Monday, November 5, 2007

On KoBras (the Konkanastha Chitpavan Brahmin Community) of West India

The origins of the Konkanastha (Chitpavan) Brahmin community of Maharashtra, India has long held my fascination.

I recently had the opportunity to read a book ‘Greek origins of Konkanastha (Chitpavan) Brahmin community from Maharashtra’ by Shri Pratap V.Joshi (IPS). The book (or rather, a booklet) is nothing impressive both in terms of the logical faculties or the logical flow of ideas in the book or systematic research etc. But nevertheless it did communicate one more theory about the origin of these ‘foreign’ people on the West Coast of India. A theory which does not seem extremely absurd prima facie.

Well known for their 'European-like' features of light skin and grayish to green eyes, these people seems to be recent migrants to the Konkan region : perhaps around 1000 ACE or so. They are firs t mentioned in a literary book around the 15 th century of so.

Theories about their origin abound: That they came from Egypt, Palestine or were Persians or Phoenicians or of Greek origin.Or that they migrated from the North of India to the Konkan, fleeing the Yadavas. That they are of Jewish or Parsi origin.

To come back to the theory this book propounds

  • There was a Greek colony in Egypt since the days of Alexander the Great when Egypt was part of his empire
  • These Ptolemaic Greeks started a new Cult of Seraphis similar to the worhip of Shiva and Nandi in India
  • Around the year 639 ACE, the Arabs invaded Egypt and began to overrun it. All around the Greek colony had to face hostile Egyptian Coptic Christian population or the Arab Islamic forces. Their homeland too had either converted to Christianity or were belonging to a competitor cult and hence was not an option to migrate-to.
  • Because of the strong maritime tradition among this Greek colony and their trade links with Western India, they chose to migrate to India.
  • The author tries to prove the etymological link thus: Egyptan ……..>Jiptaan ……..> Chiptaan ……..> Chitpaan ……..> Chitpavan
In this connection, I must mention another book: an impressive looking ‘Chitpavinism – A Tribute to Konkanastha Brahmin Culture’ by Jay Dixit M.D. Having done a lot of research including genetic analyses, he has come to the following conclusion

  • Chitpavans appear to be recent settlers in the Konkan area as compared to surrounding Maharashtra population
  • Their ancestors may have a common origin with people such as Ashkenazi Jews and some other ancient idol worshipping Jewish or pagan tribes in the Baltic or Europe.
  • They most likely migrated from their ancestral land around the Black Sea and modern day Turkey to Konkan……and marched from the North Punjab area to the south over the last few centuries
The following article by Linda Cox forms a good background reading to this topic

The following adds another dimension to the mystery:

  • In the extreme north of Himalayas at a very high altitude, you have the Roopkund lake (at 5029 metres (Mt.Everest or Sagarmatha is 8000+ metres)) which is scattered with bones and skeletons of 300-600 people. There are no proper approach roads to this lake and it’s a 3-4 days trek to reach it
  • These skeletons are divided in 2 groups: a short group (probably local porters) and a taller group of people who were closely related
  • Radiocarbon dating puts the date of the event in the 9th Century ACE
  • National Geographic aired a 1-hour documentary on this lake. Their investigations reveal that
    • These folks were killed by a very lethal hailstorm
    • The size of skeletons indicates people from the plains, probably Hindu pilgrims and
    • That the group was very closely related: with females and children too
  • Now here’s the catch: The group’s DNA analyses indicates that they are Konkanastha Chitpavan Brahmins. “a taller group with DNA mutations characteristic of the Kokanastha Brahmins of Maharashtra” If that’s not eerie, what is?
  • What were a group of Chitpavan Brahmins doing in the 9th century ACE up in Himalayas? Even the first literary mention of ‘KoBras’ is in the 15th century or so and that too localized in West India in a very small area. Hmm….food for thought!!!!
  • Also refer to
PS: Madhuri Dixit and Sonali Bendre are this community's recent contributions to Bollywood

Update on 26-Mar-2010


Citpavans are also known as Citpols, Ciplunas and Konkanasthas. The names Citpavan, Citpol and Ciplunas appear to come from the town Cipluna, their original and chief settlement, the old name of which is said to have been Citpolan. They began to call themselves Konkanasthas in about 1715 A. D. when Pesva Balaji Visvanath, their casteman rose to importance in Maratha kingdom. They worship Parasuram, the legendary slayer of the Ksatriyas and the coloniser of the Konkan. Of their early history or settlement in Ratnagiri no record remains. The local legend makes them strangers descended from fourteen shipwrecked corpses who were restored to life by Parasuram. The Citpavans have a tradition that they came from Amba Jogai about 100 miles north of Sholapur. They say they were originally Deshasths and that fourteen Brahmins of different gotras (family stocks) accompanied Parasuram to Konkan and settled at Cipluna. This does not seem probable as they differ greatly from Deshasths in complexion and features. Fair and pale with, in most cases greenish gray (ghare) eyes, they are a well-made vigorous class, the men handsome with a look of strength and intelligence; the women small, graceful and refined, but many of them delicate and weak-eyed. In their homes they use a peculiar dialect, which is now fast dying out. Out of doors they speak pure Marathi with more marked pronunciation of anusuar, the nasal sound. Many of the west coast villages, owned and held by Citpavans, are for cleanliness and arrangement a pleasing contrast to the ordinary Indian village. Their houses, built of stone, stand in cocoanut gardens or in separate enclosures, shaded with mango and jack trees, and the village roads, too narrow for carts, are paved with blocks of laterite and well shaded. Ponds, wells and temples add to the general appearance of comfort. The Citpavans are very clean and tidy. Though not superior to Deshasthas and Karhadas in rank, they are held in much respect by most Ratnagiri Hindus, who believe that the mantras (sacred texts) repeated by a Citpavan have a special worth. They are either Apastambas or Rgvedis and belong to the Smart sect. They are followers of Sankaracarya. They have fourteen gotras. Unlike most castes of the Deccan, a Citpavan is not allowed to marry his maternal uncle's daughter. They have over all India a good name for their knowledge of Hindu lore, and in Bombay and Poona, some of the most distinguished native scholars in Sanskrit, mathematics, medicine and law, are Ratnagiri Citpavans. A very frugal, pushing, active, intelligent, well-taught, astute, self-confident, and overbearing class, they follow almost all callings and generally with success.  

Update on 11-Jul-2010



The Chitpavan Brahmans are undoubtedly the most powerful and the most able of all the Brahmans of the Deccan. A curious legend ascribes their origin to the miraculous intervention of Parashurama, the sixth Avatar of the god Vishnu, who finding no Brahmans to release him by the accustomed ritual from the defilement of his earthly labours, dragged on to shore the bodies of fourteen barbarians that he had found washed up from the ocean, burnt them on a funeral pyre and then breathed life and Brahmanhood into their ashes. On these new made Brahmans he conferred the name Chitpavan, which means "purified by fire," and all the land of the Konkan from which, by a bolt from his arrow, he caused the sea for ever to recede. Every Chitpavan to-day claims descent from one or other of the fourteen divinely Brahmanized barbarians, whom some believe to have been hardy Norsemen driven in their long ships on to the sandy shores of what is now the Bombay Presidency. At any rate, as has been well said of them, Western daring and Eastern craft look out alike from the alert features and clear parchment skin and through the strange stone-grey eyes of the Chitpavan. It was not, however, till about two centuries ago that the Chitpavan Brahmans began to play a conspicuous part in Indian history, when one of this sept, Balaji Vishvanath Rao, worked his way up at the Court of the Mahratta King Shahu to the position of Peshwa, or Prime Minister, which he succeeded even in bequeathing to his son, the great Bajirao Balaji, who led the Mahratta armies right up to the walls of Delhi. Bajirao's son not only succeeded as Balaji II., but on the death of King Shahu disposed of his Royal master's family by a bold Palace conspiracy and openly assumed sovereign powers. The crushing defeat of Panipat brought him to his grave, and though the dynasty was still continued, and regained some of its lustre under Madhao Rao I., the Peshwas subsequently became little more than rois fainéants in the hands of their Ministers, and especially in those of the great Regent Nana Phadnavis. He, too, was a Chitpavan Brahman, and it was under his reign that his fellow caste-men acquired so complete a monopoly of all the chief offices of State that the Mahratta Empire became essentially a Chitpavan Empire. The British arms ultimately defeated the dreams of universal dominion which, in the then condition of India, the Chitpavans might well have hoped to establish on the ruins of the great Moghul Empire. But British rule did not destroy their power. They were quick to adapt themselves to new conditions and above all to avail themselves of the advantages of Western education. Their great administrative abilities compelled recognition, and Chitpavans swarm to-day in every Government office of the Deccan as they did in the days of Nana Phadnavis. They sit on the Bench, they dominate the Bar, they teach in the schools, they control the vernacular Press, they have furnished almost all the most conspicuous names in the modern literature and drama of Western India as well as in politics. Of the higher appointments held by natives in the Presidency of Bombay, the last census tells us that the Hindus held 266 against 86 held by Parsees and 23 held by Mahomedans, and that out of those held by the Hindus, more than 72 per cent. were held by Brahmans, though the Brahmans form less than one-fourteenth of the total Hindu population of the province. All Brahmans are not, of course, Chitpavans, but the Chitpavans supply an overwhelming majority of those Government officials, and their ascendency over every other Brahman sept in Maharashtra is undisputed. From the Deccan, moreover, their influence has spread practically all over India and, especially, in the native States, which have recruited amongst the Chitpavans some of their ablest public servants. Amongst Chitpavans are to be found many of the most enlightened and progressive Indians of our times and many have served the British Raj with unquestioned loyalty and integrity. But amongst many others—perhaps indeed amongst the great majority—there has undoubtedly been preserved for the last hundred years from the time of the downfall of the Peshwa dominion to the present day, an unbroken tradition of hatred towards British rule, an undying hope that it might some day be subverted and their own ascendency restored. Not to go back to the exploits of Nana Sahib, himself a Chitpavan, and his followers during the Mutiny, or to the Ramoshi rebellion round Poona in 1879, it was in Poona that the native Press, mainly conducted by Brahmans, first assumed that tone of virulent hostility towards British rule and British rulers which led to the Press Act of 1879, and some of the worst extracts quoted at that time by the Government of India in support of that measure were taken from Poona newspapers. It was in Poona that some years later the assassination of two English officials by a young Chitpavan Brahman was the first outcome of a fresh campaign, leading directly to political murder. It was by another Chitpavan Brahman that Mr. Jackson was murdered last December at Nasik; his accomplices were with one exception Chitpavan Brahmans, and to the same sept of Brahmans belong nearly all the defendants in the great conspiracy trial now proceeding at Bombay.

Update on 4-Jun-17

Have embedded a few videos relating to Roopkund, Some article links also listed below

The Nat-Geo documentary on Roopkund is at

Roopkund the Frozen Mystery - documentary

The Himalayan Skeleton Lakes 1200 Year Mystery

Additional reading
Fathoming the ancient remains of Roopkund

Roopkund lake's skeleton mystery solved! Scientists reveal bones belong to 9th century people who died during heavy hail storm

Bones Of A Riddle

From hindustan times



Anonymous said...

You have mentioned yhat the DNA analysis of roopkund skeletons shows that they are Konkanastha Chitpavan Brahmins. Where did you get this information. The Wiki reference does not contain any such remark. Or is it some flight of fancy by that idiotic author of the book you have quoted ? You have rightly observed: The book (or rather, a booklet) is nothing impressive both in terms of the logical faculties or the logical flow of ideas in the book or systematic research etc. Please reply to

Pitu said...

Interesting. I have the book written by Dixit and I have actually exchanged emails with him a buncha times. You haven't mentioned the Parshuram myth that actually gave the Chitpavans their name. Chitpavan = Chit (funeral pyre) + pavan (pure). i.e. purified by the funeral pyre.

Nirvana said...


Thanks for visiting and for your comments. Someday i will do a more detailed follow-up blog entry on the Kobras and cover a lot many more things

Let me know if u have read anything interesting about the origins of the Kobras

And i visited ur site. Its nice



Anonymous said...

goood search for the roots!instead of many fallacious and mythical origins,let me give you one more creditable and in line with scientific finhinking.ref-as reconstructed from sri raghavendra swami charitra by korati sri niwas rao:the ancestors of chitpawans were brahmins from the north india.they were known as 'Shashtik"meaning of 60 kulas-synonymous to the 60 famous chitpawan surnames.they were at rampur-bareily-ahichchatrapur of UP and then migrated to ujjain.later on in the proto- historic times they further migrated down south may be 5000years ago-following sage agasti's foot steps and for long settled in and around ambajogai-paithan-beed dist maharashtra.that is why the kuldevata of most chitpawans is the proto-historic goddess in the form of a pristine tandala -yogeshwari devi of ambejogai.very imp to note that the kuldevata of chitales is vidhyavaini from vidhyas en route to south.the myths of devi having gone to these distant places from kokan are fallacious and around 230 bc they were invited by trinetrasharma -father of mayursharma of the kadamb dynasty of vanavasi-vaijayantipur of karnataka near shimoga to perform higher yagnas like ashwamedha.they were experts in shatkarmas.later on may be around 200 ad some of these people moved to ratnagiri-chiplon in kokan -prob for yagnas on the invitation of local king and settled there. their kinsmen kept on joining them subsequently by land and sea routes-from south and north.since they persisted in the practice of agnihotra since times immemorial,they were called "agnihotrapawan",then only "pawan" and later on "chitpawan" meaning purified by agnihotra practice so much that they were above all other brahmins -most pure of chit or heart.all this fits into the general theory of migration of brahmins from north to south india as in case of from deshsthas to aiyyars and aiyyangars but much earlier than the later's migration times. the haplograph studies add to this story as lele kulvrutanta there is a mention of a tamrapata given to hiranyakeshi(chitpawan) brahmin by Kongani raja(kongani verma)around500 ad.hiranyakeshi is a river from amboli ghat flows in east to karnataka later called ghatprabha.many more things fit into all this + a no.of written and archaeological evidence is furnished in the article of mr.rao.the other stories of dead brought alive/yawans converted as brahmins and all are humbugs floated by castes inimical and rivals of chitpawans and are a trash.

Anonymous said...

chitpawans follow the ashwalayan rigveda and the hiranyakeshi yajurved samhita.they are technically known as dwivedis.the vedas were divided into three branches by veda vyasa around 3000 b c. till then there was just one body say the mul veda.most of brahmins are traditionists of one veda branch only.say shukla yajurvedis etc. chitpawans are in this way unique which indicates that they have separated from the main north indian stream around the time of vyasa when there was no water tight compartmentalisation of the veda studies as at present.this shows their antiquity of at least 5000 years and migration from the north around those times.

Anonymous said...

as per Lele kulvruttanta,a tamrapata was given to a hiranyakeshi brahmin(chitpawan mostly) by kongani king (kongani verma)for paddy fields around 500 a d. the river hiranyakeshi flows from the sahyadri at at amboli ghat and flows to the east and is called ghatprabha in k"taka.THE RIVER NAME IS ASSOCIATED WITH HABITATION OF CHITPAWANS ON ITS BANKS.the founder of hiranyakeshi samhita followed by the chitpawans of mul veda yajus was satyashadh who had performed austerities on the sahya montains in konkan.all this goes to show that the chitpawans were well established in konkan region at that time. that indicates they must have been around there in kokan at least 200-300 years earlier i.e. around in 200ad.

Anonymous said...

kuldevatas are worshipped as per historic memory.the vindhya vasini worshipped by chitales indicates their and other chitpawans habitation in the vindhyas in long forgotten past en route their journey down south.similarly chitpawan's worship of devi yogeshwari of ambajogai indicates their having been in the physical worshipping proximity of the devi at ambajogai in beed-marathwada for long before moving to down south to vaijayanti.

Anonymous said...

Then how can we explain the 'European-like' features of light skin and grayish to green eyes? That indicates recent migration or it can be retained over thousands of years? Not challenging anyone here but the physical features don't match with their presence beyond 1000 years in India, I guess.
It's confusing ...

Anonymous said...

The North Indian features were carried down by the community to this day because inter-caste marriages did not take place in those times. They are a recent phenomenon. Hence, most of the community still has the Fair skin and light blue/green eyes.

Now in such a long history, there may have been the occasional case where a KOBRA MAN has married a woman with Indan features or some KOBRA woman had slept around with a Dark Indian male thus adding their features as well in the community.

Anonymous said...

Chitpawan braminhs surname are related to business they do same as parsis(zorastrians)
eg-Lakdawala,daruwala, gheewala
These names indicate business they do ,As parsis migrated from Iran they are known history.
Also in chitpawans names indicate business
sathe- wholsellers or stockist
pethe- pedhi merchant
kale- coal delaer
phadke-textile trader
gokhale- cow traders
Pendse-pendha ( animal foder or grass) trader
So chitpawan braminhs names are in similar format like parsis so must have close linkage i.e from Iran as jews.

Anonymous said...

Blue eyes are a fairly recent evolutionary feature.They were not present at the time of Aryan migration.Eye color is not merely dependent on one gene (as previously thought),but depend on 6 genes (making them not entirely recessive or dominant feature).Thus, it is capable of throwback feature(sudden appearance of a rare trait of ancestors in descendants).The genetic markers required for blue or hazel eyes is absent in North Indians.
Also, rather than fair skin,look at facial features, clearly not of Aryan or Dravid origins.DNA matching projects have been rarely conducted on Chitpavans, but results from Melungeon Genome Project in Arkansas suggests Caucasian origin with most of the Y chromosome markers matching Balkan or Turks.There has never been a direct comparrison between European & Chitpavan DNAs.However Chitpavans certainly DO NOT match with even thorough-bred North Indians genetically.They do match with Israelis (15% markers)but not sufficiently, as even decidedly Indian races match them(Rajputs 14% & Dhangars close to 11%).
In conclusion,genetically,they are not North Indians but might migrated(like Gujjars who are proved to be Huns).However their origin is uncertain.They may be Europeans,Turks or Berbers but require direct genetic matches with them to confirm.
As the above post says, they have surnames based on professions, but this tradition is common in Mediterranean & West Asian regions, not only Iranis eg: Fischer(Fisher),Mier(Mayor), Weber(Weaver)in Germany.this tradition aims at replacing older identity of migrants with a newer, more adapted identity with natives.


I think it is becoming evident that chitpawans are a migratd community by sea and land both probably in 90/10 ratio(my guess) and so are the rajput and dhangar to some (?) extent. All of them having some connection with greek,turk,jews etc.My confusion is over the period.
If lord Parshuram is to be concidered as man of origin then it becomes quite ancient phenomenon.and not to forget parashuram is worshipped even in Kerala.My qerry is a)synonyms of gotras in greek, percian.
(Zendavestha matches with rigveda)
b) Original villages where these 60 surnames are setteled in Konkan.c) Can anyone map the journey frm greece,turk,presia.
d)Differance in origial/pure gens and existng gens in chitpawan can certainly decide period of migration.e)can anybody throw light on originof shandilya gotra Joshi's village

shashank said...

I would think Genome should study whole Konkan population. There are many many people in Konkan with body features resembles with Kokanashta Bramhin but they are not Bramhin. Most of them dont how they landed in Konkan and the way they worship was totally different than rest of India or Hinduism. Speaking of KoBra,they also have NO relations with Gujarat or Karnataka bramhin let alone Dashastha. To me KoBras are Persians and were soldiers of the Persin king also known as 'Ram'. I think the word Pershuram ( The Ram from Persia) came into existance because of this.

Anonymous said...

The explanation of the European like physical features amongst some KoBras and other tribes in the Konkan is simply admixture with people of European descent on the west coast of India. It is very common to see people of mixed races in and arround ports and harbours.
Regarding the Chitpawans, they are descendants of the erstwhile Wai Brahmins (Deshastha and Karhade) who had families with European or Palestinian women in coastal areas. One of such children of the Peshwa Pingla of Satara was later bestowed the Peshwa title in the Maratha courts.
It is due to this reason the Chitpawan were not fully accepted into the Brahmin orthodoxy...and anecdotes of even the later Peshwas not allowed into prayer houses does not come as a surprise.
It is this disenchantment amongst the KoBras which has lead to the sense of solidarity amongst the tribe , which is more circumstancial than racial.

sangram said...

Bendre are not necessary be kobra, i remind you few year back a re-known magazine wrongly called lata mangeshkar as brahmin, But It isn't.
Any way those bloody thinks are part & parcel of supremacy theory from media,religion,politics every where u go there are people who quote someone wrongly or provide partial wrong information may be deliberately or otherwise.

pranav said...

I think Sonali Bendre is a CKP....
Well about the Mangeshkar family the things are a little merky....
Master Deenanath was the son of a karhade brahmin temple priest from a maratha devadasi...
Being the son of a devadasi he was not absorbed into the brahmin community...and so although carring a brahmin line he was cansidered a gomanta maratha....
That is why Mangeshkars are related to Pt. Abhisheki ,descendent of the temple priest's legal wife....


Well ,Bendre surname is listed in Datye Panchang as cobra, but this surname can be in other casts also as it is the case with many surnames

Renganathan said...

Iam from Thanjavur in Tamilnadu.We are called Hiranyakesi.We follow Hiranyakesi sathyada sutram in our poorva apara karyams.Krishna yajurvedhis.Want to know the name of 14 gotras as mentioned.

Anonymous said...

human history is complicated,but we should not forget that we all evolved from one neantherthal mankind.
now in the western-coast most of the tribes landed namely chitpawans,parsis,kurgs of south & turky-brahmins of gujarat,bene-israeli are arrived at same time,same storey of shipwereck and later adjustment into hindu-society ,are there.
so now, there is no need to further waste your valuable time of life on this.

Anonymous said...

i am from vatsa-gotra considered to be highest-clan in the gotra-heirarchy,north canara gaud saraswat brahmin(nkgsb).this clan is said to be oldest brahmin race in the continent with origins on the banks of rivet saraswati,with now possible migration to konkan.
but amazing thing about it that unlike other brahmins,who used to be non-vegetarians,nkgsbs never left their traditions and remained as it was since inception.-shekhar.

Anonymous said...


my name is Raste, gotra Kashyap....that must mean I descend from sage Kashyapa ! But I almost look like a mid-eastern perhaps like a when and where did the contamination happen..if I am indeed a Kashyap then should I not look like an Indian ?
Maybe my grandma was a bit naughty......

Anonymous said...

1 Atri 2 Kapi 3 kshyap 4Kaundinya 5 Kaushik 6Gagya 7 Jamadagnya 8Nityundan 9 Babhravya 10 Bharadwaj
11 Vatsa 12Vasishta 13 Vishnuvruddha 14 Shandilya. Some people claim that chipavan peoplewere invited by King to perfom ashwamedha Yajna at place near Chiplun and eresubsequetly allocated tracks of land to settle down in Konkana.

Anonymous said...

Parshuram was a brahma kshatriya not a pure brahmin. Hs mother was renuka a kshatriya princess who he killed (and restored) but she does not get credit for his valour and good looks ....typical male chauvinism .The greeks and huns etc also are considered fallen kshatriyas by MANU smruti. Being good looking is not qualification for brahminism .The deshashtha (beshista) brahmins did not have the guts to put these migrants in their proper category as brahma-kshatriyas and in order to avail the facility to marry their beautiful daugthers allowed these
outsiders a higher status typical of maharashtrian inferiority complex.Kokanasthas time and again proved their kshtriya qualities as peshwas ,gokhale ,savarkar and godse. the violent streak and barbaric character .yes also the typical cleanliness of the west- england and america.
Pure brahmins stayed away from
these agressive people allowing them to have their way .....
A lie travels thousand miles while truth is putting on its shoes .

Thats the reason of their uncertain origins .Parshuram was a imposter and agreed when he met Ram . So are his so called followers .

A Deshastha Brahman

Anonymous said...

please dont delete my comment posted before.
people have a right to see other
points of views and opinions .

Anonymous said...

I feel that aryans came in waves from central asia. Chitpavans might have arrived much earlier to present day north indian people and as a result have migrated south with course of time. I would also like to mention that there is a close relation between chitpavans and south indian brahmins, specially of uttar kannada and dakshin kannada in karnataka.

arline pilot said...

color of skin an eyes can be explained very easily.Not all kobras have fair skin and grey or blue eyes.A very small population of kobras have.If migration was the reason than all kobras shud have these features.but this is not the reality.the reason is very simple.british had their presence in pune for nearly 300yrs.Because of the caste system only kobras(being educated)were able to come in contact with them(including their wives)this is sheer common sence.Majority of the british officers were without their spouces so it was very easy to have relationship with kobra women.Eg goa has lots of people with blue eyes(portugese connections),pondicherry(french connections).majoritiy of brahmins (and all other maharashtrians)have normal brown complexion in pune which is determined by sun(hotter the climate darker is the skin and eyes).But only few people in last 200yrs suddenly having blue eyes and rest of the population having dark skin can be easily be explained,unfortunately in india we like to belive every nonsence and imaginary characters(parshuram etc)but not belive in science.My friend(from gujarat) has a son with blue eyes and he is not brahmin (but a dalit).the answer is very simple.He has got a german wife.I hope this explains the myth of indians living in hot places but still have european features.

shekhar borkar said...

shekhar said-as posted earlier under this forum,being a vatsa-gotra,nkgsb (north kanara gaud saraswat brahmin)earliest records of our being was on the banks of saraswati(haraswati in iran,as they spell word h for s)either in iran/afghanistan/sistan,after disappearance of saraswati river,they shifted to present day chitral-area of pakistan,where rugved was said to be born,later to kashmir,then in gaud-district of bengal.thereafter after muslim invasion they shifted their base to gomantak with 16 gotras,where they are known as gaud saraswat-brahmins.all gsb-clans having their own mathadipati-swami,but however denied rights to work as bhatji-brahmins in all temple & religious later they appointed karhade-brahmins as bhat-brahmins forall temple & puja-matters & call themselves as mahajans in gomantak.

Anonymous said...

By far the most ludicrous inference drawn by "arline pilot" about lonely Bristish officers of Pune marrying Kobra women as the reason for the grey/green/blue eyes!

Kobra families in Pune or anywhere else were eminently orthodox. Women mingling with officers by choice or even without would have had a hard time coming back to the family! Secondly, most of the Kobra's with those eyes have been in the Kokan region for years!

Thirdly, how come any other non-Kobra Maharashthra Brahmin families in and around densely British populations did not have these non-black eyes ?!

Looks like you have no idea of the orthodoxy or closed society the Chitpavan's had during British time... think twice before doling out over simplistic non-sense :)

I know because, being a Kobra I have heard stories from my grandfather and great-grand father both born in 1800's and generally have a grasp of the anthropological cast of Kobras!

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact chitpavans are probably the fairest sub group of brahmins in india,I should know as I am married to a chitpavan girl and live in pune for 5 years,a city whose elite is heavily chitpavan. I am a north indian. But chitpavans having blue eyes is complete baloney.I never met a pure chitpavan with blue eyes in 5 years.many of them have dirty green-greyish eyes. Very clear green eyes are a rarity even leave blue eyes.I don't believe they have aquired these features from the british,that's jealous babel.they also are no way ashkenazi jew.chitpavans are regular brahmin IQ.ashkenazi produce nearly half the world geniuses,I do not see any evidence of any extraordinary genius breeders in chitpavans.I will say 70 percent chitpavans look regular brahmins.30 percent look fairer and 10 percent very european like. Thing is when you see the european type you say ah he/she is a chitpavan,you ignore the 90 percent.something like not all muslims are terrorists... Now europeans have a very varied look,you have the nordic type,the mediterranean,dinaric,alpine,east baltic.chitpavans look east baltic -the russians.why I say this? Chitpavans are small in stature relative to their color. Wee see in india the fair types are generally big and tall.I myself am a big and tall fair kind from rajasthan.not saying that's the norm in rajasthan!east baltic have a significant mongoloid look within a base european caucasoid look. Notice their wide roundish heads flat eye plane.not very deep set eyes. Leonardo de capario-part russian is a good example. That's the closest european sub group the 10 percent to 30 percent of chitpavans resemble. Classic example are sonali bendre,aditi gowarikar,ajit agarkar. Even the great sachin tendulkar has that look. I know he is not chitpavan but he is a brahmin from west coast of maharashtra- so that could explain it. Now many russians get worked up if you suggest there is a mongoloid touch to them. But it's plain to view. Their mongoloid ancestory is both from modern turkish,mongolian,tartar misture in south.and from proto mongoloid-caucasoid sub stratum in in my view chitpavans may have come from south/central russia around 1000 years back.heavily mixed up with locals but a significant percentage maintaining relative un-mixed. For example again ajit agarkar looks more proto baltic,bendre with turkish-tartar mix from south.

Anonymous said...

I belong to Citpawan sect (Shandilya), i'm frm Pomendi of Ratnagiri presently working in Jerusalem, Isrel. We do huv fare skin than that of fishermen or other people living In konkan. My mom, dad even myself have brown eyes. But my grandma had green eyes n grandpa had blue eyes. When i came for my job here in jerusalem, i found similar facing, eyecolors, etc but we have little dark skin than them. According to me, there must be some unknown link btwn Konkan and this Middle east-turky. And I donot agree things written above abt european british n indian theory but i belong to orthodox family n theory maintioned above is just baseless.

Anonymous said...

Everyone is pointing out on phisical aspects of Chitpavan brahmins only. There re other aspects.
1 Chitpavanas are kshatriya in nature & not like an ideal brahmin. Kids of Chitpawan likes playing with weapons and act as if they are fighting.
2 They are straightforward non hypocratic/political in nature.They are comfortable in opposition with all adversities rather than enjoying fruits of power.
3 Simplicity is another remarkable trait. They generally hate wastages.
4 They are good in art proving them rigvedies. They are not good in voyages by water.
5 There are fair complexions in number of casts in Maharashtra. namdeo Shimpi,Dhangar & other several casts have people with fair complexion
It may not be correct to derive the origin from one single feature such as eyes,colour etc. The habitat might have influences on these according to habitat.Their teerh indicate that they have been vegitarians over centuries. The people having eating nonvegetarian have beatiful & straght & strong teeths. If they were from outside how they have turned in to vegitarians till last century? So the issue is complex & difficult to derive any conclusion.

Anonymous said...

If some folks in Konkan have similar characteristics as chitpavans should not surprise any one - ppeople do have sexual relationships.
As flar as the genius of chitpavans - they are very smart
and they constitute only 0.1 Percent of Indians population
Phalkhe the father of film industry
Paranjpe the only. Senior wrangler in India
Karmakar who devised the revolutionary algorithm after danzigs algorithm of 1948
Pandit the CEO of Citibank who got his phd at 21, magna cum laude
Abhyankar prof emeritus at purdue considered one of the few authority on post Galois mathematics
Deval the pioneers of Indian circus
Kaurve who sent 2 chitpavans ladies around 1870 or so ,, joshing did medicine at upend and ogre did her doctorate at Harvard
Tiilak and gokkhale considered the father of Indians revolution
I can go on and on

DNA studies do show common male a sectors with Ashkenazis until 1200 years ago

Anonymous said...

@thinktank: the Shandilya Joshis originate from Pawas. I'm one myself.

Anonymous said...

Chitpavans are probably smart, but nothing compared to the Tambras. The Tamil Brahmins are 0.18% of the population, but have won 42% (3out of 7) Noble prices (for Indian born or Indian Citizen )than any other community in India. Tamil Brahmins in * below.
1913 Rabindranath Tagore
1930 C.V. Raman (*)
1968 Har Gobind Khorana Medicine
1979 Mother Teresa Peace Citizen of India
1983 Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (*)
1998 Amartya Sen Economic Sciences
2009 Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (*) Chemistry

Anonymous said...

I want to purchase "Greek Origins of Konkanastha (Chitpavan) Brahmin Community from Maharashtra - Pratap V.Joshi."

Can some one tell where I can buy it? I have tried at different book shops in Pune but no result.

Please inform me on

aahhhhh9494 said...

Commemnt to Shekar Borkar, the Priests in the temples like mangeshi,Shantadurga,Ramnathi,MahalasaNarayani,Mahalaxmi are Saraswat Brahmins and not Karade Brahmins. So it's not true that Saraswat Brahmins are denied from priestly rights, and even all Saraswath Brahmins are allowed inside the Garba griha of the temple. No other community allowed inside

Mahesh K said...

I am a Saraswat Brahmin and our kuladevata is Mangeshi. And I am damn sure that the priests in the above temples in Goa are all Saraswat Brahmins and not Karhade Brahmins.
Coming to the fair skin part; like Chitpavans, the Saraswat Brahmins are also fair skinned compared to other Brahmins. This is due to our ancestors hailed from the banks of River Saraswati somewhere north in Kashmir. But maximum Saraswats do not have the blue eyes. And Saraswats came to Konkan much earlier than Chitpavans.

Rajeev said...

Is possible that you may have a copy of Chitpavanism the book by Dr. Jay Dixit. If so do let me know

Nirvana said...

Yes, I do have the copy of the book

harshu said...

I have looked at a few DNA profiles of kokanastha Brahmins. What I see is rather interesting. It seems two population, one from Gulf and another from North India inter-married to form this community. I have no idea under what circumstances this could have happened.

What is more interesting is that Kokanastha Brahmin have Portuguese genes. I am guessing from 15th century. I know it is difficult to believe but that is the only conclusion that one can draw from DNA data.

I have my doubts about Roopkand. The studies mention maternal DNA belonging to Kokanastha Brahmin, as far as I know there is no maternal DNA specific to Kobra.

vikichi said...

Hi, after reading all the comments, i realized the small jealous cold war raised by the non-chittapavans against chittapavans. What baffles me is the hatred towards us especially by the deshathas. I mean these days most marriages are happening between these two sects!!
Regarding someone stating the orthodox chittapavans having sexual relations with the Britishers: lol
Apart from the looks, we are quite famous for are tempers, or rather the lack of it. We don't hesitate to call a spade what it truly is and we fight till the very end regardless the consequences provided we personally believe in it. Exceptions are always there. I am being generic here. Even the women of chittapavans have always had a say in matters other than the household chores. Yes have warrior genes (maybe thanx to the short temper of ours). Greatest examples being the peshwe. And talking about the females being as aggressive as men, Rani of Jhansi is the strongest example.

vikichi said...

Hi, after reading all the comments, i realized the small jealous cold war raised by the non-chittapavans against chittapavans. What baffles me is the hatred towards us especially by the deshathas. I mean these days most marriages are happening between these two sects!!
Regarding someone stating the orthodox chittapavans having sexual relations with the Britishers: lol
Apart from the looks, we are quite famous for are tempers, or rather the lack of it. We don't hesitate to call a spade what it truly is and we fight till the very end regardless the consequences provided we personally believe in it. Exceptions are always there. I am being generic here. Even the women of chittapavans have always had a say in matters other than the household chores. Yes have warrior genes (maybe thanx to the short temper of ours). Greatest examples being the peshwe. And talking about the females being as aggressive as men, Rani of Jhansi is the strongest example.

Anonymous said...

the national DNA people say that chitpavan are scythian and ashkenazi Jews . Scythian are a sector of the Aryan race .

Anonymous said...

even I'm a pure kokanastha and I know many of us don't agree with our foreign ancestry but its recently proven by the national institute of DNA

Anonymous said...

hey actually to be born with blue eyes the person's both of the parents should have the blue eyed gene

Anonymous said...

hey! interesting comments.My grandfather had green eyes and my father had green eyes too but my mother was non brahmin with black eyes, I am told when I was born I had blue eyes,but over the few months it changed to hazel green eyes . Now my children do not have green eyes since I married a CKP>
I was always curious about chitpavan brahmin history since people always pass snide remarks about our ancestors.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that intercaste marriages were a common phenomena back in the day in india. The caste system in india is a more recent system to divide the society into different working classes. Ref:

Anonymous said...

So you are a believer of the Aryan invasion theory? For your information DNA constantly changes during the process of mutation and also age so u might see light eyes in some babies and they get darker as they get older.

chetan joshi said...

Are any of you even expert of the DNA finger printing, many times I see, ppl are very eager to say smthng and support their comments by jus saying "DNA mapping says it and all". I hope at least few of you have expertise on DNA finger printing. and BTW, X chromosome is traced generally to find out, who migrated where as far as world history of migration is concerned.

Anonymous said...

DNA tests conducted in recent years had revealed non-recombining uniparental contributions in Chitpavan-brahmin Mediterranean or East European type as shown by 20% (HV, U3) mtDNA lineages and highly frequent (R1a and L) Y-haplogroups. The admixture and PC analyses reflected genetic association of Chitpavan-brahmin with Iranian, Ashkenazi-Jews (Turkey), Greeks (East Europe) and to some extent with Central Asian Turkish populations elucidating their distinct Nordic, “Scytho-Iranian” ancestry. And then there are legends like the Bene Israel legend which says that the Bene Israel were a group of 14 people who got shipwrecked off the Konkan coast. Some stayed as Jews and the rest convered to Hinduism. The converts are nothing but the Chitpavans of today.
Put together the DNA testing, the legends and common sense, observable facts like the lack of history of this community before the last 1000 years, their blue eyes and fair skin (extremely commonly occurring and unlike any other native communities in India) strengthen the claims.

Prassanna Sathe said...

I read comments saying that the fair skin and blue eyes prove nothing since they are not unique to this community. I also read a comment from a guy saying that the blue eyes notion is complete bullshit since he has never come across one.
Now I am not a DNA expert. Neither have I conducted any research on the origins of this community. But I would like to comment on the physical appearances based on my own ancestry. The chitpavan Brahmins have an overwhelmingly high number of fair skinned people. Such a high percentage I have not seen in any other maharastian community. And needless to stay they have always completely stood out. I do not have the exact percentage but having lived in the region since birth I can easily use my common sense and perception to state this. I am sure skeptics will ask for actual numbers but I believe I can trust my basic human perception skills to arrive at this.
Regarding the blue eyes, the commenter may not be completely off the mark since
I personally have seen tons and tons of relatives with fair skin and green eyes (myself being one). But none with blue. All that changed when we got a blue eyed member in our own family. My very own nephew!

Anonymous said...

using this blue eyes, fair colour of kobras , theory(?) some people perticularly jelous to brahmin community , creating whole brahmin community get confused and they wanted to divide brahmins with main stream ( I heard these loose talks many times .)

Anonymous said...

All brahmins are intelligent.And the Chitpawans are no exception.But the only difference is that non-chitpawan brahmins do not brag about their achievements!!!

MazelTov said...

I deeply understand the curiosity among my fellow kobras ,My mom and I are very curious too . But I have a simple question. Maybe a bit off topic...
What exactly are we going to achieve by proving that we are of a non-indian ,Persian,Greek, Jew or even Nordic etc origin ? Are we going to fight for minority status and get reservation / quota for us ? Or the proved origin country going to offer us their citizenship saying " hey good old lost blood come back" :p NO THATS NOT HAPPENING
I feel we should definitely be proud of your race ,we have proved it time to time , but ask yourselves Are we even united , does solidarity exist in koknasthas or even wider , Brahmins ? I guess not . Most of the freedom fighters Right from Gokhale , Ranade , Tilak , Agarkar , Savarkar ,senapati Bapat , Even Godse to some extents , Chiplunkars and numerous others were from our own race , blood , caste ... So why do we suffer a secondary treatment in this country ? Paying more fees than the BCs , have to score above 90 % to secure a good seat ,late promotion... And you all know better what I mean. So why such disparity
So my suggestion is we , the youth of konkanstha brahmin race should be strong and fight the atrocities against us instead of finding our origing which won't be fruitful
Think and do reply if you are not in accord with what I said ! Heil Hindutva !

MazelTov said...

I deeply understand the curiosity among my fellow kobras ,My mom and I are very curious too . But I have a simple question. Maybe a bit off topic...
What exactly are we going to achieve by proving that we are of a non-indian ,Persian,Greek, Jew or even Nordic etc origin ? Are we going to fight for minority status and get reservation / quota for us ? Or the proved origin country going to offer us their citizenship saying " hey good old lost blood come back" :p NO THATS NOT HAPPENING
I feel we should definitely be proud of your race ,we have proved it time to time , but ask yourselves Are we even united , does solidarity exist in koknasthas or even wider , Brahmins ? I guess not . Most of the freedom fighters Right from Gokhale , Ranade , Tilak , Agarkar , Savarkar ,senapati Bapat , Even Godse to some extents , Chiplunkars and numerous others were from our own race , blood , caste ... So why do we suffer a secondary treatment in this country ? Paying more fees than the BCs , have to score above 90 % to secure a good seat ,late promotion... And you all know better what I mean. So why such disparity
So my suggestion is we , the youth of konkanstha brahmin race should be strong and fight the atrocities against us instead of finding our origing which won't be fruitful
Think and do reply if you are not in accord with what I said ! Heil Hindutva !

anuj mahtha said...

Plzz bhumihar Brahman of bihar jharkhand uttar pradesh and tyagis of West uttar pradesh have the same legend. We bhumihar consider chitpawan as our kin brothers.. Bhumihar in North India are known for their intellectual power and bravery. So we are brahmarshis the descendants of parshuram

Anonymous said...

Bunch of idiots commenting nonsense.

Chitpawans are related to Kushans intermarried with Deshasth bramhins.

Chitpawans have very high (35 percent) western European dna (R1b) and also very high East european dna(42%) similar to other bramhins. In chinese turkestan in tarim basin mummies had similar genetic composition. Kushans as ancient Indo european community like scythian(shak) may have bramhin priests. Kushans ruled in north India and the pilgrimage to Roopkund is very much possible. There was also a route in to north kashmir from accross the karakorams and thus dard people can be close relatives.

Chitpawans have nothing to do with arabs and jews. My relative kolhatkar have memory of being from near akola.

Anonymous said...

Seems a realistic and logical explanation!

Anonymous said...

Right said my Friend, I think the airline pilot is Christian who has lost all his senses after tracing his roots which obviously is multi branched.

Anonymous said...

How about this theory:
The ancestors of Chitpavans were a bunch of unfortunate sailors who got shipwrecked on the western coast of an even more unfortunate place called India which was a great civilisation in the past looted by the invaders and neglected by its rulers over several centuries.
They could be fleeing oppressors or just a bunch of unlucky young fishermen but in either case most likely to be men and not women/children who probably went on to marry local women. Adversity is mother of all innovations, these sailors were frugal, resilient, adaptive, foresighted, strategic and above all valiant. They came as a godsend and their descendents became saviours of Vedic dharma. Just like any converts/migrants they were more faithful to the people and land that had given them refuge.

Anonymous said...


Jewish women perform Mikveh or mikvah, a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion to achieve ritual purity after menstruation cycle which is followed in Chitpavan community till date. Does that prove Jewish descent?

Anonymous said...

Lokmanya Tilak have written a book with name "The Arctic Home in the Vedas".
Wikipedia link as follows
This might help in understanding where do we come from.

Anonymous said...

I have green eyes,my maternal cousins both have BLUE eyes...Plz don't generalise based on your (limited)experience.I am a Chitpavan....Please don't use words like baloney...My Gr8 Grand father built Pune railway station and other works of Engineering.I was born in Pune,lived in North​ India, settled in Pune.Several of my relatives have BLUE(Not Grey)eyes..