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Bhat, Bhatt, Bhatta or Bhatra is a surname common in most parts of India. Meaning priest or scribe in Sanskrit, it is title given to learned Brahmins. A predominantly Hindu last name, it is found most commonly in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and in West Bengal (as Bhattācharya) and some parts of Karnataka.

The earliest reference of Bhatt can be found in Chandragupta Maurya's empire. In Mudrarakshasa, while describing different divisions in Chandragupta's army, a reference can be found to Bhatt-Bala. Here Bala means a division, hence Bhatt-Bala would mean a division composed of Bhatt.

Sikh Bhats[edit]

Sikh Bhat also known as Bhatra, tradition and Sikh text states their ancestors came from Punjab, where the Raja Shivnabh and his kingdom became the original 16th century followers of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism. The Raja's grandson Prince Baba Changa earned the title ‘Bhat Rai’ – the ‘Raja of Poets, and then settled himself and his followers all over India as missionaries to spread the word of Guru Nanak, where many northern Indians became Bhat Sikhs.[1] The Bhats also contributed 123 compositions in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (pp.1389–1409), known as the "Bhata de Savaiyye".[2] As Guru Nanak and Sikhism do not support the caste system, the Bhat people do not consider themselves as a caste in the typical sense due to the message of Guru Nanak, but a clan within Sikhism created by Guru Nanak which is not shackled by the caste system. The majority were from the northern Brahmin caste (Bhat clan),(Bhat (surname)) as the Prince Baba Changa shared the Brahmin heritage. The sangat also had many members from different areas of the Sikh caste spectrum, such as the Hindu Rajputs and Hindu Jats who joined due to Bhat Sikh missionary efforts. There hereditary occupations consisted of bards, poets, missionaries, astrologists, genealogists, salesmen. According to Nesfield as quoted in W. Crooke, The Tribes and Castes of the North Western India, 1896, Bhatts frequently visited the courts of princes and the camps of warriors, recited their praises in public, and kept records of their genealogies.

Notable Bhatts[edit]

Notable Bhatt(a)s include:



Sages, scholars and philosophers[edit]




The term Bhattaraka has been used in spirituality. In Jainism the term is used to mean priest.

There exists the deity Vaidyanatha Bhattarka, whose idol exists in the Pulindeshvara Temple of Orissa.[2]

The Buddhist goddess Tara is also known as Bhattarika.

In the Bengal and Orissa, worship of another goddess Bhattarika exists. There is a festival in her name in Sasanga (near Badamba Tehsil of Cuttack), Orissa.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haqiqat Rah Muqam shivnabh raje ki page 624 [p.1248]khari
  2. ^ P. 103 Tāntric art of Orissa By Jitāmitra Prasāda Siṃhadeba
  3. ^ P.408 Land and people of Indian states and union territories: in 36 volumes. Orissa By S. C. Bhatt, Gopal K. Bhargava