Beyond Metros, Uttarakhand

Heard of Uttarakhand’s ‘Gotra Tourism’?

In an effort to promote ‘Gotra’ (clan lineage), the Uttarakhand Government plans to to offer ‘gotra tourism’ packages to tourists. Announcing the plan a few days ago, Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said that the idea is to encourage visitors to come to the Himalayan state to update their family records, visit places associated with the sages after whom the principal gotras are associated, and in turn, promote the state tourism.

Rawat said that the tourism department will develop the places associated with the seven sages who are said to have meditated in Dev bhoomi, the Uttarakhand Himalayas. In addition, logos will be developed for each gotra so that people can identify with their gotras in a better manner.

As quoted in a TOI report, Purshottam Sharma, head of Ganga Sabha , the body representing the teerth purohits in Haridwar, said, “For at least the past four centuries, people from as far as Sindh, which is now in Pakistan, have been coming to us to maintain their family records. Even when there were no proper roads or bridges, people covered long distances to update family records. We have been been performing our duty diligently. Now if the state government wants to help it should first provide better infrastructure at pilgrimage sites so that people do not encounter difficulties while travelling to these places.”

Know about Gotra

According to Hindu culture, is commonly considered to be equivalent to clan. It broadly refers to people who are descendants in an unbroken male line from a common male ancestor or patriline.

The name of the gotra can be used as a surname, but it is different from a surname and is strictly maintained because of its importance in marriages among Hindus, especially among the higher castes.

As per the Hindu belief, the saptarishis — seven sages — Kashyap, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Jamadagni and Bharadwaj —were the originators of the gotras. To this list, Agastya is also sometimes added.

These eight sages are called gotrakarins, from whom all 49 gotras (especially of the Brahmins) have evolved.

 

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