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Bakarwal (or Bakharwal) is a nomadic tribe based in the Pir Panjal and Himalayan mountains of South Asia. They are mainly goatherds and shepherds. They are called as Dhangar in rest of India.


Bakarwal is derived from the Gojri/Urdu/Punjabi/Kashmiri/Dogri terms, Bakri/Bakar meaning "goat/Sheep", and Wal meaning "one who takes care of". Essentially, the name "Bakarwal" implies "high-altitude goatherds/shepherds".

The Bakarwals (Dhangars) belongs to the same ethnic stock as the Gujjars, and inter-marriages freely take place among them. Although, Bakarwals (Dhangars) have same gotra or clan like Gujjars, many local shepherds, who may not necessarily belong to the community, are often termed as Bakarwal.

Geographical distribution

Bakarwals are spread throughout the northern part of the Himalayan Range. This includes the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab in India. In Pakistan, Bakarwals are found in the hilly northern parts of Punjab as well as parts of the North West Frontier Province.

In Jammu and Kashmir in India, Bakarwals are found in all three regions of the state including Jammu...
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