Thursday, February 4, 2016


Gotra (also spelled as Gothra in South India) in Hindu society refers to a group of people who trace their ancestry to a common male ancestor. Some of the common Gotras are Bharadvaja, Sandilya, Kashyapa and Vatsa.

Technical Definition of Gotra

  1. Gotra means an enclosure for cows. Just as cows of a cowherd flock together in a shelter, so too people of similar family and lineage are bound by the same gotra.[1]
  2. Gautama and Bharadvaja, Visvamitra and Jamadagni, Vashishtha and Kashyapa and Shandilya are seven sages (also known as Saptarishi); the progeny of these seven sages is declared to be gotras.[2]
  3. A descendant beginning with a grandson is termed Gotra.[3]
  4. Gotra is the instrument by which knowledge is spread. Go also means rays of knowledge and tra means instrument. People who belong to a Gotra spread knowledge.


  1. Rig Veda
  2. Brihadaranyaka Upanisad 2.2.6
  3. Panini - apatyam pautraprabhrti gotram (IV. 1. 162)

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