History and origin
The Girnara Brahmin get their name from the town of Girinagar, now Junagadh, where they lived before the arrival of the Audichya Brahmin. Another interpretation of their name is that it was acquired on the fact that they lived on the foothills of the Girnar hills. The community is said to have originated in the Himalayas, and settled in the Girnar hills, which is considered as sacred by both the Hindus and Jains of Saurashtra. They are now found mainly in the districts of Junagadh, Jamnagar and Kutch. The Girnara are a Gujarati speaking community.
The Girnara have five sub-groups, the Madhavpura, Chorwadia, Ajakia,Jamnagar, Panai and Bardai. These subgroups are named after the villages where they first settled. For example, Madhavpur and Chorwad are situated near Junagadh and Ajaka near Porbander. All these groups are of equal status. The community is further divided into gotras, the main ones being the Bharadwaj, Kashyap, Kauchchas, Kaurvas, Maundas, Saudamas, Kaushas, Krishnatri, Sandilya, Vats, Bhaginas, Vashsist and Gargwa. Like other Hindu communities, they are endogamous and practice clan exogamy.
The Girnara are essentially a community of landowners and cultivators. Prior to the carrying out of land reforms after the independence of India, the Girnara together with the Nagar Brahmins were the largest landowners in Saurashtra. Many Girnara are still employed as temple priests. The community have its own caste association, the Samast Brahmin Samaj, which acts as a community welfare association.
- People of India Gujarat Volume XXI Part One edited by R.B Lal, P.B.S.V Padmanabham, G Krishnan & M Azeez Mohideen pages 414-417