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Sculpture of a Gowari man in a traditional getup at Shaheed Gowari Memorial, Nagpur

Gowari or Govari (Marathi: गोवारी) is a Hindu caste/ ethnic tribal group predominantly living in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh states of India.


They are traditionally cattle herdsmen of Maharashtra (and are neither milk seller nor cow owner).[1]

Marathi is the mother tongue of most of Gowaris, and Hindi is of rest.

God of Gowari community is Shri Khodekhodvan.[2]


The maximum concentration of their population is in the districts of Nagpur and Gondia[3] where they are around 50 thousand to 1 lakh.

All the districts surrounding these two have population of 10 thousand to 50 thousand.


Cow worshiping[edit]

Like all Hindus, cow is the most sacred animal for Gowaris, but she holds a more special place for them.[1]

On the next day of Diwali, there is a festival known as Govardhan Pooja/ Bali Pratipada. On this day, Gowaris decorate cows beautifully, special worshiping is done and blessings are asked for.

They also make a heap of cowdung which is considered sacred, in their yard, put durva and flowers into it.[4]

Dhaal pooja[edit]

Dhaal pooja is a custom where Gowaris worship a dhaal (made of a long bamboo and more things) denoting deceased unmarried men or women of their family, which had unnatural death. This type of worshiping shows tribal roots of the community.

Marriage system[edit]

Marriage within one’s clan is prohibited.

Marriage between a boy and a girl whose maternal uncles belong to the same clan is not allowed.[3]


[3] Shendre, Chaudhary, Neware, Sahare, Saroware, Chachane, Raut, Kohale, Kolhe, Ambedare, Waghade, Sonwane, Gajbe, Wagare, Chamlate, Mokashi, Padile, Botare, Yesansure, Nagose, Khekre (Kekade), Kalsarpe, Mogre, Nehare, Bhonde, Phunne (Funne), Mankar, Bhoyar, Bhimate, Baglate,Dewhare,Mandalwar, warthi,lasunte,kawre,dudhkuwar, Tangse ,Thakare

Gowari Stampede[edit]

Shaheed Gowari Memorial at Zero Mile, Nagpur

There had been a stampede during a protest in Nagpur on 23 November 1994 when 114 people from Gowari community were killed and more than 500 were injured.[5]

A monument named as Gowari Shaheed Smarak has been built in Nagpur near Zero Milestone (the geographical centre of India) to commemorate those who died in this tragedy. Also the nearby flyover (Sitabuldi area, Nagpur) has been named Adivasi Gowari Shaheed flyover which is the longest in Nagpur.[2]


  1. ^ a b The tribes and castes of the central provinces of India Part II Volume III, By R.V. Russell, R.B.H. Lai, Page 160 http://books.google.co.in/books?id=yhV2DkrdNFkC&pg=PA160&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. ^ a b http://gowaricommunity.blogspot.com http://gowari-community.blogspot.com
  3. ^ a b c MAHARASHTRA : LAND AND ITS PEOPLE. MAJOR CASTES AND TRIBES, page 61, 62, by the Government of state of Maharashtra, India http://www.maharashtra.gov.in/pdf/Land%20&%20People%20%20Final/L%20&%20P%20pdf/Chapter%20II/2%20Major%20Castes%20and%20Tribes.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.sanatan.org/en/festivals/hindu/diwali.htm#12
  5. ^ 1994 Gowari stampede

External links[edit]