If you have ancestors from Uttarakhand, a state in the northern part of India, you may be interested in the new ‘Gotra tourism’ packages offered to tourists. (Gotra is the Hindi word for “clan lineage.”)
Announcing the plan a few days ago, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Trivendra Singh Rawat, said that the idea is to encourage visitors to come to the Himalayan state to update their family records and also visit places associated with the sages after whom the principal gotras are named.
Gotras are traditionally believed to have originated from the ‘saptarishi’ or the seven sages Kashyap, Atri, Vashishtha, Vishwamitra, Gautam, Jamadagni and Bharadwaj who meditated in the Dev Bhoomi of the Uttarakhand Himalayas. Rawat announced that the mediation sites of the seven sages will be developed as tourist destinations, adding that logos will be developed for each gotra so that people can associate with their gotras more easily.
The lineage records called ‘bahi’ have been maintained by priests known as ‘teerth purohits’ in the state for centuries. 2,500 such teerth purohits are based in Haridwar, but there are many others at the char dham shrines of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. Now the Uttarakhand Tourism Department wants to digitise these records.
You can read more in an article in the Times of India at http://bit.ly/2RtJkRc.