Total population



Hinduism, Sikhism and Islam

Related ethnic groups
  • Brahmins
  • Rajputs
  • Punjabis
  • Seraikis

The Dogras (Dogri, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu: ڈوگرا / डोगरा / dogra; Tibetan, Ladakhi: སྀན་པ / sin-pa or ཤྀན་པ / shin-pa ) are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group in South Asia. Being a diversified group, the Dogras include both Savarnas such as Brahmins, Rajputs and Non-savarnas. The Dogras also incluide merchant castes (Vaishyas) such as Mahajans. Rajput Dogras are believed to be Suryavanshi Rajputs of Chattari origin, migrating many centuries ago from Rajputana (now called Rajasthan) to the hilly areas of Jammu and lower altitude areas of Himachal Pradesh (Kangra, Mandi, Bilaspur and Hamirpur). They live predominantly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir but also in adjoining areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and northeastern Pakistan.[1] They speak their own language, Dogri, which was recognized as one of the national languages of India in 2003. Most Dogras are Hindus, but some are Muslims and Sikhs.


The Jammu region

The Jammu region, which is one of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir state (the other two being the Kashmir Valley and Ladakh), is bounded 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 in Pakistan. The lower Himalayan ranges begin behind the town of Jammu, which rests on a slope of over 1300 feet 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 J&K.

The Jammu Dogras traditionally more inhabited the area between the slopes of Shivalik range of mountains, the sacred lakes of Saroien sar and Mannsar but they spread over whole of Jammu region. They generally speak the Dogri and other dialects too have similarity with Dogri. Majority are followers of Hinduism but a good number in J&K of Dogra believes in other religions also. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, some Dogras embraced Sikhism and some embraced Islam; these factors, together with the effects of immigration into the region, have resulted in the J&K “Dogra” population including members of all three religions. The Duggar Raj emerged as a Regional domain, more particularly with Maharaja Gulab Singh emerging as a warrior and the subjects of in his domain getting special martial recognision by the British Government/ Empire. The rule of Gulab Singh extended over whole of Jammu Region and large part of Ladakh region even by March 1846 and was more known as Dogra Raj (although a large part of Punjab (now Himachal Pardesh) too was traditionally known as Dogra clan / race irrespective of the religious faith one held); and it was in March 1846 that the Kashmir Valley was also handed over to Gulab Singh by British Government (being part of the territories ceded to the British Government by the Lahore State according to the provisions of Article IV of the treaty of Lahore, dated 9 March 1846) under Treaty of Amritsar , the Dogra king of Jammu and the State was thereafter known as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir State (Raj), also referred as Kashmir State thereafter. The term Dogra hence is more akin to the subjects of Himachal Pradesh, some areas of Punjab and whole region of Jammu of J&K State that was ruled by Raja Gulab Singh as part of Dogra Raj irrespective of the religion one practised.

Cultural profile of Dogras

  • Kud – It is basically a ritual dance performed in honour of Lok Devatas. This dance style is performed mostly during nights. It is spontaneous dance and people of all ages and sexes participate in this folk dance form. Instruments used during this dance are Narshingha, chhaina, flute, drums etc. It is the rhythm of music which controls the movement of participants. This dance continues for the whole night. Number of participants ranges from 20 to 30 members.
  • Heren – It is a traditional theatre form performed during Lohri festival by 10–15 members. This style is mostly performed in hilly regions of Jammu.
  • Fumenie and Jagarana – This dance style is performed by the ladies on the eve of groom's departure to in-laws house. Both the songs are sung by a group of females consisting of 15–20 members. This traditional dance form depicts the feelings and emotions of women folk.
  • Bakh/Gwatri/Kark/Masade – It is a chorus narrative singing sung by a group of 10 singers without the accompaniment of any musical instruments.
  • Gwatri – A singing–dance combined tradition in which the singers narrate some text which is enacted by the Gwatari dancers.
  • Karak – A tale ballet singing form 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 – This is chorus singing tradition performed specific community of tribal called Gujjar and Bakerwal. Dance is performed by 5–7 members.[2]

Etymology of Jammu and Dogra

The origins of the name "Jammu" are shrouded in mystery, as is the history of the people inhabiting the territory, popularly known as Duggar, but 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 jambudvipa, a combination of the words Jambu and dwipa (island). According to Sir Walter Hamilton (Description of Hindustan, pg. 499), "It is possible that an ocean may at one time have reached the base of these mountains forming high table lands into islands." The famous Chinese traveller 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.

Dogra clans

Here is a list of Dogra kings clans:

  • Ambarai
  • Andotra
  • Badyal
  • Baghal
  • Bajial
  • Bajju
  • Balhotra
  • Balotra
  • Balwal
  • Bamalia(Brahmins)
  • Banhoria
  • Bandral
  • Bargotra
  • Baru
  • Bhadarwah
  • Bhadwal
  • Bhao
  • Bhulwal
  • Beotra
  • Bilauria
  • Bucha
  • Chambyal
  • Changotra
  • Charak
  • Chargotra
  • Chattar
  • Chib
  • Darora
  • Deonia
  • Ganotra
  • Goleria
  • Guleria
  • Hans
  • Hantal
  • Jaggi
  • Jaj
  • Jalotra
  • Jamwal
  • Jandial
  • Jardayal
  • Jarral
  • Jasrotia
  • Jaswal
  • Kahlotra
  • Kalerie
  • Katil
  • Katoch
  • Khadotra
  • Khajuria
  • Kharakhatr
  • Kishtwaria
  • Kullu
  • Lalotra
  • Langeh
  • Magotra
  • Mandial
  • Manhas
  • Manjotra
  • Mankotia
  • Nagyal
  • Padha
  • Pandotra
  • Panotra
  • Pargal
  • Proach
  • Pathania
  • Patiyal
  • Phagotra
  • Rachyal
  • Rakwal
  • Ranoat
  • Rarotra
  • Rawalay
  • Sabbai
  • Sadathia
  • Sagana
  • Salathia
  • Sambyal
  • Samnotra
  • Samsal
  • Sangotra
  • Sanotra
  • Sarmorie
  • Suketia
  • Sulehria
  • Sumbria
  • Suri
  • Tagotra
  • Tagotras
  • Sarnaliya
  • Banhotra

The Royal House of Jammu and Kashmir

The chronology of the rulers of Jammu dates back to the Ramayana Period. Indeed, 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). A Raghuvanshi descendant, 'Agnigarba' who was living as a recluse, came to Nagarkote (Kangra, Himachal Pradesh), in the Shivalik hills. When the Raja of Kangra came to know about this person's ancestry, he offered him the hand of his daughter and a part of kingdom. The river Ravi was then the boundary of Nagarkote. Agnigarba crossed it and captured some villages in the Kathua area and declared himself as sovereign king. After his death, his son Bayusharva (B.C. 1530-1500) married the princess of Parole (Kathua). The princess was known as Erwan and she died young. The Raja founded a city after her which is still found near Parole, though now a small village and at the 'Samadhi' of the queen, a `Mela' (fair) is held at every `Baisakhi' (13th or 14 April) every year. Bayusharva extended the boundaries up to the river Ujh. Bayusharva's great grandson, Bahulochan was enthroned after his death. He migrated from Erwan and built his fort on the banks of river Tawi. Bahulochan died in a bloody battle with Chadaras, Raja of Sialkot (Shayalkot) and his younger brother Jambulochan (B.C 1320-1290) ascended the throne. In those days the area beyond Tawi (the present city of Jammu) was used for hunting. Tradition has it that one day Jambulochan came to this area and while he was sitting behind a bush to ambush some bird or animal, he saw a lion (a tiger in some accounts) and a goat drinking water from the same pond. This peaceful coexistence encouraged him to found the city of Jammu, which some say is named after him. One of his descendants, Raja Shaktikaran (B.C 1200-1177) introduced the Dogri Script for the first time. Another of his descendants, Jasdev founded the city of Jasrota on the bank of river Ujh, and another Raja, Karan Dev built a fort on the banks of the river Basantar. In the early centuries of the first millennium the area came under the sway of the Indo-Greeks, with their capital at Sakala (Sialkot).

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 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 his treachery against the Sikhs.[3] Pratap Singh, (enthroned in 1885) in saw the construction of Banihal Cart Road (B.C. Road) mainly to facilitate telegraph services. The last ruler of J&K was Maharaja Hari Singh, who ascended the throne in 1925. He made primary education compulsory in the State, introduced laws prohibiting child marriage and threw open places of worship for the low castes. His reign saw the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the newly independent Indian Union in 1947. Although he originally manoeuvered to maintain his independence by playing off India and Pakistan against each other, Maharaja Hari Singh, the last king of the Rajput Kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir ceded his kingdom to the Indian Union in 1947, after Pakistan's founder and Governor-General Mohammad Ali Jinnah, frustrated by his failure to merge his kingdom into Pakistan, incited armed Pashtuns from the neighbouring North-West Frontier Province to invade the kingdom in an attempt to seize it. This invasion by Pakistani tribals and the consequent accession to India sparked the First Indo-Pakistan War. In 1951 Maharaja Hari Singh's rule was terminated by the assembly and his son Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh was made 'Sadr-e-Riyasat' ('President of the Province') and Governor of the State in 1964.

Dogra Culture

The Dogra culture is descended from that of the Indo-Aryans who settled in and became the main population of India. Dogras are divided into castes on the same lines as Hindus in other parts of India, but have local variations.

Religion, Art, literature and music

Religion: The region of Jammu and Kashmir is most holy and sacred for Hindu people as it has many famous temples.

  • Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine: This is the most pious and famous of Hindu religious places. Situated atop Shivalik Mountains, it is around 16 km uphill walk through steep mountain peaks. Situated inside a cave is the Sanctum Sanctorum Shrine of Mata Vaishno Devi, incarnation of Mata Parvati; the supreme of all powerful Goddess.
  • Amarnath Cave: Situated at a significant distance from Pahalgam, through rocky mountains and treacherous passes, lies the Sanctum Sanctorum Shrine of Lord Shiva (The Creator, Preserver and Destroyer) of all Living and non-living objects/things. During the Month of March/April, around Raksha Bandhan time, one can witness the miraculous formation of Shiv Linga at Amarnath Temple.
  • Raghunath Temple: Situated at Raghnuath Bazaar (Jammu), one can witness master-pieces of Hindu Temple building architecture. Dedicated to Lord Rama, this temple was constructed by the Dogra Kings of Jammu region.

The earliest paintings in Pahari style originated in Basohli. The first mention of Basohli paintings is in the annual report of the Archaeological Survey of India for the year 1918-1919 published in 1921. Subsequently, this style spread to the Hill States of Mankot, Nurpur, Kulu, Mandi, Suket, Bilaspur, Nalagarh, Chamba, Guler and Kangra.

It was in 1675, when Pahari School came into being. According to Karl Khandalwala, Raja Kripal Pal of Basholi was first to patronize artists regularly. Raja Sansar Chand, Raja Balwant Singh and other Pahari rulers, further nurtured generations of proficient artists in their courts.

Dogri folk literature comprises:

  • Prose forms short stories, proverbs and riddles.
  • Verse from classified as under:
    • Ballads:
  1. Baran
  2. Kaarkan
  3. Love ballads
  4. Devotional
  5. Ones involving of women saints.
  • Lyrics:- They are vast and varied and difficult to mention e.g. love lyrics, ceremonial lyrics, dance lyrics etc.

Dogri folk songs too range from love to heroism and sacrifice. Ceremonial lyrics give analysis of human reaction to ceremonies. 'Biayian' are sung to celebrate the birth of male child, indicating gender bias. Family lyrics pertain to household members such as mother, father, daughter-in-law, mother-in-law and their relationships.[4]

Marriage among Dogras

Some Dogra still follow type of marriage which is called 'Dohry' (Double) - take a daughter and give them your daughter. 'Gotra' and `Kula' exogamy is maintained. 'Chadar pana', or marrying the brothers widow is also found in Jammu. Child marriage was common too (Girls 10–14 years, and Boys 15–18 years) but Maharaja Hari Singh banned this in 1940 and raised the age of marriage for girls to 16 years and boys to 18 years. In the hilly areas of Udhampur, Kathua and Doda people also take concubines termed as 'Duals'.

Dogra Cuisine

Wheat, maize and bajra are staple food besides rice, cereals and a tangier preparation made out of either mango or tamarind also popularly known as maani, the whole dish is called Dal Puth Maani and is savoured together 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.

Non-vegetarian food was limited to Rajputs and Vaish (Mahajans). 'Khatta Meat' - mutton cooked with sour pomegranate seeds or lime juice and flavoured with fumes of a burning charcoal soaked in mustard oil. Keur is one of the famous food 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 also one of the 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 also popular in the Jammu region and in Jammu and Kashmir state more generally. Babbru/Pathoru are preparerd by 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 dryfruit in it. It is one of the famous food of Dogras and served in almost all special occasions and festivals. Another popular exotic dish is Guchiyyan (dried mushroom - 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 gms.) 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.[4]

The martial tradition of the Dogras

The Dogras are known for their valour. 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 the Far East 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.[4]

Notable Dogras

  • Maharaja Gulab Singh, general of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and later Maharaja of the Dogra Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir
  • General Zorawar Singh, general of Maharaja Gulab Singh
  • Hari Singh (1895–1961), last ruling Maharaja of the princely state / Kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in India and father Karan Singh
  • Karan Singh, son of Hari Singh and distinguished diplomat
  • Som Nath Sharma First recipient of the Param Vir Chakra
  • Shivkumar Sharma Renowned Santoor player
  • Shesh Paul Vaid, IPS, Director Administration & Training in the Indian Bureau of Police Research and Development[5]
  • Ustad Alla Rakha, Padma Shri Tabla player
  • Prem Nath Dogra
  • Kundan Lal Saigal, Hindi movie singer and actor
  • Bansi Lal Sharma, a Geo-Scientist from Jammu who was a member of the 9th Indian Expedition to Antarctica
  • Om Prakash, Veteran Bollywood Actor
  • Mukesh Rishi, Bollywood Actor
  • Adarsh Sein Anand Padma Vibhushan and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India
  • Malika Pukhraj Renowned singer
  • Premchand Dogra Padma Shri and Arjuna Award winning Body builder
  • Paras Dogra Cricketer - Plays for Rajasthan Royals in IPL
  • Ajay Kumar Sharma - Social Development expert Flora Nagbani Jammu
  • Tirath Das Dogra - Former Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences New Delhi, and an eminent Forensic Expert.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Reference ; Govt of J&K Website
  3. ^ Nalwa, V., 2009. Hari Singh Nalwa-Champion of the Khalsaji. New Delhi: Manohar, p. 220, ISBN 81-7304-785-5.
  4. ^ a b c
  5. ^ "Injured Kashmir DIG vows to carry on despite his crushed hand". Retrieved 2009-12-10. 

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