Paliwal Brahmins of Kuldhara near Jaisalmer vanished into the night

jaisalmer-kuldhara-150109-026This is one of the most bizarre stories of human migration one can hear.

Drive 18 km west of Jaisalmer and you will come upon the village of Kuldhara. Once a prosperous settlement of the Paliwal Brahmins, all the residents of Kuldhara and 83 nearby villages vanished suddenly one night in 1825, having lived there since 1291. In all likelihood they set up base somewhere beyond Jodhpur but no one has ever been sure.

Click on any image for a larger view.

Read more about the architectural wonder that is Kuldhara – click here.

The Paliwals made their fortune by the sheer brilliance of their business and agricultural acumen. They knew the art of growing a water intensive crop like wheat in the Thar desert; they could identify areas with gypsum rock layers running under the ground surface to ensure water was retained for the crops. The rulers depended on the Paliwals for much of their tax revenues.

What made them want to abandon everything overnight? The Prime Minister, or the dewan, is believed to have developed a lecherous eye for the chief’s daughter; it is said the Paliwal women were in general stunningly beautiful. He may even have imposed unreasonable taxes on them. With pride and honour overruling all worldly interests, the chiefs of the 84 villages decided to go away in a single night with whatever they could carry with them.

Where are the Paliwals now? Scattered all over the world. And generally doing well going by their genetic lineage. It is said they even left a curse on the villages, bringing death and suffering to anyone who tried to live in these villages. For the Paliwals, this was not the first migration. Before Kuldhara, according to some accounts, they had left Pali near Jodhpur from where they originally came from; it was to escape additional war taxes being imposed by the king.

Looks like the royalty of Rajasthan had made an art of killing the geese that laid golden eggs for them.

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100 COMMENTS

  1. Sir ,
    I am working in an MNC for the sake fo livelyhood only. But I want to furnish my career in travelling because I love travelling, voyage, odyssey , wild life nature etc. However I have been and seen the 1/4 India across the NEWS.
    May I know how can I fulfill my dream??????????
    Might you please help me ????????

    PD
    Jaipur

  2. Hi Prabhu, Start travelling on weekends when you can. And have you discovered your own city yet? Jaipur itself has so much to offer. And when you reach a stage that you can give up your job in the MNC, you can travel full time. But travel is expensive and you need to be sure you have the budgets for it.

  3. hindu dharm kya hai yahi hai manushya ke sarvshreshtha jati ke vikas ke liye jo dharm banaya gaya hai wo hai hindu dharm aur hindu dharm ke sare reeti riwaj gotra parampra sab ka bahut bada vaigyanik aadhar hai 84 ganv ke bramhinoone ne ek saath ganv ka tyag karke bahut badr tyag ka udahran diya hai bramhinoo ke shakti ka udahran diya hai mai bhe bramhin hoon aur bramhinoo ke shakti ko achhe se samajhta hoon bramhinoo me anuwashik gun bahut jyada mazboot hain aane wale samya me badi badi beemariyaan hongi jo manavjati ko lagbhag samapt kar dengi tab varnvyavshtha ke har niyamk ka palan karne wale bramhin he bachenge agar koi bramhin hai aur wo bramhin dharm ka palan nahi karta hai to uske saman koi paapi nahi hai rn koi bhe bramhin yadi samajhna chahta hai kya aadhar hai gotra ka jati ka kyoon chooti jati ka ladka badi jati ke ladki se vivah nahi kar sakta kya hai gotra kya fayda hai gotra ka to mujhse pooch sakta hai

  4. thanks Ajay . The post on paliwal brahmins was like opening a closed window of the past.Modern generation of paliwal brahmins scaterred in u.p,m.p.,maharashtra,gujrat and uttaranchal is not aware of glorious past of their forefathers.Please provide more information about other 83 paliwal villages scaterred in Jaisalmer,Barmer and Pokran areas of Rajasthan.

  5. Hi Ajay,

    This is indeed an intriguing story. I wonder if all Paliwals originate from this village? But there is no sign of the other 83 villages – looks like they are all gone now. Will certainly tell you if there is more to it.

  6. Your work is excellent. Please go through James Tod book on Rajasthan in which percious information is available about Paliwals. Please provide details about migration from Pali.Nowadays yhe place is known as Paliwal Chauk in old city of Pali.rnThanks for your valuable informationrnwith regardsrnJagdish PaliwalrnJaipur

  7. Your work is excellent. Please go through James Tod book on Rajasthan in which percious information is available about Paliwals. Please provide details about migration from Pali.Nowadays the place is known as Paliwal Chauk in old city of Pali.rnThanks for your valuable informationrnwith regardsrnJagdish PaliwalrnJaipur

  8. hi,,ajayrnthnx for the palwal history …it is realy a good to read it.. kya palwal histry per koi book bhi he?…

  9. I WANT TO KNOW IS THIS VILLAGE IS STILL A GHOSTS,SPIRITS HOME.IF YES,WHY? I ALSO WANT TO KNOW IS IT NOT POSSIBLE TO MAKE THE VILLAGE TO STAY FOR HUMAN AGAIN BY GIVING ELECTRICITY TO THE VILLAGE. IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ANYONE TO STAY AT KULDHARA FOR A LONG TIME BY GIVING HIM SECURITY.

  10. paliwal rocks everywhere,paliwal r great i wish all the paliwal’s best of luck and thanks ajay for providing this valuable information…………jai paliwals……..

  11. you are great ajay ji but aap to jain h fir paliwal history ma etna interest apka…………
    thanks towards all paliwals……….

  12. congrats Ajay,great work paliwals have many more remarkable monuments in&out of Rajasthan i would like to share those with you very soon.

  13. Dear Ajayji,

    Good work. But I understand that a large number of Jains who are Paliwals/Palliwals also came from the same clan and they in fact were Rajputs who later converted into Jains. Any history of theirs? Besides, I also understand that Paliwals were highly skilled in constructing the paals along pond. How far is it true? Any info?
    Thanx.
    Atul

  14. Thanks Ajay for the valuable information about Paliwal’s prosperous and dominating life. We heard from our elders that the then King of Bikaner(17 or 18th century)sabotaged with this community and joined hands with Muslim emperor to perish them. The villages were deserted in the night. Real story I am awaited for. Please help.

  15. That’s a new angle Raj. Did not know about this. If I get some more information on the Paliwal history, I will certainly post it here.

    Would you like to join us on some of our future journeys? Sign up for FREE at Club Kunzum: http://www.kunzum.com/club.

    Look forward to seeing you on Kunzum more often. Cheers….Ajay

  16. Hi Anurag, Thanks. Would love to know more stories and about Paliwal monuments. Do share with us when you can.

    Hmmm, not sure of this Atul. If I ever get something more on this, will let you know.

    Would you like to join us on some of o ur future journeys? Sign up for FREE at Club Kunzum: http://www.kunzum.com/club.

    Look forward to seeing you guys on Kunzum more often.
    Cheers….Ajay

  17. thanks to Ajay for such an valuable knowledge for our forfather’s history . It’s very important to know the past and our origin . if you come to know more facts plese upload it. and pray for all paliwal samaj to be togather and do somethin g for the society.

  18. Thanks Ajay Realy you have given good information about paliwals i am belong to mundha gaon thats inluded in 84 villages left on one night

  19. sir yeh paliwal samaj ka jo aapne tyag bhavan batai hain yeh to bahoot acchha hain par muje aap se kuch baatein share karni hain agar ho sake to aap muje bataye ki bada paliwal mul tah kaha se belong karte hain or woh kisse apna kul guru / kuldevi maante hain

  20. I feel proud to have roots from paliwal community,what a sacrifice done by them, that’s why it is called, leave everything for the sack of your honour.all 84 villages left in one night due misconduct with heir daughters,god may keep them happy wherever they are.

  21. ajay ji lots of thanx for dis information.in paliwal samaj there r mamy gotra n my gotra is mudgal.my family live in u.p.near jhansi dis-jalaun but i n my uncle both r teacher live in nawalgarh (rajsthan).my family’s occupation farming in u.p.mere dadaji ne bataya tha ki in ancient time our family in kakelaw village of kuldhara(jaisalmer).butwhen i saw books of history ncrt n other i feel so sad bcoz nothing about dis bravecommunity.is samaj ki population kam honeke karan govt iss samajko ignore karti h

  22. paliwalo ka itihas jankar bahut khushi mili.aur pata chala ki hum log kaha se mewar me aakar bas gaye.jankari ke liye bahut-bahut dhanaywad. manoj sharma udaipur

  23. read the article posted by you….i also watched the videos of kuldhara (once aired on aaj tak news channel)….thanks for your article ajay ji…..wants to explore more up on this matter and i’ll certainly do it by my own in upcoming life phases……i also heard a story from my grandmother about how paliwals moved on from pali (rajasthan)…..a brief glimpse of the story – on the day of rakshbandhan, a british girl came and lived for a night between paliwal community along with his friend (a girl from paliwals) and she saw the rich culture and rich people in our community and also saw some miracle works being done by paliwal’s at that place and then she told to her father (who was an british officer) about the place. The place – pali used to be surrounded by the boundaries and a very huge gate. The source of water was a holy river which use to flow inside the village. The britisher heard about that and started cutting cows and animals in the river so that paliwals have to open up the gate which was their main protection. then after britishers captured the place and paliwals have to migrate from the heritage and full of cultural village still called as pali……….i only heard this story…might be a true one…..anyways, if anybody wants to share more can mail me at – karan_paliwal2006@yahoo.co.in……thanks and regards – karan paliwal

  24. Thanks for sharing such inspiring facts about Paliwal Brahmins. I am feeling proud to be a Paliwal and being a part of such a wonderful community…

  25. IT IS VERY GOOD INFORMATION TO US AND WE MUST WANT TO KNOW IT. THIS NOT ONLY HISTORY THIS IS OUR CULTURE AND I AM PROUD IT…………

  26. paliwal samaj ke sabhi banaduo ko, BHAWANI SHANKAR PALIWAL ,Village-lolawas , dis.-jodhpur,ke aur se
    adavans – HAPPY NEW YEAR

  27. mere zindgi ki ye sabse best history h i m proud of paliwal brahmans jinhone ye kadam uthaya super yar, i like this kuldhra village, thanks

  28. This informations regarding history of PALIWALS will enrich to new generation.Every Paliwal must visit once in life time to memorise our past.

  29. Kuldhara is stunning indeed. Visited the site in Oct 2011 the day the place was being set up for the opening scene of the Saif and Kareena thriller AGENT VINOD. We were told that Saif would be coming there but could not wait.

    Was very excited when I saw the same scene in the movie.

  30. kuldhara gav hamare purvjo ki thati hai. hame garva hai ki humne is samaj me janm liya hai. jaisilmer ke pas base 84 villege me se kuldhara sabse bada villege tha. Aj bhi hamare samaj ki san ko banaye hua hai. jyada jankari ke liye ap sampark mere mail per kar sakate hai. me abhi jaisalmer me rahata hoo. mujhe khusi hogi…rishi paliwal-9414391041

  31. i am proud of that i am paliwal brahaman.the paliwal brahman is only vadic brahman in the world.

  32. ham apane bujurgo se apane etihas ke bare me suna karte the par jaw me pahali bar kuldhara , khaba anya jagah gaya tab mane jo in village ko dekha meri aankho se aansu bahane lage. in 84 village ko kitne dard ke sath ek sath ek hi rat me kis tarh khali kiya hoga, us dard ko in villago me jakar mane mahsus kiya ,ek lamha ke liye to mushe kuldhara me mahsus hua ki ,in makano se koe niklega or pucchega ki garmii hai ,undar aa jao panii pii lo,par aaj 2011 hai.agar 1825 hota to yah jaroor hota

  33. kuldhara gav hamare purvjo ki thati hai. hame garva hai ki humne is samaj me janm liya hai. jaisilmer ke pas base 84 villege me se kuldhara sabse bada villege tha. Aj bhi hamare samaj ki san ko banaye hua hai. jyada jankari ke liye ap sampark mere mail per kar sakate hai. me abhi jaisalmer me rahata ho….

  34. I HAD BEEN ON A TOUR TO JAISALMER DURING MARCH 2012, WHEN I CAME TO KNOW REGARDING THIS VILLAGE. I VISITED THE VILLAGE AND WAS TO SEE THE CONSTRUCTION OF HOUSES AND ARCHITECTURAL LAY OUT OF VILLAGE HAVING ALL AMENITIES INCLUDING DRINKING WATER WHICH IS SCARCELY AVAILABLE IN THAR DESERT. I SALUTE THE SOLIDARITY OF PALIWAL BRAHMINS WHO DID NOT SURRENDER TO UNDESIRABLE LUST OF DIWAN OF JAISALMER. I WONDER THAT STILL THERE IS CURSE ON THE VILLAGE. I REQUEST ALL PALIWAL BROTHERS AND GOVERNMENT OF RAJASTHAN TOURISM DEPARTMENT TO DEVELOP THE VILLAGE AS A TOURIST PLACE WITH ALL FACILITIES OF COURSE OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE COMPOUND.

  35. paliwal hona isliye vishesh nahi ki ham brahman h balki ishliye bhi vishesh h ki hamaara goravpoorna itihaas raha h or or hamaare purwaj vishwa k sarwashrestha durdarshi v vejyanik the.

  36. I am proud to be a Paliwal . We are not only brahmans , we are Mahabrahmans . I will request my all Paliwal bandhu to update as much information about our history as much they can.

  37. Thanks a lot for writing brief account of Paliwal community’s migration over night from their homeland. Still lot of in depth research work is required to conceptualize the scientific reasons of this mode of migration. Paliwal community should make sincere attempts to comprehend the detailed and exhaustive socio-cultural, political and ethnographic understanding of theri forefathers.
    With regards to heroic honourable forefathers
    Dr. Anil Paliwal
    09460407120

  38. Thanks a lot for writing brief account of Paliwal community’s migration over night from their homeland. Still lot of in depth research work is required to conceptualize the scientific reasons of this mode of migration. Paliwal community should make sincere attempts to comprehend the detailed and exhaustive socio-cultural, political and ethnographic understanding of theri forefathers.
    With regards
    S,K.PALIWAL
    Mobile no 09990311358
    VRINDAVAN(U.P)

  39. mere zindgi ki ye sabse best history h i m proud of paliwal brahmans jinhone ye kadam uthaya super yar, i like this kuldhra village, thanks mai Kuldhara Aana Chata hu Dekhan Chata Hu.

    With regards
    Nishikant Tyagi
    Mobile no 09015489754
    Faridabad

  40. It gives great feeling to know we are the super vedic brahmins just bring it back again in ourselves. plz. Send more information.

  41. मुझे पालीवाल ब्राम्हण होने पर गर्व है ।
    सभी पालीवाल बन्धुओ जय श्री कृष्णा

    कोजी

    प्स्लिवा

  42. Dear Ajay,
    Kuldhara is famous place and almost known to many of people who want to know about Paliwal”s as community and their wisdom, wealth, town planning, vastu and water management. But there is one more place which is 20km from Kuldhara Fort KHABA which was actually a trade point of paliwal community is a place worth seeing.
    Today paliwal community is scattered and probably not connected well with each other but if they, i am sure ancient glory of paliwals is far away to regain

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