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Kaul, Koul, or Kaula () refers to a Kashmiri Pandit clan with Proto-Indo-Iranian roots, and also to the surname used by most of its members. The Andronovo culture that flourished ca. 2400–1000 BCE in western Siberia is believed to be the origin of the Kaul clan. The surname is also common in some Germanic communities.

The word 'Kaul', meaning 'well born', is derived from the term Kula, the Sanskrit term for family or clan.

Social Status

The Kashmiri Brahmins are divided into 199 exogamous spiritual groups, the members of which are supposed to have descended from the ancestor-saint whose name the group bears. Among these groups, social status is governed by the spiritual greatness of the ancestor-saint. The Kauls, who trace their descent to the saint Dattatreya, are considered to be the highest of all spiritual groups. It is important to note that the overwhelming majority of Kashmiri Brahmins (Pandits) who write Kaul as their surname are not Kaul originally and they have only recently adopted this surname. The original Kauls are thought to be a clan from Europe- Some speculate Germany while others say Siberia. Whatever may be the case, the Kashmiri pandits seem to be an ethnically diverse group rather than a homogenous one, though majority of them look more Central Asian in appearance.

Kauls/Kouls in Indian History

The author of Krishnavataracharita, Saheb Ram Kaul was a notable seveteenth century scholar in the court of Aurengzeb.

The first prime minister of free...
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