Royal Races

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.), Jaipur
36 Royal Races by Tod

Royal races is a listing of Indian social groups purported to be the ruling clans of several states and Janapads spread over northern Indian subcontinent. Among the historical attempts at creating a comprehensive listing of the 36 are the Kumarapala Prabandha of Acharya Jinamandan Gani [1]of 1435 AD,[2][3] Prithviraj Raso of uncertain date, and Colonel James Tod, writing [Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan] in 1829.

Kumarapala Prabandha list

The Kumarpal Prabandh list gives 36 clans.[4][5] It starts with dynasties mentioned in the classics,

1.Ikshvaku, 2.Yadu, 3.Surya and 4.Chandra.

It mentions some of the famous clans:

5.Parmar, 6.Chauhan, 7.Chaulukya (Solanki), 8.Gurjar Pratihar (these four are sometimes termed Agnikula)
9.Ratt, 10.Chandela and 11.Pala.

It also mentions local dynasties like

12. Shilahara, 13.Chapotkata, 14.Nikumbh etc.

Many of the names are less known. Notably, it includes the

15. Maurya.

Kumarpal Prabandh was consulted by Tod,[6] he refers to it as Kumarpal Charit.[7]

Prithviraj Raso list

The list given in Prithviraj Raso has most of the names given in Kumarapala Prabandha, approximately in the same order. Notably it adds

Tank, Abhira and Kalchuri.[8]

James Tod's list

A listing of the 36 was attempted by Tod in his 1829 work Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (volume 1). The "races" are further subdivided into 157 branches ( i.e. sakhas), and genealogical, cultural, and geographic information given for each, though some of the sakhas are extinct.[9]

The principal ones like the

Ghilote having 24 sub-branches,
Tuar or Tanwar 17,
Rathor 13,
Parmara 35,
Chamhan or Chauhan 26,
Challook or Solanki 16,
Pratihara 12.

Each sakha has its Gotracharya of genealogical creed describing the characteristics, religious practices, and the locale of the clan.[10] Agrarian martial communities like Ahirs (Yadav), Jats and Gurjars were also included in this list by Tod.[11]

Tod's list is to be found on page xiii (1899 printing) of his 1829 work: The annals and antiquities of Rajasthan: or the central and western Rajpoot states of India.[12]

The Jats

The Jats were designated by the British Imperial Government as a Martial Race. Martial Races were races and peoples that were naturally warlike and aggressive in battle, and possessed qualities like courage, loyalty, self sufficiency, physical strength, resilience, orderliness, hard working, fighting tenacity and military strategy. The British Empire recruited heavily from these Martial Races for service in their Armies. A strategy that is still used today (21st century) in Armies of South Asian countries e.g. The famous Jat Regiment & the Gurkhas.

Col. James Tod notes that The Jats hold place amongst the 36 royal races of ancient India.[13][14][15] S. Jabir Raza notes that the Jats, during ancient period, were known as the Jits. The Persian form of the ancient term Jit is Jatt (जट्ट) with short vowel and double short ‘t’.[16]

List of 36 Royal Races

36 Royal Races as mentioned by Tod are:

  1. Suryavanshi
  2. Chandravanshi
  3. Gahlot
  4. Yadu
  5. Tuar
  6. Rathod
  7. Kushwaha
  8. Pramara
  9. Chauhan
  10. Chalukya/Solanki
  11. Parihar
  12. Chawra
  13. Tak/Takshak
  14. Jat
  15. Hun
  16. Kathi
  17. Bala
  18. Jhala
  19. Jethwa
  20. Gohil
  21. Sarwya
  22. Salar
  23. Dabhi
  24. Gor
  25. Dor/Doda
  26. Gaharwar
  27. Bargujar
  28. Sengar
  29. Sikarwar
  30. Bais
  31. Dahia
  32. Johiya
  33. Mohil
  34. Nikumbha
  35. Raj Pali
  36. Dahima Extra Hul/Dahirya


  1. Lt. Col. James Tod's Travels in Western India: Supplementary Volume, James Tod, Raghubir Sinh, Publication Scheme, 1998 - India, p.42
  2. Shri Kumarpal Prabandh, Vaidya Munilal Maganlal, Vadodara Sarakari Chhapakhana, 1895, p. 3
  3. Jai Narayan Asopa (1990). A socio-political and economic study, northern India. Prateeksha Publications. p. 89.
  4. Shri Kumarpal Prabandh, Vaidya Munilal Maganlal, Vadodara Sarakari Chhapakhana, 1895, p. 3
  5. Jatibhaskar, Jwalaprasad Mishra, 1914, pp. 218-219
  6. Some Medieval Sculptures of North Gujarat, H. A. Majmudar, Gujarat University, 1968, p. 155
  7. A Socio-political and Economic Study, Northern India, Jai Narayan Asopa, Prateeksha Publications, 1990, p. 94.
  8. Jatibhaskar, Jwalaprasad Mishra, 1914, pp. 218-219
  9. Sir Chirravoori Yajneswara Chintamani (1901). Indian social reform: being a collection of essays, addresses, speeches, &c., with an appendix. Thompson. pp. 154–
  10. Sir Chirravoori Yajneswara Chintamani, "Indian social reform: being a collection of essays, addresses, speeches", page 155
  11. Association of Population Geographers of India. Population geography: a journal of the Association of Population Geographers of India. Thompson. pp. xi–
  12. James Tod (1899). The annals and antiquities of Rajasthan: Indian Publication Society.
  13. Tod.II.256
  15. Historical Evidence Chapter 1:Scythic Origin of the Rajput Race by Mulchand Chauhan
  16. Raza, S. Jabir (2004). The Jats of Punjab and Sind: Their settlements and migrations (c. 5th-12th century AD) 1

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