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Not to be confused with Dogar.
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Jammu region, Himachal Pradesh, East Punjab in India and Azad Kashmir, West Punjab in Pakistan
Predominantly Om.svg Hinduism
Related ethnic groups

The Dogras (Dogri: डोगरा / ڈوگرا) are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group in India and Pakistan. Dogra Rajputs ruled Jammu from the 19th century, when Gulab Singh was made a hereditary Raja of Jammu by the Sikh Emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh, till Oct 1947. Through the Treaty of Amritsar (1846), they acquired Kashmir as well. They live predominantly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir, and in adjoining areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and northeastern Pakistan.[1] The Brahmin Dogras are predominantly Saraswat Brahmins, genetically of common origin with Saraswat Brahmin of Kashmir.[2]

The Dogra Regiment and Punjab Regiment of India primarily consists of Dogras and Sikhs.[3]

The Jammu region[edit]

The Jammu region, one of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir state (the others being the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh), is bound on the north by the Pir Panjal Range of the middle Himalayas, in the south by Punjab, to the east by Ladakh, and close to the west by Pakistan. The lower Himalayan ranges begin behind the town of Jammu, which rests on a slope over 1,300 feet (400 m) above sea level, overlooking and commanding the plain watered by the Chenab, Ravi, Tawi and Ujh rivers. The Jammu region consists of ten districts: Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Doda, Poonch, Kishtwar, Reasi, Samba, Ramban and Rajouri. The city of Jammu is the winter capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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. The majority of the Dogra are followers of Hinduism, but a large number in Jammu and Kasmir 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.

The Dogra Raj emerged as a regional power, particularly after 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, for assisting the British during the Anglo-Sikh wars, 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.

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 sexes participate. Instruments used during the Kud are Narshingha, chhaina, flute, drumsm etc. 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.
  • 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.
  • Bakh/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.[4]

Etymology of Jammu and Dogra[edit]

The origins of the name "Jammu" are shrouded in mystery, as is the history of the people inhabiting the territory, popularly known as Duggar. The towns of the region with their fortresses stand testimony to a distinct cultural and linguistic identity. Some try to trace the origin of the name to the word jambudv*ipchandraa, a combination of the words Jambu and dwipa (island). According to Walter Hamilton, "It is possible that an ocean may at one time have reached the base of these mountains forming high table lands into islands."[5]

The Chinese traveler Xuanzang describes the valley of Pamir as "the centre of Jambudwipa." Some attribute the name to Jambavantha or Jamwant, the Riksharaja (the king of the bears in the army of King Sugriva in the Ramayana), who is said to have meditated in the Peer Kho Cave on the banks of the Tawi River. Another popular belief is that Jammu owes its name to Raja Jambulochan, and the city remains significant since the 14th century BC. According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India the origin of the word "Dogra" is said to have arisen from the fact that the cradle of the Dogra people lies between the two lakes of Sruinsar and Mansar. Dwigart Desh (meaning country of two hollows) was converted into Duggar and Dugra, which then became Dogra.

The Royal House of Jammu and Kashmir (Dogra dynasty)[edit]

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).

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

Among the enlightened rulers of Jammu was Raja Ranjit Dev (1728–1780) who introduced certain social reforms such as a ban on 'Sati' (immolation of the wife on the funeral pyre of the husband) and female infanticide. Later, under Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the state became part of the Sikh Empire of the Punjab after it was captured from its Afghan rulers. Ranjit Singh rendered this state to his general, Maharaja Gulab Singh Jamwal, who belonged to the Jamwal Rajput clan that ruled Jammu. He extended the boundaries of Jammu to western Tibet with the help of General Zorawar Singh.

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.[6]


Dogra cuisine[edit]

Wheat, maize and bajra are staple food besides rice, cereals and a tangier preparation made out of mango or tamarind popularly known as maani. The whole dish is called dal puth maani and is savoured as a combination. Mitha madra is a favourite and is cooked from milk, dry fruits, and semolina. Preparations of rajmash (a special variety of red kidney beans); auria a dish of curd fermented by rye; ambal made from pumpkin, jaggery and tamarind are favourites, especially during ceremonial cooking. The expert cooks are called Siyans, usually Brahmins. Kalari is a milk preserved by cogulation of proteins and then fried in a pan to make it delicious.[7]

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. Keur 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 mustard oil. Babbru is served with maani/potato/kheer/curd.

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.[8]

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.[8]

Notable Dogras[edit]


  1. ^ "People of Jammu-dogras of jammu". Retrieved 2012-01-19. 
  2. ^ "Genetic polymorphisms for 17 Y-chromosomal STR haplotypes in Jammu and Kashmir Saraswat Brahmin population. B Yadav, A Raina, TD Dogra". Legal Medicine 12 (5), 249-255,Elsevier Publications. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-07. 
  3. ^ John Pike. "Punjab Regiment". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  4. ^ Govt of J&K Website
  5. ^ Walter Hamilton, Description of Hindustan, pg. 499
  6. ^ Nalwa, V., 2009. Hari Singh Nalwa-Champion of the Khalsaji. New Delhi: Manohar, p. 220, ISBN 81-7304-785-5.
  7. ^ angurana
  8. ^ a b "Index of /". Retrieved 2012-01-19.