista,Aindrapramada,Abharadwasavya

List of Brahmin Gotras

The following is a partial list of gotras found in the Brahmin community of Hindus:


Although people belonging to the same gotra are, in theory, related to each other patrilineally, and belong to the same Brahmin caste, there may be very little else in common between them. In fact, as per the Vedic system, a man and a woman belonging to the same gotra are considered to be a brother and sister, and hence, a marriage between a man and a woman belonging to the same gotra (known as sa-gotra) is forbidden as it will cause anomalies in the progeny that come out of such a marriage. A married woman takes up the gotra of her husband. The fact that people belong to a certain gotra says nothing about their domicile, original place of residence, mother tongue or family occupation, which can be known from than lower lever classification below gotra: pravaras, sutra (of Kalpa), shakhaand Haritash,Indoria, Kavist

See also


  • A History of Brahmin Clans (Brāhmaṇa Vaṃshõ kā Itihāsa) in Hindi, by Dorilāl Śarmā,published by Rāśtriya Brāhamana Mahāsabhā, Vimal Building, Jamirābād, Mitranagar, Masūdābād,Aligarh-1, 2nd ed-1998. (This Hindi book contains the most exhaustive list of Brahmana gotras and pravaras together their real and mythological histories).
  • Vedārtha-Pārijata by Swāmi Karpātri,Published by Sri Rādhā Krishna Dhanuka Prakāshan Sansthan,Calcutta,1979;(Sañchālakas : Vedasāstra Research Centre, Kedārghat, Vārānasi)

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