List of Deshastha Brahmin surnames

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Main article: Deshastha Brahmins

Deshastha Brahmins are the largest Brahmin subcaste from Maharashtra and northern Karnataka in India. The common Deshastha surnames Deshmukh, Kulkarni,Deshpande, and Joshi denote the families' ancestral professions.[1] For example, Kulkarni means "village scribe" (and later "district accountant") and Joshi means "Vedic astrologer."

A large number of Deshastha surnames are also derived by adding the suffix -kar to the village from which the family originally hails.[2] For example, Bidkar hails from the town of Beed, Dharwadkar hails from the town of Dharwad, and the Marathi poet V.V. Shirwadkar (colloquially know as Kusumagraj) hails from the town of Shirwad.

Some surnames describe personal characteristics, such as Buddhisagar meaning "ocean of intellect,"[3] Dharmadhikari meaning "one who is fit for religious duty,"[4] and Vyavahare meaning "learned or prosperous."

As detailed in the table below, Deshastha Brahmins are subdivided into Rigvedi and Yajurvedi subsects. They are also subdivided into lineages based on their descent from the original seven Vedic rishis (Saptarishi): Atri, Angiras (forefather of Bharadwaj), Bhrigu (forefather of Bhargava and Jamadagni), Gautama, Vasistha, Visvamitra (forefather of Kaushik), and Agastya or Kasyapa (there is conflicting interpretations between the Brahmanas and Upanisads with respect to Agastya's and Kasyapa's inclusion in the original Saptarishi). Lastly, each Deshastha Brahmin family worships a particular family deity and originally hails from a particular town or village.

Table of kunvi Surnames[edit]

Note: these are not exclusive surnames, as persons from other communities/castes may also bear some of the surnames below.



  1. ^ Karve, Irawati Karmarkar (1968). Maharashtra, land and its people. Gazetteer of India, Volume 60 of Maharashtra State gazetteers: General series, Maharashtra (India). Directorate of Govt. Printing, Stationery and Publications, Maharashtra State. p. 161. 
  2. ^ Chopra, Pran Nath (1982). Religions and Communities of India. Vision Books. p. 54. 
  3. ^ Naik, Gregory (2000). Understanding Our Fellow Pilgrims. Gujarat Sahitya Prakash. p. 66. ISBN 9788187886105. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ From family history