Garhwali Surnames

  • 1 May
  • 2019

Garhwali Surnames

Bisht is a title used in communities living primarily in the Central Himalayas, such as the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Bisht Rajputs refers to the title of Rajputs in Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand.Bishts are also thakurs. Bishts are also found in the erstwhile princely state of Rampur in Himachal Pradesh.

Etymology: Bisht was a title given by kings to nobles, derived from the Sanskrit vishisht ("Distinguished").

History: Bisht is a Royal caste of kumaon and garhwal region. Bisht originated as a title of Thakurs of Kumaun and Garhwal . They possessed grants of lands . Being a title of status, Bisht became obsolete with land reforms, but many families still remember the origin of their last names or surnames. Parihar Bisht, Pundir Bisht, Rawal Bisht, Rana Bisht, Mehar Bisht, Khadeti Bisht, Kafola Bisht, Basanwal Bisht, Newal Bisht, Knayu Bisht, Nainwal Bisht, Sheela Bisht, Dhaira Bisht, Heet Bisht, Timle Bisht. Sangela Bisht is one of the Bisht who's name Sangela Garh is one of among the 52 Garh in Uttrakhand. At Present Siku Village which is situated at Pauri Garhwal is the village of Sangela Bisht among the Sagela Dhar, Sangela Koti etc. Its linegaes in hills and its usage is quite prevalent in Garhwal region while in Kumaon region it is only practiced discreetly.



Negi means "Royal" and "perfect rajputs".They are from the royal family of and negi also refers to the title given to nobles by the kings. Negi mostly serving in the Indian Army.They lives in the highlands of Garhwal and Negi also refers to the title and a surname of Rajputs in Garhwal, himachal district of kinnaur, Kumaon and regions of Uttarakhand.

Notable people:

  • Darwan Singh Negi Victoria Cross recipient
  • Gabar Singh Negi Victoria Cross recipient
  • Mir Ranjan Negi-hockey
  • Narendra Singh Negi-folk singer
  • Parimarjan Negi-Chess Grandmaster

Joshi is a surname of Brahmins in India and Nepal. The name is popularly derived from the Sanskrit word Jyotsyar or Jyotishi. Joshi is a common family name in the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab, Konkan, & Goa. In Nepal, it is adopted by two different Ethnic Groups, the Kumai Bahun & the Newa people.

In the Marathi populated Deccan, the last name Joshi is pronounced as ज़ोशी (dental J, closer to Z) as opposed to जोशी in rest of India and Nepal. In old Konkani language, it is joyshi, but now commonly Joshi.

The Van Rawats (Alt., "Ban Raji", "Ban Rawat", Van Rajis, Raji) are a native endangered ethnic minority group, originating and living in Uttarakhand, India. They are distributed in the districts of Pithoragarh, Champawat and Udham Singh Nagar and in a small area confined to Western Nepal. They are the smallest Himalayan tribal group. They are basically nomadic hunter-gatherers, but also work as agriculture and forest labourers. They are mainly dependent on forests, and also practice shifting cultivation. Their existence is threatened by developmental and wild life related projects. They were placed in forced settlements by the Government of India beginning in the 1980s. Many continue to move in semi-nomadic camps, but most are now settled into villages along the Mahakali (Kali) River area straddling India and Nepal.

Van Rawats worship supernatural beings that live in the Forests and Sky. The Sun, known as Diho, represents their major deity. They also worship a forest deity known as Kaiyu/Qaiyu. She is prayed to before hunting. The deity Masan is prayed to before fishing. Masan is seen as potentially malevolent while Kaiyu is benevolent. When supernaturals live in natural objects, they may be named as well. The Doliya/Dolia, for example, live in some stones.

A third major set of deities are the ancestral deities, known as Sey-da/Seda, a term that possibly derives from the Proto-Tibeto-Burman word for a dead person, *sǝy 'die'. They make one shake and go into an altered state of consciousness. One of the major ancestral deities is known as Samoji. There are many other ancestral deities based upon a particular clan ancestor.

Practising a form of religious syncretism, Van Rawats also borrow Hindu gods, and will alternatively call paternal ancestral deities by the local Hindu terms, Isht, Pichash, and the common local Hindu deity known as Bhaiyar, especially when speaking in front of outsiders.

A fourth set of major supernaturals are the supernatural forces (Hawa/Ha'wa) that live as animate forces, often of the weather. Latiya BaR/BaN (word-final sound is retroflex palatal nasal stop), For example, will cause people to become dumb (from the Hindi word for dumbness plus the indigenous term). Other gods of note include Daru/Dharu which comes along the wind; Bujergalog, a deity mentioned by an octogenarian living in one of the settlements near Askot, Kumaon.