[Himachal GK] The Tribes of Kangra - Gaddis and Gujjars

The Gaddis 

The  Gaddis,  a  semi-nomadic  tribe,  are  the  sheep  and goats  rearers  of Kangra  and  Chamba  districts.  The  Gaddis are  transhumant  people. According to the most commonly

held view the term ‘Gaddi’ derives its name from the Mount Kailash which is the seat or throne  (Gaddi) of Lord Shiva and the  people  who  found  asylum  and  settled  in Bharmaur  (in  district Chamba),  the  territory  of  Lord  Shiva’s  gaddi, came  to  be  called  as  the Gaddis.

  Pic : A Gaddi With his Sheep

The Gaddis  have been notified  as  a  scheduled  tribe  in Himachal Pradesh. These  shepherds  migrate  to  plains  and valleys  areas  in  winters and to higher reaches in summers in order to avail  green pastures. There are  specific  rules about  the  movement  of  the  Gaddis.  For  instance, they should  not  halt  with  their  flocks  for  longer  than  one night at any single halting place in any forest in which they have no rights of grazing.

Gaddi tribe  is  known  for  its unique  culture  with  respect to their  costumes and dresses, food habits, rituals and festivals, etc. Of late, due to migration of the better  of  families  to  the plains  or  valleys  in  Kangra district  and  the consequent higher education and economic empowerment, their traditional life styles have undergone a see change for the betterment of the tribe.

The Gujjars

The Gujjars is another nomadic tribe of the Kangra district. While the Hindu Gujjars  have  permanently  settled,  their  Muslim  counterparts  are  still sticking to nomadic pastoralism. They are found in Dehra, Nurpur and areas adjoining the plains (Kandi areas). The muslim gujjars are deeply attached to  their  tribal  customs,  rites  and rituals.

  Pic: Residence of Gujjars

These  nomads  climb  up  the  hills during summers and return to the plains in winters.The economy of these Gujjars is mainly dependent on the animal husbandry and forests. Most of them  are  landless  and  their  economic  status  depends upon  the  number  of buffaloes one possesses. Illiteracy has been found  to be the major cause of their backwardness.

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