Rajput Clans

Rajputs regard themselves as being descended from the vedic warrior class known as the Kshatriyas. To differentiate them from ordinary Kshatriyas the word Rajput was used, which literally means "son of a King."

Rajputs belong to one of three great patrilineages (vanshas), which are sub-divided into 36 main clans (kulas), which in turn divide into numerous branches (shakhas), to create the intricate
clan system of the Rajputs.

The 36 Rajput clans are first mentioned in Kumarpala Charita of Jayasimha and then in Prithvirāj Rāso of
Chandbardai. The lists include classical clans like Ikshvaku, Soma, and Yadu, well-known Rajput clans such as Bargujar, Parmar, Puwar,Chauhan, Chalukya, Rathore, Parihar, Chandela etc as well as lesser known clans such as Silar (Shilahar), Chapotkat, Tank, etc.

Today, with the aid of inscriptions and copperplates discovered, it is possible to trace the history of the royal clans with considerable certainty. However they were not available in 17-18th century when a number of chronicles (khyats) were compiled, often based on oral tradition. By this time the agni-kunda myth had been expanded to explain the origin of four of the major clans. James Tod wrote his influential book "The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan" in 1829 and 1832 on the basis of these chronicles. Some of his hypotheses have been used by other authors, even though the texts discovered and read during the 20th century show that Todd's hypotheses are sometimes inaccurate.

The principle of patrilineage is staunchly adhered to in determining one's place in the system and a strong consciousness of clan and lineage is an essential part of the Rajput character. As the 1911 edition of the
Encyclopedia Britannica states, this tradition of common ancestry permits an indigent Rajput yeoman to consider himself as well-born as any powerful landholder of his clan, and superior to any high official of the professional classes. Authoritative listings of the 36 Rajput clans are to be found in the Kumārpāla Charita of Jayasimha and the Prithvirāj Rāso of Chandbardai.

The Suryavanshi lineage Suryavamshi claim descent from
Surya. The Sun Dynasty is oldest among Kshatriyas. The first person of this dynasty was "Vivaswan," who by the meaning of his name is considered to be "Surya." Ikshvaku was the first important king of this dynasty. Other important kings were Kakutsth Harishchandra, Sagar, Dileepa, Bhagiratha, RaghuDashratha and Rama. The poet Kalidasa wrote the great epic Raghuvamsa about the dynasty of Raghu including the great king born in the Sun Dynasty. Ikshvaku also represents the 2 rivers Sarasvati (Oxus) and Drishadvati (Jaxartes) of which Mr. Gangaram writes:” The Aryan civilisation was centered around the Sarasvati and Drishadavati rivers. We know that the goddess Sarasvati is also called Vaks (speech) and that the Sarasvati (daughter of the lake, sea) river is called Va(m)ksu in the Mahabharata. The Greek word Oxus is a corruption of Vaksu. The other river Jaxartes (Caks-sar(i)tes means eye-river) is. Drishadvati which means daughter of the eye (or stone). (Drish means: to see). The one river signifies sight while the other signifies speech. There is a relationship with Iksh-vaku (sight-speech), the forefather of the warrior race. Iksh-vaku is the great grandson of sage Kashyapa. The 2 rivers represent Iksh-vaku (see-speak), while Kashyap is the Caspian sea, which in Vedic times was called Kasyapa Mira. Scientists have shown that the 2 rivers used to flow in the Caspian sea, before they changed their course and emptied in the Aral sea. This could be the cause of the southward movement of the Aryans. The Vedic river Raha ro Rasa is identified with the Volga river, which in old slavonic languages is called Rasa, from which Russia derives its name”.). The Rajwar, a cultivating caste of Bihar and Chota nagpur who claim Surajvansi Rajput descent, but is not generally admitted. The Surajvansi are sometimes also called Kaushilya or Kaushal (after Kush), while the chandravansi are called Kaushik. The Kausik(a) rajput tribe is also found in considerable numbers in Ghazipur, Azimgarh and Gorakhpur, claiming descent from Kausik, father of Gadhi, founder of Gadhipur (Ghazipur). suryavansh clans: Balla, Bargujar, Gehlot, Haiwaha, Hul, Jhala, Jamwal, Kachwaha, Minhas, Rathor, Senghar. these clans further divide into branches.

The Chandravanshi lineage
Chandravanshi claim descent from Som which literally means "Moon." This Lunar Dynasty is also old but younger than the Sun Dynasty. Som was the first king of this dynasty. Other important kings were Pururawa, Nahush, Yayati, Dushyant, Bharata, Kuru, Shantanu and Yudhishthir. Yadu was the eldest son of Yayati claim descent from Yadu. Krishna was also born in this dynasty of . Harivamsa gives details of this dynasty. The Suryavamsha as well as the Somavamsha originated from the common ancestor, the great Brahma. His sons were : Marichi; his son sage Kashyap; his son Vivaswan or Surya i.e. Sun, and the descendants vamsha was Suryavamsha. The other son of Brahma was Atri. And his sons were Sagar or Samundar i.e. sea (from which the apavansi or sagarvansi sprang and Sagar’s son was Soma or Chandra, and his descendants were the Somavansa. The youngest of Bramha's seven sons, Rishi Vashisht, prayed Manu to perform a putreyshti-yagya ( yagya to beget a son). Unfortunately, the Rishi made a mistake during the yagya procession that resulted in a baby girl named, Ila, instead. However, the Rishi reverted the mistake by recreating Ila to a man called Sudyumn. Interesting enough, Sudyumn got lost in Lord Mahadev's reserved sports forest where Kamdev's kami shakti resulted in Sudyumn's loss of memory. Consequently, Sudyumn reverted to Ila, his original true form. From the start of Somvansh to Shree Krishna, there were 46 generations of kings, all given in this section. The first seven being (in that order): Soma, Buddha (not the Gautama), Puruva or Yela, Ayu, Nahush, Yayati and Yadu. The 46th being Lord Krishna. chandravansh clans : Bharra, Bhatti, Chavada, Gaharwal, Jadeja, Jadon, Janjua, Jethwa, Katoch, Silahar, Tomar/ Tanwar. these clans further divide into branches

The Agnivanshi lineage It claims descent from four persons who were born from fire or by the influence of Ved Mantras." According to Puranic legend, as found in Bhavishya Purana, a yagna was held at Mount Abu, at the time of emperor Ashoka's sons. From the influence of Mantras of the four
Vedas, four Kshatriyas were born. They were: 1. Pramar (Paramara), 2.Chaphani (Chauhan); 3.Chu (Chalukya); 4.Pariharak (Pratihara). But since fire cannot produce warriors, it should be understood that these four persons were either reconverted into Hinduism or revitalized to fight against invaders. They could not be of foreign origin because India was fighting against Indo-Greek kings at that time. Pusyamitra Sunga and his son Agnimitra were Brahmins. They are known for reviving Hinduism. This theory of origin has produced much controversy; however, only four clans out of many Rajput clans are considered to be Agnivanshi. Some scholars also countNagavanshi and Rishivanshi. One of the most important clans of the Rishivans is Dhakare. It was believed that the origin of the Dhakare Rajput was when Raja Bali the king of Patal lok was injured during war with Raja Indra, king of Devta. Then his blood was collected on the leaf of a Dhakh and his guru Sukracharya make one man, by his mantras, whose name was Dhakare, fight against Devtas. The traditional lineages of Dhakare Rajput presently live in Agra (UP) and near the river Chambal. The Yaduvanshi lineage, claiming descent from the Hindu god Krishna, are in fact a major sect of the Chandravanshi.

It is believed that 4 Agnikula clans originated by Brahmanas having concentrated them by fire. According to the myths, Parmar, was created out of fire by Indra Devta, the god of fire, at Mount Abu. It is said that as the newly created man had come out from fire saying “Param-Amar, Param-Amar” or "immortal fire" loudly, he came to be known as parmar. Vikramaditya according to some was a Pa(r)war, but most probably a Tomar. There were many other kings bearing the name Vikramaditya. The Rishis and Munis (Hindu ascetics) further say that afterwards Brahma created a young man from fire. He was holding a sword in one hand and Veda in the other. He came to be known as ‘Chilonki’ because it is believed that as Brahma had prepared the putla or human image on his hand, then had thrown it into fire, the man had born. It is said that the word got corrupted to ‘Milonki’ and later on to ‘Solinki’. It is said that afterwards god Shiva created a man from fire, who had a dark complexion. This man, though not brave, was well suited to act as guard at the door. This is exactly the reason why he came to be known as ‘Prithvi Dwar’. In its changed form it came to be known as Parrhiar. Later on the god Vishnu created a man from fire and made him like himself and with complexion of Krishna (black). He was very brave with bow tied to his body and arrow in one hand and sword in the other. Because of these attributes he came to be known by the name of ‘Chifrang’, which in its corrupted form became ‘Chauhan’. In this way the Rajputs were born from fire by the kindness of the gods. They are also known to be agnikul or the fire family hence agni-vansi. The place of fire at the Mount Abu where they were created is still held sacred by them and they prefer pilgrimage (tirath) to it. agnivansh clans :
Parmara, Parihara, Chalukya, Chauhan. these further divide into branches.

Legend of Agnivansha Among the legends mentioned above, the one which addresses the origin of the Agnivanshi Rajputs is particularly disputed not least because they were the earliest to rise to political prominence. This legend begins with the
puranic legend wherein the traditional kshatriyas of the land were exterminated by Parashurama, an avatara of Vishnu. Later, the legend says, sage Vasishta performed a great Yajna, or fire-sacrifice, to seek from the Gods a provision for the defense of righteousness on earth. In answer to his prayer, a youth arose from the very flames of the sacrifice -- the first Agnivanshi Rajput. According to Bhavishya Purana an yagna was held at Mount Abu during the time of Ashoka's sons. This produced four warriors and an elephant. The Agnikunda legend is explained in Agnivansha. Ashoka and his sons were Buddhists but the general of last Mauryan empereor was a staunch Brahmin.

Legend of Agnivansh is associated with Sage Vashishta when trying to save his Ashram from Vishwamitra's army he creates a "fire born" kshatriya. This legend has been embeliished by indologists over the years.