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The Trigartas (त्रिगर्त) were ancient tribes of Mahabharata period which gave rise to many Jat clans.


Jalandhar was the capital of Trigartas (people living in the "land between three rivers": Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) in the times of Mahabharata war. According to Alexander Cunningham[1] Trigartta is the usual Sanskrit name found in the Puranas. 'Hema-Kosha.' writes Jâlandharâs Trigarttâsyuh — "Jalandhara, that is Trigartta."


Alexander Cunningham [2] has mentioned Trigarttas in the Hill States of the Punjab ruling in 7th century. He writes that Trigartta is repeatedly mentioned in the chronicles of Kashmir as an independent kingdom ; and its own history shows that one-half of the present petty states of the Jalandhar hills have sprung from the division of the possessions of a single family.

Jat Gotras from Trigarta

In different section of the Mahabharata the number of the Trigarta brothers goes on increasing from one to five and then to six. Maheswari Prasad [3] writes, it appears that at the time of the final redaction of the Mahabharata the tradition of the six important clans of the Trigartas was well established. It is carious to note that in connection with the application of a suffix Panini makes a reference to the Damini (दामिनी) group and the six Trigartas (दामन्यादि त्रिगर्तसष्टाच्छ: v.3.116). On the basis of an ancient verse the Kashika commentary names these as Kauṇḍoparastha (कौण्डोपरस्थ) , Dāṇḍakī (दाण्डकी), Krauṣṭakī (क्रौष्टकी), Jālamāni (जालमानि), Brahmagupta (ब्रह्मगुप्त), and Jānaki (जानकी). These communities mentioned in the grammatical literature can be identified with following Jat Gotra names:

  • (3) Dāṇḍakī (दाण्डकी): Dangi,
  • (5) Jālamāni (जालमानि): Jali,

Location of Trigartas

The Mahabharata Book 2: Sabha Parva SECTION XXXI locates them along with Dasarnas, the Sivis, the Amvashtas, the Malavas, the five tribes of the Karnatas around Rohtak in Haryana as under:

शैरीषकं महेच्छं च वशे चक्रे महाथ्युतिः
शिबींस त्रिगर्तान अम्बष्ठान मालवान पञ्च कर्पटान ।। 6 ।।
Vaisampayana said,--"I shall now recite to you the deeds and triumphs of Nakula, and how that exalted one conquered the direction that had once been subjugated by Vasudeva. The intelligent Nakula, surrounded by a large host, set out from Khandavaprastha for the west, making this earth tremble with the shouts and the leonine roars of the warriors and the deep rattle of chariot wheels. And the hero first assailed the mountainous country called Rohitaka that was dear unto (the celestial generalissimo) Kartikeya and which was delightful and prosperous and full of kine and every kind of wealth and produce. And the encounter the son of Pandu had with the Mattamyurakas of that country was fierce. And the illustrious Nakula after this, subjugated the whole of the desert country and the region known as Sairishaka full of plenty, as also that other one called Mahetta. And the hero had a fierce encounter with the royal sage Akrosa. And the son of Pandu left that part of the country having subjugated the Dasarnas, the Sivis, the Trigartas, the Amvashtas, the Malavas, the five tribes of the Karnatas, and those twice born classes that were called the Madhyamakeyas and Vattadhanas. And making circuitous journey that bull among men then conquered the (Mlechcha) tribes called the Utsava-sanketas."[4]

The Trigartas have been variously located which shows that they had several settlements. The puranas call them the inhabitants of hills (Parvatāśrayinaḥ) (पर्वताश्रयिनः). The Bṛhatsamhitā locates them in the uttārapatha [5]. According to the Abhidhānachintānaṇi, Trigarta corresponds to Jālandhara (जालन्धरास्त्रिगर्ताःस्युः). The description of the Virat parva makes us believe that they were the northern neighbours of the Matsya Janapada (i.e. Bairat) and must have been living somewhere in modern Hissar. Reference to them are found in such later works as the Sarasvatīkaṇṭhābharaṇa (IV. 2.87) Goṇaratnamahodadhi (v.144) and Abhidhāna Chinatāmaṇi (p.382) [6]

Trigarta literally means three pits, valleys or settlements and also the people living there. In ancient period people were named after areas and areas also got the names of people. Therefore the word garta (गर्त) is significant and requires examination. The normal Prakrit formation from garta would be gatla or gaṭṭa but jarta or Jaṭṭa is also possible. The philologists are of the view that the Indo-European language had a frontal ee which change to ē in greek and a in Sanskrit and due to this change k and g got changed in sanskrit to their corresponding palatals e.g. Greek Genos, sanskrit Jana. This phenomena is called the Law of palatals. The change form K and g to C and J can also be seen in such Sanskrit words as Cakāra, Jagāma. One may therefore presume two formations garta and Jarta existing side by side. Whereas garta is available in the Rigveda and later Sanskrit works Jarta existed in dialect. One should not think that the emergence of dialects is a late phenomenon. The philologists opine that already in the Indo-European period the parent language was divided people in dialects. [7]

The Trigartas were an ancient people closely associated with the Sibis, Yaudheyas and other groups and belonged to the Āyudhajīvī Samgha at the time of Panini. Their location in Hissar as suggested be the Virat Parva is pointer to the fact that they were the part of the people among whom the Yaudheya clan had excelled. When the political centres are destroyed by the powerful adversaries, new leadership springs up form the masses and with them come up new names for leadership. In such a situation , the word Jarta, an oblique form of gart, appears to have come in prominence. From Jarta ot Jaṭṭa and then, under the Law of Moves', Jāṭ is a normal linguistic formation. [8]

To sum up the results of the present study, it must be stressed that the Jats belong to the proto-vedic Aryan stock. But being on the periphery of the Madhyadesa, the cradle of vedic culture, they did not undergo the social transformation on the line of varna system and monarchical political organization. The power of decision making remained with elders and clan organizations described in literature as Jeṣṭha Vṛiddha, Samsad or Sabha. A few ancestors of Jats have been named in this study and others are waiting for a comprehensive study. [9]


  1. The Ancient Geography of India,p.136-137
  2. The Ancient Geography of India/Singhapura,p.131
  3. Maheswari Prasad, “Jats in Ancient India”:The Jats, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Vol.I, p. 26
  4. [Mahabharata Sabha Parva on Jatland Wiki
  5. Bṛhatsamhitā XIV. 25
  6. Maheswari Prasad, “Jats in Ancient India”:The Jats, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Vol.I, p. 26
  7. Maheswari Prasad, “Jats in Ancient India”:The Jats, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Vol.I, p. 27
  8. Maheswari Prasad, “Jats in Ancient India”:The Jats, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Vol.I, p. 27
  9. Maheswari Prasad, “Jats in Ancient India”:The Jats, Ed. Dr Vir Singh, Vol.I, p. 27

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