Lohar


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Who are they?

The Lohar or Luhar are an occupational caste of traditional traveling blacksmiths that number more than 7.5 million people. The term Lohar is derived from the Sanskrit word lauha-kara, meaning ‘a worker in iron’. In Rajasthan, they are called Gaduliya (which refers to the open carts in which they travel and live) and Shilpkar in Himachal Pradesh.

The Lohar are spread over 68 districts of India. They live in Uttar Pradesh (2.1 million), Bihar (1 million), Jharkhand (200,000), Madhya Pradesh (940,000), Orissa (900,000), Maharashtra (510,000), Haryana (370,000), Gujarat (350,000), Rajasthan (330,000), Punjab (210,000), Himachal Pradesh (170,000) Jammu and Kashmir, and West Bengal (230,000).

Origins

One legend regarding the caste’s origins written by R.E. Enthoven (The Tribes and Castes of Bombay, 1922), states that the Lohar of Gujarat claim descent from Pithuo, who was created from dust by Parvati, to make weapons for her husband, Shiva, which were used by him to fight with two demons, Andhir and Dhamdhkar. The Lohar of Orissa, tell a similar story according to which Kamar, the celestial architect, had twelve sons. The eldest, who was accustomed to propitiating the family deity with wine, once drank some of the wine himself which led to his rejection by his siblings. He then became a worker in iron and laid a curse upon his brothers that they should not be able to practice their calling except with the implements he made.

However, in most of the states, the Lohar attribute their origins to the god Vishwakarma. According to the ethnologist William Crooke (Tribes and Castes of the North-Western India, 1896) this god is believed to be the architect and handicraftsman of all gods, the maker of ornaments and the most eminent of artisans. It is from him that craftspeople get their talent and who they offer worship to. He is believed to have made the chariots of the deities.

Other Names

They are also known as Vishwakarma and Panchal in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. In Rajasthan and Gujarat their synonyms are Panchal or Shree Panchal. In Orissa, they are called Lohura and Nar in West Bengal. In Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra they are also known as Mistry, and in Jammu & Kashmir as Khar or Ahangar.

Language

They speak the languages of the states they live in – Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Kashmiri, Oriya and Pahari in Uttar Pradesh. They also speak Hindi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Lohars are traditionally iron-workers and blacksmiths, along with a subsidiary occupation of agriculture. They are skilled at making and repairing agricultural implements like the sickle, spade, hoe, axe and plough, as well as buckets, pans, knives, scissors, grills and cages. They also fix iron shoes on the hoofs of bullocks. Some of those living in cities work in government and private service or industrial work. The landless among them are increasingly are migrating to urban centres in search of employment. They supplement their income by selling bullocks and cattle. Some Lohars keep camels.

Some of the Lohar practice share-cropping and work as daily-wage laborers. In some towns and cities, some Lohar own workshops that are fitted with modern machinery for making fine implements. In the prosperous states of Punjab and Gujarat, where many run small-scale industries, some have become wealthy industrialists. At times the Lohar do woodwork or carpentry, as in Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, or weaving, as in Jammu & Kashmir. The community also has teachers and administrators.

Literacy is low, but their attitude towards formal education ranges from favorable (Delhi, Punjab and Maharashtra) to partly favourable (Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat) to unfavourable (Orissa). They use both modern and traditional medicines and generally are open towards modern family planning methods. They also make use of various official development programs and the Public Distribution System.

Customs

They marry only other within their community but select spouses from another clan to their own. The number of subgroups varies from region to region. The Lohar are also divided into a number of exogamous gotras or clans of equal status. In Orissa the clans are Kaithwas, Hanswar and Soken which are based on certain sacred totemic objects.

All marriages are arranged for them by their parents when they are still children but officially marry when they are older. A dowry of cash and household goods is given by the bride’s family. Monogamy is the norm although a second wife is permitted in exceptional circumstances (such as barrenness of the first wife). Divorce is rare although socially sanctioned as is the remarriage of widows, widowers and divorcees. Junior sororate and junior levirate are accepted forms of remarriage. Women wear sindur (vermilion), ivory, glass or plastic bangles, toe-rings and nose-pins as symbols of their married status.

Both nuclear and joint families are found among the Lohar. Property is equally inherited among sons only, and the eldest son succeeds as the head of the family. The women grind the grain and cook, raise the children, but unlike many Indian women, they are permitted contact with other people, including men. Despite this, they are considered lower than men. This is because the women work with the men, a wife often swinging the hammer or working the bellows for her husband until her sons are old enough to help. In West Bengal the women catch and sell fish while in Chandigarh and Punjab they are good in embroidery and knitting woolens. Both men and women sing folk songs and the women dance during festivals. In Bihar women sing at births and weddings and traditional stories and folk tales are told exclusively by men.

In most states the Lohar have a Biradari Panchayat (Community Council). This informal committee looks after their social welfare and works to improve their circumstances. In Delhi this body is called Panchal Mahasabhat.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Lohar are primarily Hindu by faith, though some are Sikh and Muslim. The Muslim Lohar of Jammu & Kashmir belongs to the Sunni sect of Islam and revere Muslim saints like Maqdoom Sahib and Miraj Shah. The Lohar of Haryana, even though they are Hindu, revere a Muslim saint called Googa Pir. Many Lohar, such as those of Delhi, have see themselves as Brahmin. Others, as those of Chandigarh, rank themselves next to the Brahmin. However, among other Hindus, they are considered to be of middle or low rank in the caste system.

They are a fervent Hindu community, worshipping Ram and the goddess Kali of Chittorgarh. They carry a small image of her in a cupboard where small stores and valuables are kept on their carts. In addition each clan worships its own deity and offers daily prayers to the god of the anvil. They celebrate all Hindu festivals. A Brahmin priest conducts all rituals relating to births, marriages and death. The dead are cremated and the ashes immersed in a river, except in Orissa, where the dead are buried. In Rajasthan a stone pillar is erected in memory of the deceased. Both birth and death pollution for specified periods is observed. Ancestor worship is prevalent.

What Are Their Needs?

As the Lohar move from place to place in their carts and need the help of their children to earn a living, education is not an option. There is a need to provide education, health awareness and to use their skills as ironworkers in other ways as it is difficult for them to compete with factory-made products. They need a better self worth and identity and to overcome the limitations of the caste system and their traditions.

 

72 Comments

  1. Good Information, but i think the information given is not exactly correct, as mentioned the languages spoked by lohars, lohars have only one common language which i know

    Reply
      • lohar just need his right, lohar need land to live and spend his her life in stable way, their children must good education for build strong nation.

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        • There is a time to bring movement in UP to force political parties to bring Lohar in ST category the same way as they are in Bihar and uttarakhnad…

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        • Lohar need good education. Land to live. Employment to fulfil their basic need. Lohar required support from government side.

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      • Hi
        How our people will come to know about each other.when a Panchal is little bit uplifted financially usually he or she start writing themselves as SHARMA

        Regards
        Anand k Panchal

        Reply
        • Yup, its very sad for us that still we feel shame or shy coz of our last name Lohar. People also behave strange but its ok that’s they are called people. But the most shameful thing is people are using Sharma Verma bla bla bla to cover their so called self respect in their own great stupid society. Whatever it is i am proud of my caste. Thank You

          Reply
  2. This information is not based on any documented evidences. Let him please refer to any authentic references or records before scribbling such things.

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  3. good efforts, but not correct. There are many differences in lohar. Lohar (Vishwakarma – Shandilya Gotra) belongs to Brahmin.

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    • Its news to me. Vishwakarmas traces their origin from Sanaga , Sanathana, Ahabhuna, Pratna, Suparna main Gotras . In you case superior brahmins changed work for livelihood. It happens when some one choose to downgrade. You are Vishwakarma Brahmin anyways and sandilya gotra doesn’t make any difference.

      Reply
      • Panchal ‘s caste for lots of synonomy word that
        Lohar
        Suthar
        Panchal
        Wiswakarma
        Etc.caste names in panchal
        In gujarat state but i need other state panchal caste have how many names?
        If anybody have …please
        Contact me +91 7874629887

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    • Shilpkar log bhi kya. Lohar community me ate he kya please help

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    • we the lohar cast people are in so large no. but we have one or two icons and also we have not any politic grip rather than other cast so we should work in this area….. we have to unite….

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    • Thanks pradeep for your right information. The site you reffered is the best.

      Reply
  4. Actually, the information on this site may not be correct as all Vishwakarma communities belongs to God Vishwkarma.
    In such case they must be considered as Brahmin.
    rest are gossips..

    Reply
  5. In paragraph ‘CUSTOMS’ you have written that,LOHARS ‘In West Bengal the women catch and sell fish’
    it is not correct.In West Bengal Lohars (KARMAKAR,RANA,Kamilya etc.) are well educated.Most of them are middle class people .Some them are high middle class,rich person.Few of them are BPL, most of them do their traditional work (iron Work).Those who are catch and sell fish they are not LOHAR,they are ‘JAILE'(fisher man) cast,

    Reply
  6. Kamar (lohar) community of koraput district,odisha demand inclusion schedule tribe.

    Reply
  7. Lohars are Vishwakarma Brahmins, like rest of the Vishwakarma castes. God Vishawakarma, the forebearer of lohars is mentioned in rig veda (sukta 80,81). This article is half baked.

    Reply
  8. This is best Information Regarding the panchal’s

    Reply
  9. stragd community

    Reply
    • Dinesh

      Reply
  10. most backworld classes of india ne pure u.p. me backworld ko 27% reservation me 20% and 7% ka batwara hona chahiye.and . all india me 27% OBC/MBC 15%&12% ka reservation milna chahiye. then hamare samaj ka samman / adhikar milega.

    Reply
    • Is the Sharma in panchal cast ……known as lohar ??? Plzzz tell me that panchal Sharma is also in lohar community ????

      Reply
  11. It is incorect infomation becouse gaderia lohar not in panchal commnity

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  12. Hi ,Its nice to see comments.
    But in Gujarat Panchals are very prospurous & educated.
    Particularly those frome kheda district have very good life & highly influencial
    Because of OBC status lots of panchals are doctors ,superspecialists ,engineers ,CAs
    Plz ,allow your child to study & encourage them to get higher education ,rest will be taken care by it self

    Reply
  13. Hii .it’s not so that the all panchal are illiterate .now there are a big chsngement most are doc.eng. teachers n have s good jobs I m from karnal haryana I myself serve in army

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    • M agree with u

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  14. my good wishes to global viswakarma brahmin .

    Reply
    • is ‘THAKUR’ surname is coming under lohar community??????

      Reply
  15. I am niranjan sharma mechanical engineear from bihar west champaran bihar.i support lohar group.jai viswkama baba…

    Reply
  16. meri caste lohar hai but mere gotra chauhan ke log nahi mil rehe na hi mere jthere mil rhe hai

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  17. you have mentioned here that lohar community constitute (510,000) population in Maharashtra would you please specify the source of the information please i am belong to the gadi lohar community.

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  18. can anyone tell me that what is the reservation we get for addmissions to iim for blacksmith castes……

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  19. In north India, most of them are from Brahmin gotra, such as Bhardwaj, Vashist, Kaundinya etc. and therefore, they right in claiming their lineage from among the Brahmins. State of Haryana has already declared them Dhiman brahmin and Panchal Brahmins. A lot needs to be done raise consciousness.

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  20. lohar samaj srasty rachyita vishvkarma ji ki santan hai,duri v vicharo ke badlav ke karan sab alg 2 hai.shabhi ka kam ak saman kintu lohar hai phir bhi bhed jyada hai.ise mita ker lohar samaj ko globelisation karana chahiye.

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    • Dineshji you should remember one thing that this Lord Vishva karma is merely a demi god who cannot give any benediction without taking any permission from supreme personality of god Vishnu. In the early ages where caste system were practicing, Brahmins know the importance of these people – the workers on metals , the workers on jewellery makers, the workers on wood in the human society. Since these people were out from the 4 class of men, they were not allowed to worship Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu etc.So Brahmins on that time allowed them to worship Lord Vishva karma. Although you are following brahmin’s culture, you are not considered to be true Brahmins.

      Reply
      • Where it is written that lohar or vishwakarma puttar were not permitted by brahmins to worship lord Shiva.What proof you have that they not brahmins i.e bhardwaj patanjali
        etc by gotra.if these gotra are purchased by brahmins. How is brahmin?.do u know?.

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  21. Shandil gotra means brahmin or not ??????

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    • Shandilya gotra brahmin me bhi hota hai aur Lohar me bhi hota hai.

      Reply
  22. 7.5 million people lohar meane worker in iron.
    mera echha hai ki hamara somaj ko aage le jainge is liye sobko ek hona chaiye.

    Reply
    • Sahi he bhai i m from gujrat machu kathiya sar name parmar

      Reply
  23. I’m a Nair, black smith are getting reservation, that’s why they have money and prosperity. But you are not vaidic brahmins.

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    • Only the vaidic brahmins have the right to study the sasthras ( 4 vedas ).

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      • Mr. Abhilash for your kind information i would like to tell you that lohar is the scion of THE world creator Bhagwan SHREE VISWKARMA SO FIVE SONS OF Bhagwan SHREE VISWKARMA all were rishi and the lohar is the one of son of among five
        even they have rights for performing ritual ceremony.

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      • mr .abhilash brother
        panchal, lohar,dhimans are later developed names..viswakarma is prajapathi of world n Vedas..viswakarma sons..manu ,Maya,thwasta,shilpi,viswjna.

        Reply
    • mr.we are real brahmins…….we are from rushi gothras….we have evidence for that from vedas,puranas…..pls read vedas or pls ask somebody who know vedas….

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    • Mr.abhilash do u know about your in which varna?????if you are nair you are in shoodra in kerala you are malayala shoodra…pls you can check yourself in google…pls search about your caste..it is right….

      Reply
    • Different names of Vishwabrahmin and its meaning
      Brahminism basically divided in to two groups.

      ARSHEYA BRAHMANEYAM
      PARUSHEYA BRAHMANEYAM.

      It is only Vishwakarmabrahmins belong to PARUSHEYA Sect. Rest of all brahmins sects fall under Arsheya sect.
      Vishwabrahmin are also known as Vishwakarma Brahmin since they have their origin from Lord Vishwakarma. They are called Panchal which means specialized in five different works; they are identical to Kavi, Madhvi, Suhastasour and Narashansha castes in ancient Vedic reference. They were called as rathakar because they used to make the chariot for ancient kings. In Madras they are called Kammalar. Vishwakarma Brahmins / Vishwa brahmins are called with the following names.
      In South India:

      Achari
      Acharya
      Vishwakarma
      Vishwabrahmin
      Sharma
      Kammara,Kambara,Pathara,Shilpi, Bhadigere,Shilpi,Kancgara, Shett.
      Chari, South India

      In North India:

      Panchal Brahmin
      Dhiman Brahmin
      Jangid Brahmin
      Maithil Brahmin
      Ramgarhia
      Mistry
      Maharana
      Sharma
      Viswakarma
      Tarkhan
      Kalsi
      Malik
      Mahule
      Sonar
      Swarnakar

      Whilst many goldsmiths are descendants of Brahmin ancestry, people of the Kshatriya caste have also adopted the works of Vishwabrahmins, in particular, Goldsmith and Jewellery work. For example, in the Punjab region of North India, another group of Vishwakarmas/Goldsmiths exist, the Mair Rajputs, who have descended from the Rajput warriors of Rajasthan.
      Consequently, Vishwabrahmins have surnames that are similar to those of the Brahmin or Kshatriya caste. For instance:

      Brahmin: Verma, Sharma, Rao, Rastogi, Acharya/Achari, Chari, Jha, Ranjan, Dixit, Dhiman, Panchal
      Kshatriya: Soni, Singh, Mair/Mayer/Mehr, Katta, Seth, Chauhan, Babbar, Rana, Sisodia, Gogna Shinh, Sehdev, Sudera, Kanda, Karwal

      Reply
  24. lohar sikligar gotra dharu ki kuldevi kaam btaao plz

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    • dharu gotra ka vans hai bhati or bhati vans ki kuldevi hai bhadriya ma

      Reply
  25. You all people are unnecessarily fighting .Because according to sastra no one in this age of Kali are of high class or low class. All are shudras in this age of kali according to sastra. You all need to study sastra from some very authentic source.In this age of Kali no one is much qualified whether they are brahmin or vishwakarma brahmin.All are same in this Kaliyug.So all need to take advantage of this age and can become high class by their deeds and vedic knowledge and not by birth.If 1 is brahmin and he is doing all nonsense by breaking rules of shatras and eating non-veg and other here and there , then they are even more worst than lowest of all.So u all need to take advantage of this age and live life of human of character by living 1st class brahmin by following vedic lifestyles without any birth qualification.This is the mercy given in this age to all unqualifed soul by shri Caitanya mahaprabhu.So do not fight, all are same(shudras) in this Kaliyug.This is the greatest truth u all need to know and focus on this to become high class brahmin and any one can become rather than uselessly trying to prove supermacy over others .This can not help u at all.Even if you are brahmin and doing all nonsense thing then u are worst than shudras.So plz people know the truth and do your best to become perfect brahmin either u r anyone by birth.

    Reply
  26. can any body inform me what are the different ‘SURNAMEs’ found in lohar community all-over the india???????i want to know it..

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  27. will any body can tell me is there any change in lohar catogery?????????????

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  28. We should proved ………we are lohar

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  29. fight for ST

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  30. Sir , we are the Brahmins so don’t worry about that.

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    • We Lohar Vishwakarma are brahmins of shandilya gotra. My father used to wear “janeu”. we live now in Jharkhand but originate from Bihar.

      Reply
  31. LOHAR CHAST WHICH CTEGORY IN INDIA .
    BCZ .I’M BLACKSMITH I FILL ALL TM IN OBC .
    AM I RIGHT YA WRONG

    Reply
  32. We Lohar Vishwakarma are Brahmins of “Shandilya” gotra. My father used to wear “Janeu” (now he is no more). We live in Jharkhand and originate from Bihar.

    Reply
  33. hey! ..
    wat is this yaar…totally falth message and statement…viswakarma is a universal god…this universal is made boy viswakarma…don’t trust of false state ments my dear viswabrahmins..search for good information in Facebook .vbs community…I think all of u wll know at there..k
    Ur’s vishnu

    Reply
  34. Mr.Abhilash we are real brahmins…we have evidence to prove that from vedas…

    Reply
  35. Different names of Vishwabrahmin and its meaning
    Brahminism basically divided in to two groups.

    ARSHEYA BRAHMANEYAM
    PARUSHEYA BRAHMANEYAM.

    It is only Vishwakarmabrahmins belong to PARUSHEYA Sect. Rest of all brahmins sects fall under Arsheya sect.
    Vishwabrahmin are also known as Vishwakarma Brahmin since they have their origin from Lord Vishwakarma. They are called Panchal which means specialized in five different works; they are identical to Kavi, Madhvi, Suhastasour and Narashansha castes in ancient Vedic reference. They were called as rathakar because they used to make the chariot for ancient kings. In Madras they are called Kammalar. Vishwakarma Brahmins / Vishwa brahmins are called with the following names.
    In South India:

    Achari
    Acharya
    Vishwakarma
    Vishwabrahmin
    Sharma
    Kammara,Kambara,Pathara,Shilpi, Bhadigere,Shilpi,Kancgara, Shett.
    Chari, South India

    In North India:

    Panchal Brahmin
    Dhiman Brahmin
    Jangid Brahmin
    Maithil Brahmin
    Ramgarhia
    Mistry
    Maharana
    Sharma
    Viswakarma
    Tarkhan
    Kalsi
    Malik
    Mahule
    Sonar
    Swarnakar

    Whilst many goldsmiths are descendants of Brahmin ancestry, people of the Kshatriya caste have also adopted the works of Vishwabrahmins, in particular, Goldsmith and Jewellery work. For example, in the Punjab region of North India, another group of Vishwakarmas/Goldsmiths exist, the Mair Rajputs, who have descended from the Rajput warriors of Rajasthan.
    Consequently, Vishwabrahmins have surnames that are similar to those of the Brahmin or Kshatriya caste. For instance:

    Brahmin: Verma, Sharma, Rao, Rastogi, Acharya/Achari, Chari, Jha, Ranjan, Dixit, Dhiman, Panchal
    Kshatriya: Soni, Singh, Mair/Mayer/Mehr, Katta, Seth, Chauhan, Babbar, Rana, Sisodia, Gogna Shinh, Sehdev, Kanda, Karwal

    Reply
  36. Thank

    Reply
  37. Very happy with given details and feel proud

    Reply
  38. do they belong to minority community

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  39. Very useful information for lohar community and m very thankful for ….

    Reply
  40. Dear All Vishvakarmas’s community people
    Thanks details information shared
    I noticed that most of Brahman samaj not accept our Vishvakarmas samaj(Exchange marriages)
    Why he was not accepted???????….

    Reply
  41. mera l o har samaj ka valay ho.

    Reply
  42. Pehle sb luhar apne naam ke sath sharma lagana band kro. Tb ye luhar upper uthenge ni to sb aise hi reh jayenge..ok

    Reply

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