Sonar


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Who Are They?

The Sonar are gold and silversmiths. They make jewelry and ornaments that are elaborately designed and inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones. Some Sonar cut and polish diamonds, while others engrave deities on pendants and gold and silver plates. Most Sonar own their jewelry shops and showrooms while others work as paid skilled workers making delicate filigree designs. Gold jewelry is considered a good investment option for most Indians, and is in great demand for marriages, making up part of the dowry.

Some wealthier Sonar are money-lenders as well. They charge higher interest rates than banks do from their clients who are from the poorer sections of society. In cities like Delhi and Chandigarh, they have secondary occupations like tailoring, electroplating and car repairs, retail shops dealing with books and stationery, motor and tractor parts. The ones who have done tertiary education are professionals. There are some politicians at village, regional and national levels.

They are also known as Suvarnakar, Swarnakar, Sonkar, Soni, Potdar, Hemkar, Jargar, Zargar, Kapila, Tank, Verma or Saraf and Maipotra. The Muslim Sonar in Jammu & Kashmir are known as Sanur or Shakish. In Uttarakhand, they are called by the surnames Verma or Choudhury.

Location

Their population numbers around 6.5 million and they are spread over one hundred and twenty-five districts of North, Central and East India.
The Sonar are distributed in large concentrations in Varanasi, Allahabad, Deoria districts of Uttar Pradesh (970,000), and Barakot, Gangolihat, Pithoragarh, Champawat, Pulhindola, Almora, Nainital and Ranikhet in Uttaranchal

There are 57,000 in Delhi, 160,000 in Punjab, 580,00 in Bihar , 70,000 in Orissa, 170,000 in Haryana, 300,000 in Rajasthan in the districts of Udaipur, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Ajmer and Alwar. They also reside in Chandigarh, Bilaspur, Kangra, Hamirpur, Mandi, Solan, Shimla and Una districts of Himachal Pradesh and the Srinagar district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Origin

Sonar or Sunar (also spelled Suniar) is from the Sanskrit suvarnakar, meaning worker in gold. According to records from the Vishnu Purana (writings about Vishnu) the Sonar are the descendents of the youngest of five sons created by Vishnu‘s incarnation, Vishwakarama, the architect of the universe.

Another legend states that the first Sonar was used by the goddess Devi to destroy a giant demon called Sonwa Daitya, who was made of gold. The Sonar appealed to the giant demon’s vanity by suggesting that his appearance would look much better if it was polished. This meant that he had to be melted down. As a reward, Devi gave the body to the Sonar and kept his head. (This is similar to the Greek legend of Medea, who was melted down.)

They are categorized as Vaisya (traders and merchants) and rank third in the four-fold Hindu caste system. They are accepted by other castes as such. In Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, they classify themselves as Kshatriya, second in the hierarchy.

Languages

The Sonar speaks the languages of the region they live in. Hindi is spoken in Madhya Pradesh, Chandigarh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. In Bihar and Rajasthan, they speak Mewari or Marwari. All these are written in Devanagari script. Oriya is spoken in Orissa and Kashmiri in Jammu and Kashmir, using the Oriya and Persian-Arabic scripts, respectively. In Delhi, they speak Hindi, Punjabi or Mewari depending on the place where they migrated from. The Punjabi Sonars speak Punjabi and write with the Gurumukhi script. Regional dialects are spoken in Himachal Pradesh, and Kumaoni is spoken. They are also conversant in Hindi and some also speak Urdu.

In the traditional four-fold Hindu caste system the Sonar generally place themselves under the category of Vaisya (3rd highest class of traders and merchants) and are accepted by other castes as such. But in some states, as in Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, they classify themselves as Kshatriya.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Being Hindu, beef is excluded from the mainly non-vegetarian diet. In rural Bihar, eggs and chicken are also excluded but they eat fish. Some vegetarians among the Sonar, mainly those of Orissa and Haryana, do not eat onions and garlic. Their diet consists of wheat, rice, maize, millet, a variety of lentils and vegetable, along with seasonal fruit and dairy products. Only men smoke and drink alcohol. They believe that drinking liquor is beneficial in neutralizing the poisonous, acidic fumes inhaled while making ornaments. However, in Madhya Pradesh alcohol is socially prohibited.
This community encourages literacy for both boys and girls and many go on to complete tertiary education. They are also favourably inclined to modern medicine, along with indigenous cures. They practice family planning methods including sterilization, except in Jammu & Kashmir. Generally, the Sonar are better money-managers, saving and investing wisely.

Customs

Adult marriages are arranged by negotiation among family members within the Sonar community only. The common symbols of marriage include sindoor (vermilion), bindi (dot on forehead), gold bangles, black-bead and gold necklace (mangalsutra), toe and finger rings. Dowry is paid by the bride’s family in cash and goods. Most Sonar are monogamous but divorce is permitted but rare. Widows, widowers and divorcees are permitted to remarry. Junior levirate and junior sororate are permissible and at times preferred.

Nuclear families are most common among the Sonar, though joint families also exist. Parental property is divided among all the sons equally and the eldest son succeeds as the head of the family. The daughters don’t get receive a share. The status of women is secondary to that of men though they participate actively in ritual, religious and social activities. Sometimes they help their men by cleaning the ornaments. The folksongs sung by the women to the accompaniment of the dholak (barrel-shaped drum) are their oral tradition. They also dance on occasions of birth and marriage.

The Sonar are an endogamous community who very often observe endogamy at the subgroup level as well. They have different number of subgroups in the different regions they inhabit and often they are territorial in origin. There are also a number of exogamous clans among the Sonar.

There are several community associations for the Sonar community at a local, regional and national level. These regulate social control, settle disputes and initiate welfare activities.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Sonar are mostly Hindu (95%) though there are some Sikh, Muslim and Jain Sonar. The Hindu Sonar worship Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, Krishna (8th incarnation of Vishnu), Durga, Kali, Ganesh, and Lakshmi (goddess of wealth, wife of Vishnu.)

They also have family, clan and regional deities like Jwaladevi (Flame goddess), Mansadevi (Wish-fulfilling goddess), Vaishnodevi, Ambadevi (form of Durga), Gurgaonwali Mata, Jagannatha (lord of the world), Mangala and Patheswari. The Sonars have special reverence for a saint known as Sant Narhari Sonar.

The Sonar celebrate all Hindu festivals like Dussehra, Diwali, Holi, Janamashtami, Navratri, Ramnavmi, Navratri and Rathyatra. The dead are cremated, except small children whose bodies are either buried or disposed of in flowing water. The ashes of the dead are preferably immersed in the Ganges River at Haridwar; a thirteen days’ death pollution is observed. A Brahmin priest performs all sacred rites. In Uttarakhand, Dangaria (shaman) and fortune-tellers are also consulted for ailments and demon possession.

Some Sonar are Sikh followers; Muslim Sonar belong to the Sunni sect and adhere to the tenets of Islam.

 

83 Comments

  1. NIce.. its a true culture of Suwarnakar.. keep in touch..

    Reply
  2. Anyone knows about Gotra (Gotar) of Swarnkar/Sunar/Mair Rajput caste.
    If yes, kindly reply.

    Reply
    • Main kashyap gotra ka hu.main aapse ek sawal puchna chata hu ke kiya brahman ka bhi kashyap gotra ho sakta ha…agar ho sakta ha to kaise mera knowledge se to ek hi gotra to bhai bhai hota ha..to ek bhai sunar aur ek bhai brahman kaise ho gate…explain me..

      Reply
      • actually once upon a time parshuram ji killing all kshatryas, at last only 2kshatriya childern saved by rishi manu ji, so all kshatriya has bramin mumnies gotras like vashishta,bharadwaj,kashyap,parashar,shandilya & many more for details contact me-8989010045/9179209491

        Reply
        • Apne samaj ko bahut uncha manti hun,

          Reply
    • u send me ur email id i will send u the list

      Reply
      • send me the gotra list please

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      • i feel also that as i naturally belnog with very high class – khud kam karne ka man nhi karta lagta hai or duso se karvata rhu, apni shan izzat naak ke liye ham kuch bhi kar sakte hai, lagta hai jaese ye sab khoon me hi hai jese ke ham kabhi kisi time lambe smay tak koi raja maharaja rhe ho -or ye quality shayad hmare DNA me aa gai hai , par aaj halaat badal chuke hai hammese bahut log kheti bhi karte hai, akhir ham kiske vansaj hai hmare purvaj kon hai,dada kehte hai ki ham up ke safar village me hmare purvaj ek powerful raja the , internet se malim padta hai ki sare sunar rajasthan se sambandhit hai or rajput se nikli ek jaati hai,to koi kuch or kehta hai ,kya koi hai jo is cast pe badi research kar rha ho ,help me ?

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      • my name umesh kumar soni , your re astrologist ,please tell me something about me ,i feel i m not a common men

        Reply
  3. Is inter caste marriage allowed in Svarnkar Samaaj?

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    • in kumauni vermas inter cast marriage with kumauni thakurs is allowed its common in many parts of kumaun

      Reply
      • What is our total population and how many gotra we have in India.

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    • please ny body know accurate population of sunars in uttrakhand

      Reply
    • if there is match in swarnkars, u can do intercaste marriage, no problem

      Reply
  4. Dear Lalit,

    One of the Gotra in Sonar is ‘ Kashyap”,
    Any one knows others plz reply

    Reply
  5. whats the ranking of sunar in india
    among ..
    brahmin
    bhumihar
    kayastha
    rajput .. ???
    plzz rply ..

    Reply
    • Rajput

      Reply
    • MOST OF THE SWARNKARS R BELONG TO RAJPUTS OF MEWAR,MEANS KASHTRIYA SO THERE R 4 STAGES IN HINDU CULTURE 1-BRAMIN,2- KASHTRIYA,3- VAISHYA,4- SUDRAS NOW U CAN UNDER STAND UR STAGE.

      Reply
  6. Hai I from maharshtra .Mera gotra kaysap gotra.sunar caste basically baina caste but they are not baina because they were janevu .like marathi vispute is differ from wani also varma from agrawal ok .so proud tobe sonar.

    Reply
  7. kindly mention some details about maharashtian sonar……….

    Reply
    • SUWARNKARS MEANS MAHARASTRIAN SUNARS

      Reply
  8. Good and great information about the sunar But I want some information about the Sunar Gotras and their Kuldevi. If you can provide It will be helpful.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • I THINK U R FROM MAHOR SWARNKAR( FRO0M U.P. SPECIALLY AGRA,MATHURA,SHIVPURI GWALIOR AHMEDABAD,MUMBAI,SURAT IN MAIDH KADELS KULDEWI JWALA MAI,MOSUNS-

      Reply
  9. is inter caste marriage allowed in roorkee?

    Reply
    • ACCOURDLING TO MODERN SOCIETY ( ANY WHERE IN WORLD)INTER CASTE MARRIAGE IS ACCEPTED,BUT SOME ORTHODOX FAMILY ANY WHERE IN WORLD , NEVER ACCEPT IT ,SO BE MODERN,BUT NEVER LEAV UR SANSKARS,TRADITIONS ETC. THANKS

      Reply
  10. I want to know about the president of bangali goldsmith jewellery association

    Reply
    • U PLZ CONTACT MR.SUNIL TOSHWAR IN KOLKATTA BY FACE BOOK ,HE MUST TELL U

      Reply
  11. kayastha and sonar can marry each other ? are they belong to same gotra ?

    Reply
    • KAYASTH & SONAR ARE THE 2 DIFFERENT COMMUNITIES, SO IN DIFFRENT COMMUNITIES SAME GOTRAS DOES’NT MATTER.

      Reply
  12. HAY IF ANYONE WANTS TO KNOW HIS/HER FUTURE BY NUMEROLOGY ,PLZ SEND UR EMAIL ID MOBILE,FULL NAME D O B & UR FAVOURATE COLOUR-9179209491

    Reply
  13. hello rajesh soni sir
    please tell me about thakur sonar’s of bihar bhagalpur distric..

    Reply
    • Hello pankaj ji kya sonar me thakur title lagta hai or kamar soni me ata hai kya

      Reply
  14. Hello sir, kya me jaan sakta hu ki soni samaj me inter cast marriage karne par kya samaj me programme me Jane se ban kar diya jata hai mene ek Hindu Brahman ladki se marriage ki hai aur is karan se mughe aur meri wife ko samaj ke programme , marriag aadi me Jane se band kar diya hai plz explain me sir ….
    What’s the rule about inter cast marriage plz reply .

    Reply
  15. Hello sir i want to know .caste of dabral… Which category… and kya verma and dabral ki saadi ho sakti hai ya nhi…. or dabral and soni ki sadi. Ho sakti hai …

    Reply
  16. Need to know what goatfish does soni from Hosharpur Punjab india belong

    Reply
  17. Sorry about my first question
    Need to know hat gotra soni family from hoishpur Punjab belong to

    Reply
  18. plz give me the information about the kuldevi of Mamodaria gotra from mahor kshtriya swarnakar

    Reply
  19. plz give th information about potdar kuldevi

    Reply
    • Is Potdar and Vispute are same?

      Reply
  20. Add some information about Maharashtrian sonar samaj.

    Reply
  21. Sonar are by and large Pure Kshatriyas and amongst them Mede Sunar are the descendants of Ajamede, forefather of Pandwas and son of Kuru Hasti. Many of their gotras are found amongst the rulers of Media or Mede empire of Iran+ Iraq.

    Reply
  22. Normally swarnkara are disorgnised socaily. That should be organised. We should know all sonar’a social status in all over India. We should not stop to only our own state. And we must be helpful and guide to each others. Only then we can be inspiration for other.
    Salute to Rqjesh Soni who leads for the mission.

    Reply
  23. pls someone tell me where is my Jathere place, we are Sunar (cast), Bhole (sir name) Batash (gotra), if someone know our jathere place pls inform me on my Mob- 9814975023. we shall be very thankful to you.

    Reply
  24. I want to know about my kuldevi… i m sunar nischal

    Reply
    • What about sunar population in madhya pradesh???
      I am from M.P. And I know thousands of sunar at least.
      Have u researched or just filled the space in ur website????

      Reply
  25. I am Dhunna and Mair Rajput. But i don’t know my Gotra and name of Kuldevi. Kindly inform my Gotra and Kuldevi and the place where Kuldevi’s temple is situated. Thanks

    Reply
    • Good website but required grooms profile of Soni community profile.. Jaipur

      Reply
  26. Hay swarnkar

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  27. HELLO,
    “SONKAR” is not included in swarnkar or sunar community and “sonkar” are CHAMAR and those who keep and eat pigs in north india…!
    So remove “sonkar” from sunar. And enhance your research…!!

    Reply
  28. verma community in kota,gangapur belong to sunar or kshatriya? their gotra? kuldevi?

    Reply
    • My grand father migrated from Hoisharpur Panjab to East Africa in 1890 Does any one know about our background in Panjab

      Reply
  29. It is good website and inspiring one for young generation for filling them with Pride of their prestigious background. Please spread the message to establish the quality in life whether personal, social or professional which is only way to get recognition for individually and for whole community as such.

    M.K.Verma
    Chemical Engineer

    Director-Engineering Consulting Company, Delhi

    Reply
    • Looking job in mechanical engineering as a GET. Please help.

      Reply
  30. What is our(sonar) total population in India?

    Reply
  31. THIS IS GUDDDDD

    Reply
  32. I admire these wonderful historical details about goldsmiths of India, I belong to from Ballia (UP) and my wife from Deoria UP), I saw for the first time as a retired Family Physician in USA. There are many goldsmiths of India who have successfully settled in many countries as businessmen, engineers, physicians, teachers-professors, etc. Thanks to the writer.

    Reply
    • I m looking a sonar Ladka for my sister plz help
      Call me 9582712517

      Reply
  33. Mai Bhardwaj gotra se hu meri bahan(27-1/2) ke shadi k liye sunar ladka chahiye kya app madad kar sakte hai?
    Age-27-1/2 years
    Weleducated
    Hight-5’1″ fits
    Colour- fair

    Reply
    • I want to became a part of sonar Samz in Delhi

      Reply
  34. Hello Dear All,

    I am looking a boy for my daughter belongs to Jaipur(Rajasthan) and her education is (MBA & PhD)Private Job born in 1988 contact 0141-2355126

    Reply
  35. Myself CP Verma age 55 yrs Textile Graduate having 35 yrs industrial experience across the GLobe having three children & spouse . Our Gotra is Bharadwaj basically from UP near Kanpur . I would like to know more about my family tree & our fore fathers and our Kuldevi. Can anyone help us in this matter?

    Reply
  36. My gothar is ittan
    what is my caste tank or mahr sunar pls reply

    Reply
  37. Rajesh g, aap ye group ka sanchalan kar rahe h aur logo se unka bio data,date of birth many tahe h, aap samaj seva ka kam karte h ya isake liye logo se rupaya(rupees) v mangte h? Yadi rupaye Ki many karte h to plz gumrah na karke , us kam ka vastvik value pahle hi Bata dijiye taki hum log gumrah na ho

    Reply
  38. Hello sir can you please tell all the surnames which fall under soni/goldsmith caste ?

    Reply
  39. Dear People who are posting advertises (Marriage Suggestions) for their sons/daughters/sisters/brothers,(with all their qualities) Please stop this business in the name of marriage. Looks like you’re selling a chair and telling all it’s qualities. Respect the tradition (thousands years old) but don’t let it hurt the Freedom of individual. First you find a rich family, marry your children to a complete stranger just for your personal greed and selfishness then you will demand/offer a dowry. And the System goes on.
    How the hell can this be called a marriage. This is just business.
    and By the way this website was just to inform about Sonars. This is not a marriage Beuro website.

    Reply
  40. meri kuldevi ma konsi h mera gotra bhatra h mere no 7820887377 h ..hr jgh hmara hi gotra nhi milta

    Reply
  41. Mason kul Davi which temple

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  42. Please tell me the difference between Deshwal sunar and so called Pachhade Sunar in UP. Thanks

    Reply
  43. I knew one sant ( sadhu) his name is Soni Harichand maharaj from Rajasthan. He has written 3 kitab(books) i.e. Adupuran bhajanavali, Nyaychitamani & Atampiram.

    Reply
  44. Maharashtra Sonars?
    What about them? Especially Panchal Sonars, they are considered as Brahmin in Maharashtra. My few of Brahmin friends said this to me

    Reply

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