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Total population
2.5 million (2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Majority: Jammu
Minority: Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana
Om.svg Hinduism
Islam and Sikhism
Related ethnic groups
Punjabis, Kangris and other Indo-Aryans

The Dogras or Dogra people, are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group in India and Pakistan consisting of the Dogri language speakers. They live predominantly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir,[2] and in adjoining areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and northeastern Pakistan.[3] Their historical homeland is known as Duggar.

Dogra Rajputs ruled Jammu from the 19th century, when Gulab Singh was made a hereditary Raja of Jammu by Ranjit Singh, whilst his brother Dhian Singh was the empire's prime minister of Punjab, until October 1947. Through the Treaty of Amritsar (1846), they acquired Kashmir as well. The Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army primarily consists of Dogras from the Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu region.[4]


The term Dogra is thought to derive from Durgara, the name of a kingdom mentioned in an eleventh century copper-plate inscription in Chamba. The inscription mentions the Raja of Chamba facing an attack by Kiras aided by the Lord of Durgara (durgāreśwara). In medieval times the term Durgara is believed to have turned into Duggar, eventually transforming to 'Dogra'. Kalhana's Rajatarangini makes no mention of a kingdom by any of these names, but the kingdoms could have been referred to by their capital cities (such as Vallapura, modern Billawar, or Babbapura, modern Babor). In modern times, the term Dogra turned into an ethnic identity, claimed by all those people that speak the Dogri language, irrespective of their religion.[5]


Scholar Omachanda Handa believes that the Durgara people were originally migrants from Rajasthan. The allusion to durg (fort) in their name indicates that they may have remained a warrior people, eventually founding powerful kingdoms between Chenab and Ravi, and possibly dominating up to the Sutluj river.[6]

According to M. A. Stein, there were some eleven Dogra states in the region, all of which were eventually absorbed into the Jammu state, which emerged as the most powerful among them.[7] Prior to the rise of Jammu, Babbapura (Babor) is expected to have been the chief state of Dogras. Lying 45 km east of Jammu, Babor contains the ruins of six magnificent temples representing a "thriving artistic activity".[8][9] The Rajatarangini mentions the Raja Vajradhara of Babbapura, vowing allegiance to Bhikshachara of Kashmir in 1120 AD, along with the chiefs of neighbouring kingdoms.[10]

Jammu Dogras[edit]

The Jammu Dogras traditionally inhabited the area between the slopes of the Shivalik range of mountains, the sacred lakes of Saroien sar and Mannsar but later spread over whole of Jammu region. They generally speak Dogri and other dialects similar to Dogri or western pahadi influenced languages. The majority of the Dogra are followers of Hinduism, but a large number in Jammu and Kashmir believe in other religions. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, some Dogras embraced Islam. These factors, together with the effects of immigration into the region, have resulted in the Dogra population of Jammu and Kashmir including members of all three religions.[3]

The Dogra dynasty emerged as a regional power, particularly after Rajput Maharaja Gulab Singh emerged as a warrior and his subjects received special martial recognition from the British Raj. The rule of Gulab Singh's Raj extended over the whole of the Jammu Region, a large part of the Ladakh region as early as March 1846, and a large part of the Indian Punjab (now Himachal Pradesh). The Kashmir Valley was handed over to Gulab Singh by the British government, as part of the territories ceded to the British government by Lahore State according to the provisions of Article IV of the Treaty of Lahore dated 9 March 1846. Under the Treaty of Amritsar in the same year, the Dogra king of Jammu and the state was thereafter known as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir State (Raj), also thereafter referred as Kashmir State. The term Dogra hence is more akin to the subjects of Himachal Pradesh, some areas of Punjab and the whole region of Jammu that was ruled by Raja Gulab Singh as part of the Dogra Raj irrespective of the religion of the inhabitants.[11]

Jammu and Kashmir[edit]

Gulab Singh, the first Maharaja of Dogra Rajput dynasty which ruled Jammu & Kashmir.

The Dogra dynasty was a dynasty of Hindu Rajputs who ruled Jammu & Kashmir from 1846 to 1947. They traced their ancestry to the Ikshvaku (Solar) Dynasty of Northern India (the same clan in which Lord Rama was born; he, therefore, is the 'kuldevta' (family deity) of the Dogras).

The Sikh Empire rule extended beyond the Jammu region and the Kashmir Valley to the Tibetan Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh and the Emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar. After the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, the British gave Kashmir and the title of 'Maharaja' to Gulab Singh – the chief minister – as a reward for aligning with them against the Sikhs.[12]


Cultural profile[edit]

  • Kud, a ritual dance performed in honour of Lok Devatas. This dance style is performed mostly at night. It is spontaneous and people of all ages and genders participate. Instruments used during the Kud are narshingha, chhaina, flute, and drums. The rhythm of music controls the movement of participants. This dance continues for the whole night. The number of participants ranges from 20 to 30 members.
  • Heren, a traditional theatre form performed during the Lohri festival by 10–15 people. It is mostly performed in hilly regions of Jammu, Udhampur and ramnagar.
  • Fumenie and Jagarana, a dance style performed by women on the eve of groom's departure to in-laws house. Both the songs are sung by a group consisting of 15–20 members. This traditional dance form depicts the feelings and emotions of women.
  • Paakh/Gwatri/Kark/Masade, a chorus narrative sung by a group of 10 singers without any musical instruments.
  • Gwatri, a singing–dance combined tradition in which the singers narrate some text which is acted by the Gwatari dancers.
  • Karak, a narrative ballet sung by a community called 'Jogies'. They narrate a popular folk tale in their dance style, performed by three members with accompaniment of a typical folk instrument called 'Rabab'.
  • Benthe, the chorus singing tradition performed specific community of tribal called Gujjar and Bakerwal. The dance is performed by 5–7 members.[13]

Dogra cuisine[edit]

Traditional dogra food-jammu and kashmir

Wheat, maize and bajra are staple food besides rice, cereals and a tangy preparation made of mango or tamarind popularly known as Ambal (अम्बल) or Maani (म्हाणी)/Ambal (अंबल).The whole dish is called Dal patt maani (दाल भत्त म्हाणी) and is savoured as a combination.[14] Mittha madra (मिट्ठा मदरा) is a favourite and is cooked from milk, dry fruits, and semolina. Preparations of Rajmash (a special variety of red kidney beans); Mash Da Madra (Yogurt based gravy for black lentils); Auryia a dish of curd fermented by rye; Kulth di Daal (Horse gram); Ambal made from pumpkin, jaggery and tamarind are favourites, especially during ceremonial cooking.[15] The expert cooks are called Siyans, usually Brahmins. Kalari is a milk preserved by coagulation of proteins and then fried in a pan to make it delicious.

Non-vegetarian food was limited to Rajputs and Vaish (Mahajans). Khatta meat is mutton cooked with sour pomegranate seeds (Anardana) or lime juice and flavoured with fumes of a burning charcoal soaked in mustard oil. Keyur (घ्यूर) is one of the well known foods of Dogras. It is prepared by flour and butter and served with sugar and curd. Mostly, it is served to bridegroom at the time of marriage by the in-laws. Kalaari is a favourite food of Dogras in the rainy season. It is prepared by flour mix, cottage cheese and milk cream (malai) with water with help of a small cup shaped pot. Kalari is served with milk. Kalari cheese is popular in the Jammu region and in Jammu and Kashmir state more generally. Babbru/pathoru are prepared with flour and fried in oil. Babbru is served with Maani/Potato dish/Kheer/Curd etc.Ghyoor(kyoor(क्यूर) is also a very popular dish in dogras which is prepared by using "maida" and "Ghee" and served with curd and sugar.

Kheer is a dish prepared from milk by adding some rice and dry fruit in it. It is served at all the special occasions and festivals. Another popular exotic dish is guchiyyan (dried black morel), usually added as an ingredient in pulao. As it grows naturally in forests and cannot be cultivated, it is a priced commodity (approx 500 Rs. per 100 g) and makes an excelled dish with mountain potatoes (pahadi aloo). Saffron or kesar is extensively used to flavour sweet dishes and for its anti-oxidant benefits.[16] Many types of pickles are prepared with Kasrod (Fiddlehead fern), Mango, Tyaoo, Lasoode and Girgle.[15][17]

Military history[edit]

The Dogra Regiment was among the regiments of the British Indian Army, which made significant contributions in both the world wars on all fronts from East Asia to Europe and North Africa. At Independence, it became an infantry regiment of the Indian Army composed largely but not exclusively of the Dogra people. The Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, another regiment of the Indian Army, consisting of mainly Dogras was formed out of the former army of the Kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir after it was absorbed into the Indian Army.[16]

Notable Dogras[edit]


  1. ^ "Abstract of Speakers' Strength of Languages and Mother Tongues - 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  2. ^ Sandhu, Kamaljit Kaur (4 June 2019). "Government planning to redraw Jammu and Kashmir assembly constituency borders: Sources". India Today. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  3. ^ a b "The People – Dogras". Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  4. ^ John Pike. "Punjab Regiment". Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  5. ^ Handa, Textiles, Costumes, and Ornaments of the Western Himalaya 1998, pp. 178–179.
  6. ^ Handa, Textiles, Costumes, and Ornaments of the Western Himalaya 1998, pp. 178–180.
  7. ^ Stein, Kalhana's Rajatarangini 1900, p. 432.
  8. ^ Saraf, D. N. (1987), Arts and Crafts, Jammu and Kashmir: Land, People, Culture, Abhinav Publications, pp. 198–, ISBN 978-81-7017-204-8
  9. ^ Babor Temple, Directorate of Tourism, Jammu, retrieved 25 July 2018.
  10. ^ Charak & Billwaria, Pahāṛi Styles of Indian Murals 1998, pp. 6–7.
  11. ^ "Dogra rulers and their run-ins with China". tribuneindia. 21 June 2020.
  12. ^ Nalwa, V., 2009. Hari Singh Nalwa-Champion of the Khalsaji. New Delhi: Manohar, p. 220, ISBN 81-7304-785-5.
  13. ^ Govt of J&K Website
  14. ^ Brien, Charmaine O' (15 December 2013). The Penguin Food Guide to India. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-93-5118-575-8.
  15. ^ a b KUMAWAT, LOVESH (18 May 2020). CUISINE. NotionPress. ISBN 978-1-64850-162-3.
  16. ^ a b "Index of /". Archived from the original on 17 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  17. ^ "Dogras organise cultural-cum-cuisine fest in New Delhi". tribuneindia. 17 March 2021. Retrieved 9 April 2021.

General bibliography[edit]