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Patel is an Indian surname/title representing a caste of village leaders. In the state of Gujarat, from the middle of the 1500s through the 1900s, the Patel of a village would be a member of the village committee. Patel is now also used as a surname among communities like Patidar, Agharia Patel, Leuva Patel (or Leva Patel), Kadva Patel, Matiya Patel, Gujjar Patel, Muslim Patel.[1][2]


The term patel derives from the word Patidar, literally "one who holds pieces of land called patis", implying a higher economic status than that of the landless.[3]


The name Patel is found primarily in the Indian state of Gujarat,[4] as well as the states of Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and in some eastern part of Madhya Pradesh; and metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Kanpur, Banda and Delhi.

In the Canadian city of Toronto, "Patel" is the sixth most common surname.[5][better source needed]


Modern Patel communities have branched out of agriculture to a variety of business trades, especially in hotels in the United States[6].

"Patel hotel" phenomenon[edit]

The "Patel hotel" or "Patel motel" phenomenon, as it is popularly known,[6] has made a major impact on the American hospitality industry.

A sizable number of Indian immigrants to the United States came in the 1960s and 1970s. Many of them worked in blue collar jobs and saved up to buy undervalued or dilapidated properties, turning them into businesses.[7] As many as 50% of mid-sized motels and hotel properties all over the US are owned by people of Indian origin. Of this nearly one-third have the surname Patel—a popular one among Indian Gujaratis (those that came from Gujarat).[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Koli Patel
  2. ^ patel, anoop. "The Gujarat Model That Did Not Work for the Patidars". The Citizen. Retrieved 2017-01-26. 
  3. ^ Basu, Pratyusha (2009). Villages, women, and the success of dairy cooperatives in India: making place for rural development. Cambria Press. pp. 51–55. ISBN 978-1-60497-625-0. Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Washburn, Edward (2005). India Old and New: With a Memorial Address. p. 178. ISBN 0-543-99414-7. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Varadarajan, Tunku. "A Patel Motel Cartel?". The New York Times, 4 July 1999.
  7. ^ Skop, Emily (2007). "Asian Indians and the Construction of Community and Identity". In Ines M. Miyares, Christopher A. Airriess. Contemporary ethnic geographies in America. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 271–90 [277]. ISBN 978-0-7425-3772-9. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Kamdar, Mira (2007). Planet India: how the fastest-growing democracy is transforming America and the world. Simon and Schuster. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7432-9685-4. 
  9. ^ Ungar, Sanford J. (1998). Fresh blood: the new American immigrants. U of Illinois Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-252-06702-0.