chauhan

Last name origin & meaning:

Indian (northern states): Hindu (Rajput) and Sikh name of great and ancient prestige but unknown meaning. There is a legend that the ancestor of this Rajput clan emerged from a sacrificial fire with four arms, and so it was associated with the Sanskrit word chatur- meaning ‘four’, but this is no more than folk etymology. Chauhan kings ruled in Rajasthan and in neighboring states, and conquered Delhi and its neighborhood in the 12th century. The Chauhans, along with the Solankis, the Paramaras, and the Pariharas, call themselves Agnikulas ‘Fire Tribes’. According to the Agnikula legend, after the original Kshatriyas had been exterminated by Parashurama (see Arora), the Brahmans found themselves in need of protection from the demons that were harassing them, and so they prayed and made a special sacrifice to the god Shiva for assistance. Then, through divine intercession, there emerged from the sacrificial fire the ancestors of the four Rajput clans known as the Fire Tribes, and they vanquished the demons. Historians believe that these tribes were in reality foreign tribes that entered India and defeated the original Kshatriyas. As they became the staunch defenders of the Hindu ideals, they were admitted into the prestigious Kshatriya rank by the Brahmans. A clan of the Porwal Banias have also adopted this name and, because of the prestige associated with it, it has been adopted in many other communities as well.

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