A Rajput (from Sanskrit raja-putra, "son of a king") is a member of one of the patrilineal clans of western, central, northern India and some parts of Pakistan. They claim to be descendants of ruling Hindu warrior classes of North India. Rajputs rose to prominence during the 6th to 12th centuries. Until the 20th century, Rajputs ruled in the "overwhelming majority" of the princely states of Rajasthan and Surashtra, where the largest number of princely states were found.
Map of Rajputana
The Rajput population and the former Rajput states are found spread through much of the subcontinent, particularly in north, west and central India. Populations are found in Rajasthan, Saurashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.
There are several major subdivisions of Rajputs, known as vansh or vamsha, the step below the super-division jati. These vansh delineate claimed descent from various sources, and the Rajput are generally considered to be divided into three primary vansh: Suryavanshi denotes descent from the solar deity Surya, Chandravanshi from the lunar deity Chandra, and Agnivanshi from the fire deity Agni. Lesser-noted vansh include Udayvanshi, Rajvanshi, and Rishivanshi. The histories of the various vanshs were later recorded in documents known as vanshaavaliis.
Beneath the vansh division are smaller and smaller subdivisions: kul, shakh ("branch"), khamp or khanp ("twig"), and nak ("twig tip"). Marriages within a kul are generally disallowed (with some flexibility for kul-mates of different gotra lineages). The kul serves as primary identity for many of the Rajput clans, and each kul is protected by a family goddess, the kuldevi.
The main lineages
The Rajputs are divided into clans, each clan belonging to one of three basic lineages (vanshas or vamshas):
The Suryavanshi lineage, claiming descent from Surya, the Hindu Sun god. In English it is known as the Solar Dynasty;
The Chandravanshi lineage, or Lunar dynasty lineage claims descent from Chandra (the moon or Budh). The Chandravanshi lineage is known as the Lunar Dynasty in English;
The Yaduvanshi lineage are a major sub-branch of the Chandravanshi lineage. Lord Krishna was born a Yaduvanshi.
The Puruvanshi lineage are a major sub-branch of the Chandravanshi Rajputs. The Kauravs and Pandavs of the epic Mahabharata were Puruvanshis.
The Agnivanshi lineage claims descent from Agni, the Hindu god of fire. Four main Rajput clans are considered to be Agnivanshi. They are Chauhans, Paramara, Solanki and Pratiharas.
Each of these Vanshas or lineages is divided into several clans (kula), all of whom claim direct patrilineage from a remote but common male ancestor who supposedly belonged to that Vansha. Some of these 36 main clans are further subdivided into shakhas or "branches", again based on the same principle of patrilineage.
Each shakha or basic sub-clan has its individual genealogical creed, describing the essential peculiarities, religious tenets, and original domicile of the clan. This creed is a touchstone of traditional affinities and provides all information governing the laws of intermarriage.
Major Suryavanshi clans
The Bais Rajput, (also known as Bhains Rajput in certain regions), are a powerful and ancient Rajput clan composed of the wealthy, warriors, entrepreneurs, and zamindar (land owners).
The Bais claim descent from Lakshmana, brother of Rama. The Bais Rajput are renowned as warriors with the ability to maintain dominion over their empires. Their reputation was earned by their kings and landowners that ruled over northern India for and held vast tracts of land for the clan. Princely states of the Bais were Oudh, Lucknow, and Sialkot.
The most respected and highly distinguished amongst all the Rajput clans as a rajput can not be a Kshatriya if not a Chattari. The mother caste of Suryavanshi Rajputs which originated from Rajputana in Rajasthan. However, there are many Gotras and sub castes in other major dynasties which emerged from the Chattari lineage. Chattaris belong to the military and ruling order of the traditional Vedic-Hindu social system as outlined by the Vedas.
The Suryavanshi Rajputs of Gaur are descendants of the Rajput Pala Dynasty which ruled ancient Bengal, then known as Gaur. Its capital was Lakshmanabati, named after the Pala king Lakshman Pal, under whose patronage the first literary work in Bengali, "Geet Govindam", was composed by the Bengali poet Jayadeva (circa 1200 AD).
Some old texts of the British raj refer to the Pala rajputs as Gour or Gaur Rajputs. Government gazettes of the British era have references to Gaur Zamindars in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
The Kachwaha are a Suryavanshi Rajput clan who ruled a number of kingdoms and princely states in India such as Dhundhar, Alwar, and Maihar, while the largest and oldest state was Amber, now part of Jaipur. The Maharaja of Jaipur is regarded as the head of the extended Kachwaha clan. There are approximately 71 subclans of the Kachwaha, including the Rajawat, Shekhawat, Sheobramhpota, Naruka, Nathawat, Khangarot, and Kumbhani. They claim descent from Kusha, the younger of the twin sons of Rama.
The Kachwaha clan ruled in Jaipur right up until modern times. The last ruling Maharaja of Jaipur was Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur (1917–1970). Shortly after India's independence in 1948, Sawai Man Singh peacefully acceded the state of Jaipur to the Government of India. He then was appointed the first Rajpramukh of Rajasthan.
Minhas Rajputs are Suryavanshis and claim descent from Rama a legendary king of Ayodhya. In Rajputana, their closest cousins are the Kachwaha and Bargujar Rajputs of Jaipur. They trace their ancestry to the Ikshvaku dynasty of Northern India (The same clan in which Lord Rama was born. He, therefore is the 'kuldevta'(family deity) of the Hindu Minhas Rajputs). Specifically, they claim descent from Kusha younger of the twin sons of Rama, hero of the Ramayana, to whom patrilineal descent from Surya is in turn ascribed.
Pakhral Rajput is a sub clan of Minhas Rajput. Pakhral Rajputs are the most dynamic rulers in the history of sub-continent and they deserve for holding the dinstinction of being the hero of sub-continent. The founders of the city and state of Jammu and its rulers from ancient times to 1948 C.E. Ansistors of Pakhral Rajputs are mostly Hindus, in early 18th and 19th century mostly Pakhral Rajputs embraced Islam and moved from Jaipur and Rajastan(India) to Kashmir and Pakistan. Punjab specially the area of Potohar and Azad jammu Kashmir is the origin of Pakhral Rajputs.
Mirpur Azad jamu Kashmir and the Rawalpindi District mostly named as the area of potohar is very famous as the area of Pakhral Rajputs. Raja is mostly used as a title in Pakhral Rajputs which is derived from the word Rajput.
The Pundir (also spelled Pandeer, Pandir, Pundhir, Pundeer, Poondir or Poondeer) is a Suryavanshi branch of Rajputs. The word itself is derived from the Sanskrit word Purandara literally meaning "the destroyer of forts". The Pundir Rajputs hold riyasat in Nahan, Garhwal, Nagaur and Saharanpur where their Kuldevis are situated. Their shakha is Koolwal and their Kuldevis are Shakumbhri Devi in Saharanpur and Rajasthan along with Punyakshini Devi in Garhwal with their gotra being Pulastya and Parashar.
Elliot writes that in the Haridwar region of Uttar Pradesh, where they are most prominent today, over 1,440 villages are claimed by Pundir Rajputs with high concentrations in the districts of Dehradun, Saharanpur, Muzaffarnagar, Aligarh and Etawah. According to the British census of 1891 the population of the Pundir Rajputs was recorded at approximately 29,000.
The Pundir clan has its origins with Raja Pundarik, the fourth king in line after Kusha. Pundarik is revered as a Rishi and his temple is situated in Katheugi village of the Kullu district in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The rishi is depicted as a white Naga and in the Puranic lore Pundarik is the name of a White Naga and the legend of Pundarik Rishi also affirms his birth as a Naga from an earthen pot. Kusha, the second born of Sita and Ram, is said to have been the progenitor of the Pundirs.
The Narus of Hoshiarpur District claim that their ancestor was a Suryavanshi Rajput of Muttra, named Nipal Chand, and descended from Raja Ram Chand. He was converted in the time of Mahmud of Ghazni and took the name of Naru Shah. Naru Shah settled at Mau in Jalandhar, Whence his son, Ratan Pal, founded Phillaur hence founded the four Naru parganas of Haryana, Bajwara, Sham Chaurasi and Ghorewaha in Hoshiarpur and that of Bahram in Jullunder. The chief men of these parganas are still called Rai or Rana. Some kept Brahmans of the Baadeo got.
The Rathore are a major Rajput clan originally descended from the Gahadvala Dynasty in Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. At the time of the end of the British Raj in 1947 they were rulers in 14 different princely states in Marwar, Jangladesh, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. The largest and oldest among these was Jodhpur, in Marwar and Bikaner. The Maharaja of Jodhpur is regarded as the head of the extended Rathore clan of Hindu Rajputs.
At the time of Tod's list in 1820, the Rathore clan had 24 branches, including the Barmera, Bika, Boola, Champawat, Dangi, Jaitawat, Jaitmallot, Jodha, Khabaria, Khokhar, Kotaria, Kumpawat, Mahecha, Mertiya, Pokharan, Mohania, Mopa, Randa, Sagawat, Sihamalot, Sunda, Udawat, Vanar, and Vikramayat.
The Sisodias are Suryavanshi Rajputs claiming descent from Lord Rama through his son Lava. They were known as the Ranas of Mewar, which was a princely state under the British Raj. The earliest history of the clan claims that they moved from Lahore to Shiv Desh or Chitor in 134 AD. They established themselves as rulers of Mewar in 734 AD, ruling from the fortress of Chittorgarh. They trace their descent from Bappa Rawal (ruled 734–753), eighth ruler of the Guhilot Dynasty.
Bhati Rajputs are a Chandravanshi Rajput clan from the Jaisalmer region of western Rajasthan. The Maharajas of Jaisalmer trace their lineage back to Jaitsimha, a ruler of the Bhati Rajput clan. The major opponents of the Bhati Rajputs were the powerful Rathor clans of Jodhpur and Bikaner. They used to fight battles for the possession of forts, waterholes or cattle. Jaisalmer was positioned strategically and was a halting point along a traditional trade route traversed by the camel caravans of Indian and Asian merchants. The route linked India to Central Asia, Egypt, Arabia, Persia, Africa and the West.
Bhati Rajputs were proficient horse riders, marksman and warriors. Their reign spread to the Punjab, Sindh and beyond, to Afghanistan. The City of Ghazni was named after a brave Bhatti warrior. In Lahore, a monument exists to this day, which is called the Bhati Gate, named so probably because it opens in the direction of the "Sandal Bar", an area ruled by Rai Sandal Khan Bhati Rajput. They earned too much by imposing the taxes levies on the passing Carvans.they were known as a great shooter with Gun.
In the early 10th century, the Chandelas (Chandravanshi lineage) ruled the fortress-city of Kalinjar. A dynastic struggle (c.912-914 CE) among the Pratiharas provided them with the opportunity to extend their domain. They captured the strategic fortress of Gwalior (c.950) under the leadership of Dhanga (ruled 950-1008).
Chandatreya (Chandrayan), Sheshdhar, Parashar and Goutam
Jadauns (also known as Jadons) claim to have descended from the Hindu mythological character Yadu. As the descendents of Yadu, they are classified as under the Chandravanshi branch of the Rajput caste hierarchy. However according to The Rajputana gazetteers, Aphariyas clan of Yaduvanshi Ahirs also claims descent from Jadauns. Although, they are Yadavs. Jadauns also occupied the forts of Bijai Garh, built by Pundir Rajputs, at Bayana and Timan Garh near Karauli. The distance between the two forts is about 50 kilometers. The Great Fort of Majhola in Moradabad District of Uttar Pradesh was also built by the Jadauns. Jadons are among the 36 royal clans of Rajputs, They are of Chandravanshi lineage and Kuldevi of Jadon's is Kaila devi at Karauli (Rajasthan).
The Katoch clan of the Chandravanshi lineage is considered to be one of the oldest surviving clan in the world. They first find mention in the mythological Hindu epic The Mahabharta and the second mentions in the recorded history of Alexander the Great's war records. One of the Indian kings who fought Alexander on the river Beas was a Katoch king Parmanand Chandra famously known as Porus. In past centuries, they ruled several princely states in the region. The originator of the clan was Rajanaka Bhumi Chand. Their famous Maharaja Sansar Chand-II was a great ruler. The ruler Rajanaka Bhumi Chand Katoch founded the Jwalaji Temple (now in Himachal Pradesh).
The Bhangalia clan are the erstwhile rulers of Chota and Burra Bhangal in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh.
The Pahore (also known as Pahur or Pahor) are a clan of Chandravanshi Rajputs. They use Khan or Jam or Malik as title.
Soam OR Som
Soam (also known as Som or Somvanshi) are Chandravanshi Rajputs. They have descended from Mahabharata. They are the direct descendants of Som (or Moon). As the name "SOM" indicates, this community belongs to lunar dynasty. King Dushyant, his son Bharat, all Pandavas and Kauravas were Somvanshis(Chandravanshi Rajputs).
Tomaras, or Tuvars, or Tanwars, are Chandravanshi Rajputs, and descended from Mahabharat's great hero, Arjun, through his son Abhimanyu, and grandson, Parikshat. Chakravarti Samrat (King) Yudhishtra, founded Indraprastha, present day Delhi.
King Anangpal conquered and re-established the Delhi Kingdom in CE 792 and founded the city of 'Dhillika,' (modern Delhi). Besides Delhi, He covered western U.P. and most of present day Haryana and Punjab. Tomar's rule lasted until CE 1162 when last Tomar King Anangpal II appointed Prithviraj Chauhan, his grandson (his daughter's son), and King of Ajmer- as 'catetaker,' since his own sons were very young at that time. According to the accounts kept by Tomar/Tanwar 'Jagas,' King Anangpal Tomar appointed Prithviraj Chauhan as caretaker only when he went on a religious pilgrimage. It is also said by Tanwar 'Jagas' that when King Anangpal returned, Prithviraj refused to hand over the kingdom to him. Jagas are a caste in Rajasthan who are hereditary keepers of genealogical records of Rajputs.
Major Agnivanshi clans
The bhaal gotra of rajputs belong to Garhmukteshwar Bulandshar Siyana Aligarh and many parts of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.There are 62 villages in Garhmukteshwar and Siyana tehseel.In these villages various gotras of Rajput/Chauhans are lived and married in different gotras of rajput clans.Mainly all rajput gotra of this area called Chauhan and this palace called Chauhanpuri.The gotras are mostly Vats Gahlot Bhaal Kuchawah Kemlaksha Bhati Parihar Tomar and many more.
The Chauhan (also known as Nirban) are of Agnivanshi lineage. Their state was initially centered around Khetri, Khandela, Alsisar Malsisar, Srimadhopur, Alwar, Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Churu. According to legend and clan history, the Nirwan or Nirban are with Maharana Pratap against Akbar in Haldighati Battle. Nirban's have many gotras, most of these gotras are Baloji, Pithoraji, Kaluji.
Another clam using the same name originated as feudatories of the Pratiharas and rose to power in the wake of the decline of that power. Their state was initially centered around Sambhar in present-day Rajasthan. In the 11th century, they founded the city of Ajmer which became their capital. In the 12th century, their the then King Prithviraj Chauhan acquired Delhi from his maternal grand father, the then King Anangpal. Their most famous ruler was Prithviraj Chauhan, who won the First Battle of Tarain against an invading Muslim army but lost the Second Battle of Tarain the following year. This loss heralded a prolonged period of Muslim rule over northern India.
The Mori clan is one of the 36 royal clans of Rajputs & falls in 24 eka clans which are not divided further. Mori Rajputs are sub clan of Parmara Rajputs of Agnivansh. They ruled Chittor & Malwa till early part of eighth century & built the biggest fort in India at Chittor in the reign of Chitrangad Mori (Ref: Archaeological survey of India)). Last king of Mori Dynasty of Chittor was Maan Singh Mori who fought against Arab invasion. Qasim attacked Chittor via Mathura. Bappa, of guhilote (Sisodia) dynasty, was a commander in Mori army. After defeating Bin Qasim, Bappa Rawal obtained Chittor in dowry from Maan Singh Mori in 734 A.D. Then onwards Chittor is ruled by Sisodia Rajputs.Later Mori & Parmar Rajputs continued to rule Malwa until Muslim incursions. Of late they remained as smaller royal states & jagirdars in the central India in present state of Madhya Pradesh, presently settled in Dhar, Ujjain, Indore, bhopal, Narsinghpur & Raisen.
The Naga were one of the ancient most kshatriya tribes of India who evolved from Suryawansha (the Solar Clan of ancient Kshtriyas of India) and ruled large parts of the country at different times. They spread throughout India during the period of the epic Mahabharata. Anthropologist Gelek Lonbsang believes they have distant ancestry with East Asians based on their similar physical features. The demi-god tribe called Suparnas (in which Garuda belonged) were arch-rivals of the Nagas. However, the Nagas near Kashmir seems to be the original abode of all of them. Places like Anantnag attests this theory.
The worshippers of Naga were supposedly known as Naga or Nagil. Some Nair and Bunt clans claims to be of Nagvanshi origin. The trace of nagvanshi can be find out in Chotanagpur i.e. Jharkhand (Rai) community and (Shahdeo) community are also nagvanshi Rajput.
Paramaras are Agnivanshi Rajputs that were near-neighbours of the Solankis. They originated as feudatories of the Rashtrakutas and rose to power in the 10th century. They ruled Malwa and the area at the border between present-day Gujarat and Rajasthan. Bhoja, the celebrated king of Malwa, belonged to this dynasty. In the 12th century, the Paramaras declined in power due to conflict with the Solankis and succumbed to attack from the Delhi sultanate in 1305.
Sinchimaay Mata, Durga in North India, Kali in Ujjain
Solankis are an Agnivanshi group descended from the Chalukyas of Karnataka who ruled much of peninsular India between the 6th and 12th centuries. In the 10th century, a local branch of the clan established control over Gujarat and ruled a state centered around the town of Patan. They went into decline in the 13th century and were displaced by the Vaghela.
Bhardwaj, Manavya, Parashar
List of ruling Rajput dynasties of the Indian subcontinent:
Janjua Rajput Hindushahi dynasty (964-1026 AD): This dynasty ruled parts of Afghanistan and Punjab. Jayapala was its first Rajput king who succeeded the last Brahmin king Bhimadeva. Its last king Bhimpala died in 1024.
Chauhan dynasty of Ajmer & Delhi : The Chauhans, ruled between 956 and 1192 AD, earlier over the eastern parts of the present day's Rajasthan with their capital at Ajmer and later extended their territory up to parts of modern-day Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. This Rajput dynasty was founded by Simharaj, who is famously known as the founder of the city of Ajmer. Prithviraj Chauhan was considered greatest of all Chauhan rulers. During his reign, the kingdom extended over Delhi, Ajmer, modern-day Rohilkhand, Kalinjar, Hansi, Kalpi, Mahoba etc. He conquered Bhatinda (in Punjab) from Ghaznavide ruler of Punjab and defeated Muhammad of Ghor in the first battle of Tarain. However, he was defeated in the second battle of Tarain, 1192.
Solanki dynasty: The Solankis established their rule over present day's Indian state of Gujarat between 945 and 1297 AD. Their kingdom came into prominence during the reign of Mulraj. They ruled with their capital situated at Anhilwara.
Parihara dynasty of Kannauj: Conquered Kannauj in 816 AD, which remained its capital for about a century, declined in 10th century.
Bargujar dynasty of Rajorgarh: Conquered Dhudhar in 9000 BC, Rajor remained its capital till declined in 10th century.
Chandelas of Khajuraho: This Rajput dynasty was founded by Jayasakthi. They ruled the areas across Bundelkhand with Khajuraho as their capital. The dynasty came to an end after Alauddin Khalji conquered Bundelkhand.
Gahadvalas of Kannauj: This Rajput dynasty ruled the kingdom of Kannauj for around a hundred years, beginning in the late 11th century.
Chand dynasty of Kumaon: Ruled much of Uttarakhand.
Katoch dynasty of Kangra: Ruled much of Himachal Pradesh and parts of Punjab.
Bundelas of Bundelkhand: Ruled Bundelkhand from 16th century onwards.