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Gaddi village men with hookah, on a mountain path near Dharamshala, India

The Gaddis are a tribe living mainly in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. They are Hindus and belong to several castes.

The Gaddi shepherd mainly spend their winter in the low hills of the Shiwalik range. When the snow melted and the high passes were clear they moved on to higher mountain meadows. Omacanda Hāṇḍā discusses the dubiety of these and concludes that "Nevertheless, it may be said with due certainty that the present-day Gaddis are the descendants of one of those casteless nomadic shepherds of the Indian plains who once lived around the Barmer area of Rajasthan" and infers this from the similarities of various costumes and accessories.[1]

Though frequently associated with the ancient Brahmpur kingdom at Chamba, although they played no major role in its governance, the origins of the Gaddi people are lost in time. There are at least four theories for their arrival in that place, often relying on the intertwining of oral history and myth, and in one case on the dubious ethnohistories of the British Raj era.


  1. ^ Hāṇḍā, Omacanda (2005). Gaddi Land in Chamba: Its History, Art & Culture : New Light on the Early Wooden Temples. Indus Publishing. pp. 28–32. ISBN 978-8-17387-174-0.

Further reading[edit]

  • Verma, V. 1996. Gaddis of Dhauladhar: A Transhumant Tribe of the Himalayas. Indus Publishing Company, New Delhi.

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