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A Tirth Purohit at the Ram Chandra Goenka Zenana Bathing Ghat, Kolkata.

Purohit, in the Indian religious context, means family priest, from puras meaning "front", and hita, "placed". The word is also used synonymously with the word pandit, which also means "priest". Tirth Purohit means the Purohits who sit at the fords of the holy rivers or holy tanks and who have maintained the records of the forefathers of the Hindu family for thousands of years.

Rajpurohit was an ancient term for a priest who acted for royalty, carrying out rituals and providing advice. In this sense, it is synonymous with rajguru. Hermann Kulke and Dietmar Rothermund note that, "There is much evidence in ancient texts that there were two ideal types of Brahmins in those days, the royal priest or advisor [rajpurohit, uprohit(Upreti),rajguru] and the sage (rishi) who lived in the forest and shared his wisdom only with those who asked for it."[1] They are generally found in States of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal. Their origin is in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. The term's modern use in this sense has been described by Sumit Sarkar as a "self-conscious archaism".[2]


  1. ^ Kulke, Hermann; Rothermund, Dietmar (2004) [1986]. A History of India (Fourth ed.). Routledge. p. 5. ISBN 9780415329194. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  2. ^ Sarkar, Sumit (2002). Beyond Nationalist Frames: Postmodernism, Hindutva, History. Indiana University Press. p. 73. ISBN 9780253342034. Retrieved 25 December 2012.