India | Himachal Pradesh


Gaddis are an agricultural-cum-pastoral semi-nomadic tribe native to Chamba District, Himachal Pradesh. They inhabit the land south of Dhaula Dhar into the northern part of Kangra. A large number of Gaddis live in Chamba. Gaadi is the language spoken.

Gaddis believe in Hinduism. The four classes of Gaddis are Brahmans, Khatris and Rajputs who wear the sacred thread, Thakurs and Rathis who do not wear it, and a menial or dependent class. The dependent class consists of Kolis, Riharas, Lohars, Badhis, Sipis, and Halis.

Gaddis live in high hills where winter is usually severe and long. They move up and down the hills in summer and winter with their animals. Light utensils, maize flour, salt, and some necessities are carried while migrating. All the belongings are tugged in sheepskin bag, and huka and tobacco in a leather pouch. They take shelter under trees during adverse weather and rains. Otherwise, they sleep and live in open area. The dogs, which are specially bred, are used to watch sheep and goats because of its special capacity to drive away the bears, tigers and hyena.

The Nags, Sidhs, Kailung (father of all snakes), Devis, Birs, and Autars (spirit of person who died childless and causes sickness) are worshipped. The male goats are sacrificed on different stages of agriculture. Widow marriage is allowed except for Brahmans. The Basua on first Baisakh, the Patroru on first Bhadon, the Sair on first Assuj, the Lohri on first Magh, and the Dholru on first Chet are the fairs they celebrate. They go on pilgrimages to Bhawan and Jwalamukhi in Kangra during the month of Chet, and to shrines in Bharmaur during Bhadon and Assuj month.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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