The Gaddis live in the Chamba-Sirmaur regions. Their settlements are known
as Gadderan which means the abode of the Gaddis. Gaddis are descendants
of the Khatris of Punjab who migrated to the high hill due to persecution
by the Muslim rulers. This tribe has also settled in Mandi, Kangra and
Bilaspur but their largest numbers live in the Kamgra district. Some of
their main castes and sub-castes are Brahmins, Khatris, Rajputs, Thakurs,
Rathis, Kolis, Sippys, Lohars, Bahdis and Hali. The Khatris and Rajputs
wear Chola and Dora (the sacred thread) according to the Gaddi custom.
When taking decisions about marriage they consider the Gotra. The Gaddi
dress is very attractive. Their black sash is very helpful in carrying
weight upon the back. Their women wear colourful homespun dresses and
a thick scarf over their heads which can also be used as a veil. They
often carry little kids in the folds of their special sashes. The Gaddi
women wear several rows of semi precious stones and display little mirrors
which are studded in the necklaces. They use peacock feathers as ornaments.
The Gaddis are shepherds. Their sheep and goats are known
as Dhan (property). Some of them do farming also and some families are
weavers and tinkers by trade. Before the advent of the machines they also
earned their living by pounding millet and carrying loads. Financially
they are well off. Their traditional attire consists of a long coat (chola),
dora, safa (turban), nualali tope (cap) and a draping sheet. They are
fond of tobacco and in the wedding feasts wine is also served.
The Gaddis spend half of the year in their villages cultivating
their fields and the remaining half migrating in search of grass and fodder
for their herds. They are simple and virtuous and live in joint families
and have a strict moral code. Their women are modest and chaste.