Mumbai Mahawar Vaish

Pravaras And Gotras

What is Pravara?

Pravara is defined as the group of sages that distinguishes the founder (starter) of one individual gotra from another. Pravara is the number of the most illustrious ?ishi, who belonged to that particular individual gotra. The pravara starts with the name of the chief gotra and ends with the name of the founder of the individual gotra. Generally, the pravara identifies the connection of a person with two, three or sometimes five most illustrious ?ishi making up a group in an individual gotra.

Pravara is a list of most excellent Rishis in a Gotra lineage. Some of the descendants of the most ancient Gotras started their own Gotras, however they maintained a list of Pravaras while doing so and attached the list of their most excellent Ancestors with this derived Gotras.

For instance the Vatsa Gotra has Bhargava, Chyavana, Jamadagnya , Apnavana as their Pravaras. What this means is that Vatsa Gotra has in its lineage all these Gotras and traces back its root to Bhrigu Rishi in the list of Gotrakarins.

The idea behind this Pravara system is probably to ensure that the derived Gotras still maintain track of their root Gotras, and this in turn is used to ensure that Bride and Bridegroom from no two derived Gotras coming from the same root Gotra marry each other. Every Gotra which is a derived Gotra maintains a list of Pravaras attached to it.

What is Gotra?

Gotra A term applied to a clan which refers to Kul, Vanash, Jati, Dal, Khanadan, Kutumb, Kunaba, Gharana, Ek hi jati ke logon ka samuh, etc. or a lineage.

The word Gotra is formed from the two Sanskrit words Gau (meaning Cow) and Trahi (meaning Shed). So Gotra means Cowshed, Gotra is like the Cowshed protecting a particular male lineage. Cows are extremely important sacred animals to Hindus and there were a large number of best breeds of Cows that ancient Hindus reared and worshipped, and hence the name Gotra referring to the system of maintaining individual male lineages.

It is an exogamous (division of Family) and patrilineal (this means based on or tracing descent through the male line; "a patrilineal society") to a common ancestor, usually a sage (Sadhu, Rishis) of ancient times.

A gotra must be distinguished from a kula. A kula is a set of people following similar cultural rituals, often worshiping the same divinity (the Kula-Devata, god of the clan). Kula does not relate to lineage or caste. In fact, it is possible to change one's kula, based on one's faith or I??'a-devata.

In Hindu society, the term "gotra" broadly refers to people who are descended in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor.

History of Gotra

The gotra system is part of a system of classification or identification of various Brahmin families in ancient times. The Gotra system is beleived to have come into existence, sometimes during the Vedic period. The gotra classification took form probably sometime during the Yajur Veda period, after the Rig Veda period. It is believed that the Gotras system came in to existence, during the period, around 10-8 Century B.C.

Origin of Gotra

The present day gotra classification is created from a core of 8 rishis (The Saptha rishis + Agastya). The Seven rishis are Gautama, Bhardwaja, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Vasistha, Kashyapa and Atri. Seven Rishis (Saptarshi) are recognized as the mind born sons of the creator Brahma. They desired offspring and received it.

There are 49 established Hindu gotras.Over the years the number of gotras increased due to:

  • Descendents of these Rishis also started new family lineage or new gotras (Kaundinya was a descendent of Vasihta, Vishwamitra was a descendent of Kaushika and Vatsa was a descendent of Jamadagni).
  • By inter marriage with other Brahmins.
  • Inspired by a saint whose name they bear as their own Gotra.
  • New groups like Kshatriyas (who were also makers of hymns) were taken into fold by some Rishis

The lines of descent from the major rishis are originally divided into Ganas [sub divisions] and each Gana is further divided into families. However, subsequently the term gotra is frequently applied to the ganas and to the families within the ganas interchangeably. Kuladevatas: These Rishis belonged to different sects like Shakti, Shavites and Vishnavites and had different deities for worship. Such deities came to be known as the Kuladevatas.

Importance of Gotra

A gotra is of immense importance to a Hindu for it shores up his identity. In olden times, every gotra had a definite task to perform. Thus every Veda had priests of specific gotras for their narration and teaching. Certain sacrifices require priests of a specific gotra only. The scientific reasoning behind the origins of the ancient Gotra System in the modern Hindu society to decide marriages or other things. In all probabilities, the modern Gotra system is the best method to verify the genetic feasibility of a marriage, if at all required, would be to avoid cousin marriages.

In Rituals

All Hindu ceremonies require a statement of the gotra. A devout Hindu speaks out his gotra and pravara every day in the morning. Gotra also comes of use during the performance of the rites of passage or sanskaras.

In Marriages

Gotra plays a very important role in marriages. The most important and the only rule in the Gotra system is that the people of the same gotra (sagotra) are not allowed to marry. A Bride and a Bridegroom belonging to the same Gotra are considered to be siblings and hence it is prohibited for them to marry even if they belong to distant families. Since they belonged to the same ancestor, it will be like a brother marrying a sister which is known to cause genetic disorders in their offspring.

At weddings, the gotra of the bride and the groom are proclaimed aloud to establish that they are not breaking this socially ordained genetic precaution. Marriages between certain gotras are also not allowed; for instance, marriages between those of the Vasishtha and Vishvamitra gotras are not permitted. This is because these two sages were opponents and their descendants are traditional foes.

Science behind Gotra

There is relation between Y Chromosome and the Hindu Vedic Gotra System Humans have in all 23 pairs of Chromosomes.In each pair one Chromosome comes from the Mother and the other comes from the Father. Hence in every cell we have 46 Chromosomes, of which 23 come from the mother and 23 from the father.

Of these 23 pairs, there is one pair called the Sex Chromosomes which decide the gender of the person. During conception, if the resultant cell has XX sex chromosomes then the child will be a girl and if it is XY then the child will be a boy. X chromosome decides the female attributes of a person and Y Chromosome decides the male attributes of a person.

When the initial embryonic cell has XY chromosome, the female attributes get suppressed by the genes in the Y Chromosome and the embryo develops into a male child. Since only men have Y Chromosomes, son always gets his Y Chromosome from his father and the X Chromosome from his mother. On the other hand daughters always get their X Chromosomes, one each from both father and mother.

So the Y Chromosome is always preserved throughout a male lineage (Father - Son - Grandson etc) because a Son always gets it from his father, while the X Chromosome is not preserved in the female lineage (Mother, Daughter, Grand Daughter etc) because it comes from both father and mother.

A mother will pass either her mother's X Chromosome to her Children or her father's X Chromosome to her children or a combination of both because of both her X Chromosomes getting mixed (called as Crossover). On the other hand, a Son always gets his father's Y Chromosome and that too almost intact without any changes because there is no corresponding another Y chromosome in his cells to do any mixing as his combination is XY, while that of females is XX which hence allows for mixing as both are X Chromosomes.

Y Chromosome is the only Chromosome which gets passed down only between the men in a lineage. Women have 2 X Chromosomes.They never get this Y Chromosome in their body. And hence Y Chromosome plays a vital role in modern genetics in identifying the male ancestry of a person. And the Gotra system was designed to track down the root Y Chromosome of a person quite easily. If a person belongs to Angirasa Gotra then it means that his Y Chromosome came all the way down over thousands of years of timespan from the Rishi Angirasa.

As women do not carry Y Chromosome, and their Sons will carry the Y Chromosome of the Father and hence the Gotra of a woman is said to be that of her husband after marriage.The ancient vedic Rishis hence very well knew the existence of the Y Chromosome and the paternal genetic material that was passed almost intact from father to Son, and hence created the Gotra system to identify their male lineages. Lord Buddha for instance belonged to Gautama Gotra which means that Buddha was a direct descendant of Rishi Gautama.

List of Mahawar Gotras






Bachlas Mandhaiya





Bachlas Rewari






Girgas Basaiwal





Girgas Kantiwal





Girgas Manethiwal





Girgas Mohalledar







Vedic Period

The Vedic period (or Vedic age) (ca.1750-500 BCE) was the period in Indian history during which the Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, were composed.

The Vedic period is characterised by Indo-Aryan culture associated with the texts of Vedas, sacred to Hindus, which were orally composed in Vedic Sanskrit. The Vedas are some of the oldest extant texts in India. The Vedic period, lasting from about 1750 to 500 BCE, contributed the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects of Indian subcontinent. In terms of culture, many regions of the subcontinent transitioned from the Chalcolithic to the Iron Age in this period.