Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
Gotra is something most people have probably never even heard about but is important to some.

Gotra is equivalent to a lineage, similar to a family name, but the given name of a family is often different from it and may reflect the traditional occupation, place of residence, or another important family characteristic rather than the lineage itself.

So what is all this hassle about it which seems to bring unrelated people closure while sometimes unnecessary tensions between two groups and many other problems let’s find out:

What is Gotra?

Let us start with the most important and burning question of it all,“What the hell is Gotra?”. According to the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 2.2.4, Kashyapa, Atri, Vasistha, Vishvamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, and Bharadvaja are seven sages (also known as saptarishi). The progeny of these sages are declared to be gotras.

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Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
Saptarishi

There exists another theory about it that: sons and disciples of a sage would have the same gotra; it is believed that they possess similar thoughts and philosophies. People of the same gotra can be found across different castes.

How many Gotra are there in the Nepalese scenario?

It is said that there are the main 8 gotras evolved from the Rishis (sages) who were mind-born sons of Bramha, one of the Hindu Trinity. They are Saptarishis (सप्तऋषि, the famous 7 sages) – Kashyapa, Atri, Vashista, Vishwamitra, Gautama, Jamadagni, Bharadvaja, and the 8th one is Agastya.

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
Land Of Temples

Can you change your gotra?

Since it comes down from the man’s side. Therefore if a man had to change his Gotra, he would have to change his DNA which is not possible but there have been some cases in the past done by some individuals most famous of them being Prithvi Narayan Shah, the great unifier himself had his gotra changed which challenges this notion completely. Now either that was a fraud committed by a greedy priest or changing it is entirely possible for man.

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
The Great Unifier changed his gotra (Image Source: Wikipedia)

However in the case of women, once she gets married, her gotra supposedly changes to her husband’s. Under this system, one is allowed to marry their aunt’s children. The changing of gotra does not mean that the woman’s genes have changed, and you share an equitable gene pool across all your cousins. So beware.

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
After marriage woman changes her gotra to her husband

Why one should not marry in the same gotra?

Now this question is the most heard one in the Hindu circle since many love stories and hearts have been broken by parents and priests because of this reason so what is the reason behind it? In Vedic/Hindu culture, the main reason for marriage is prohibited in the same gotra is that being from the same gotra, they will be called male and female siblings because their first ancestor is the same so the such relationship is termed incest. Yikes!!

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
Result of Incest

What is the importance of gotra in Nepalese society?

In the predominantly Hindu society of Nepal, the term means clan. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor or patriline. Generally, the gotra forms an exogamous unit, with the marriage within the same gotra being prohibited by custom is being regarded as incest which we have already mentioned

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
A Nepalese wedding

List of Nepali Gotras:

Well, the final inquiry is what are the common Nepali gotras and the surnames associated with them? They are:

Agasti (अगस्ती) : Dhungel

Angira (अंगिरा) : Joshi, Sedai, Saunak, Shahi

Atri (अत्रि) : Adhikari, Arjel/Arjyal, Bam (Raakse Thakuri), Bhatta (Pashupat), Chapagai, Gotame, Khatiwoda, Mishra, Ojha, Wosti

Aatreya (आत्रेय) : Aryal, Bhatta (Duwadi), Devkota, Dawadi, Dulal, Kalikote (Khadka), Paudel, Pokharel (Pani), Rosyara, Sharma, Sigdel, Thapa (Bagale)

Bharadwaaj (भरद्वाज) : Adhikari, Bhatta (Palyal), Chaulagai, Devkota, Jamarkattel, Lohani, Niraula, Panthi, Pandey (Kuleta), Panta, Pokharel (Dudh), Rawat, Shahi, Siwakoti / Shiwakoti, Subedi, Thami (Adhikari), Thapaliya, Upadhaya, Wagle, [Bhandari (Niraula, Suntakhane)]

Dhananjaya (धनञ्जय) : Basel/ Batsayal, Basnet, Bhusal, Budhathoki (Khulal), Dhamala, Gauripitri/ Gairipippli, Guragai, Humagai, Karki (Khulal), Khadka (Khulal), Kukurkote, Kunwar, Pangeni, Rijal, Thapa, [Bhandari (Bhusal)]

Garg (गर्ग) : Bastola, Bhatta (Lamichhane), Bhetuwal, Bhurtel, Chudal, Gajurel, Khetan, Thapa (Lamichhane), Rokaha, Rishal, Shah (Kaskeli Khand)

Gautam (गौतम) : Chanda, Bam (Thakuri), Dangal, Mahat, Pandey (Paleu), Tripathi, Tiwari

Ghrita Kaushik (घृत कौशिक) : Baral, Karki (Sutar), Khanal, Nepal, Pandit

Kapil (कपिल) : Khati, Daani, Bohora

Kashyap (कश्यप) : Adhikari (Bhadare, Khilchine and Kaubali), Badaal, Bhatta (Kalauni, Mushyal), Bogati, Budhathoki (Sodari), Darji, Gadtaula, Gartaula, Ghimire, Hada, Kathayat, Kumal, Kumbhairana, Pade, Pandey (Badkhora, Badaal, Bhumihar, Simaaldiya), Rayamajhi, Shah (Thakuri), Sahi, Thapa (Godar), Tiwari

Kaudinya (कौण्डिन्य) : Achraya, Baskota, Bhandari (Kaala), Gaagle, Joshi, Khadka, Kharel, Marashini, Neupane, Pakurel, Paneru, Pathak, Parajuli, Sapkota, Satyal, Thapa (Bagale and Gamle), Trital

Kausalya (कौसल्य) : Pathak, Thami (Chhettri)

Kausik (कौशिक) : Bam (Chhatyal Thakuri), Baniya, Bastakoti, Bhandari (Aachhami), Bidari, Dhital, Dhungana, Gaudel, Khadka, Khapatari (Khadka, Bistha, Budhathoki and Basnet), Lamichhane, Luitel, Majhi, Pathak, Phuyal, Pudasaini, Raghubansi, Regmi, Rimal, Sanjel, Shahi (Sijapati), Tiwari, Thami

Kundin (कुण्डिन) : Trital, Banjad/ Banjade

Mandabya (माण्डव्य) : Bajagai, Bajhai, Gyawali, Katuwal, Maskey, Panthi [Bhandari (Bajgain)]

Maudagalya (मौद्गल्य) : Belkadhi, Karki (Mudula), Koirala, Kuinkel, Rume, Simkhada, Timsina/ Timilsina, Upreti

Parasar (परासर) : Dhimal (khas), Karki (Lama) , Kattel, Marhattha

Ravi (रवि) : Shah (Kalyaal Thakuri)

Sankhyayan (सङ्ख्यायन) : Pandey (Desh)

Shandilya (शाण्डिल्य) : Kafle/ Kaphle, Mahat, Pathak, Prasai, Tiwari

Upamanyu (उपमन्यु) : Bartaula, Bhatta (Duwal), Dhakal, Mainali, Pathak

Vishwamitra (विश्वमित्र): Bhatta (Alina, Dumadi, Nirbansi, Rai, and Rayal)

Vatsa (वत्स) : Bhatta (Naagar), Dahal, Dayal, Kuwar, Kharaal, Lamsal, Rana, Rupakheti

Vashishta (वशिष्ठ): Bhandari (Thansinghe), Bhatta (Tapleli), Bhattarai, Chalise, Dawadi, Gaire, Gamnage, Kharel, Mudabhari, Pathak, Raut, Suyal (Garthi), Suyal (Thapa), Thangsine

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity
Man behind gotras

Wow there are so many of them and this list contradicts many things we have said beforehand in our article but what is Hinduism if not contradictions?

Conclusion: Is it important or is it just a farce?

Well, people have been asking the same questions for centuries and still haven’t got anywhere near it. So I leave it to my readers to find some headway with it.

Gotra: A Hassle or a Necessity

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