Gotra could be one of the ancient 'Aryanized' Indian traditions. The gotra
classification came into existence probably sometime during the Vedic period.
The gotra system might have started originally among Brahmins as a system of
classification and identification of various families and indicating common descent
from a 'rishi'. Rishi means a sage. The Vedas were revealed to them and the respective
hymns stand in their names.
The Sanskrit term "Gotra" was initially used by the Vedic people for the identification of the lineages.
Maharshi Panini has defined gotra in his grammar ashtadhyayi.
The concept of Gotra was the first attempt among Brahmins to classify themselves among different groups.
At the beginning, these gentes identified themselves by the names of various rishis (Angirasa, Atri,
Gautam, Kashyapa, Bhrigu, Vasistha, Kutsa,and Bharadwaja; the first seven of these are often enumerated
as Saptarishis). It is to be noted that Vishwamitra was initially a Kshatriya king, who later chose and
rose to become an ascetic rishi. Hence the gotra was applied to the grouping stemming from one of these
rishis as his descendants.
There are 49 established Lead Hindu Gotras.. All members of a particular Gotra are believed to possess
certain common characteristics by way of nature or profession.
The term Gothra was used in its present sense for the first time in the Brahmanas. It was systematised by
about the 4th century BC to accommodate changed social rules and laws and by the time of the rulers it was
a well-established system.
Gotras have their orgination to saptharshies who change with Manvanthara. We are in the seventh
Gotras may be defined as a concept of patrilineal classification and identification of various families
of a caste.