The word Gaddi means ‘seat’ and since Bharmour was the seat of the emperor of Chamba, all the people of the Gadheran called themselves Gaddies. The "Gaddi" are a tribe living mainly in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu Kashmir. The Gaddies are Hindus and belong to several castes including Brahmin, Rajputs, Dhangar, Khatri, Rana and Thakur. Gaddies are widely respected for their honesty, friendliness and peaceful lifestyle. They have great faith in Gods and Goddesses especially Lord Shiva. The language spoken within the tribe is Gaddi.

Old people used the Taakri script. Crime is almost unknown in Gaddi villages. Gaddi is a generic term used for all of the indigenous population of the Bharmour area of Chamba district and some regions of Jammu and Kashmir. The Gaddis include the Savarnas such as Brahman, Rajputs, Khatri, Thakur Rathi and the non–Savarnas like Hali, Rihare and Dom. Although all are categorized as scheduled tribe by virtue of their living in a scheduled area, the non-Savarnas are also included separately as scheduled caste.

Traditionally domiciled on both sides of the Dhauladhar Range in Himachal Pradesh. They reside mostly in the Bharmour region of Chamba District, in the upper reaches of the Ravi River and the valleys of the Budhil River. They are also found in the Kangra district, particularly in the villages like Palampur, Draman, Nurpur, Shahpur and Dharmashala. The Gaddis are not fully nomadic, since they have homes in villages; Gaddies are shepherd and generally travel with their flocks to higher reaches in the summer and lower areas in winter. Mainly they travel Lauhal & Spiti in summer, Kangra and other lower district of Himachal even in Punjab in winter with their folks. Over a period of time they have settled down and practice agriculture. Horticulture in the area has been quite successful in the recent years. Red Royal Apple, golden apple and Chestnut grown in the area is one of the best varieties in the world.


In regard to the history of Gaddies as per their own traditions, the Gaddis descended from migrants who fled the plains of India for the relative security of the hills during times of trouble. It is thought that the Chauhans Rajputs Gaddies and Brahman Gaddies emigrated to Bharmour from Rajasthan. Most of the other castes of Gaddis are thought to be descended from people who fled to the hills to escape from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb's persecutions in the 17th century. The history confirms that Gaddi Rajputs migrated from Lahore (Pakistan) to this place in order to avoid religious persecution. One of the most dominant Rajputs 'Lalhal’ migrated from a city named Lalhal near Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) during the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.

Presently the bulk of the population lives in Bharmour of Chamba district, but a scattered population of this tribe is also found in the adjoining districts of Kangra and Mandi of Himachal Pradesh even in Jammu and Kashmir. The community occupies the inaccessible, inhospitable terrain in between the Pir-Panjal and Dhauladhar range, between Ravi and Chenab valley. It is a high altitude area and remains cut off most of the time because of heavy snowfall. The language spoken within the community is Bharmouri Gaddi. Taakri was the script used by the ancestors. The Gaddi man is identified by typical dress which consists of a chola, Dora and white turban (Saffa).


The majority of the Gaddies are landowners and practice agriculture and horticulture as their primary means of livelihood. They are also pastorals and own large flocks of sheep and goats, as a subsidiary occupation. This has also resulted in their bartandari (customary) rights on forest land which are government owned. Today, many of them have also taken up many high ranking jobs in government and private organizations and other white collar jobs. Most of Gaddi shepherd spent their whole life with their flock. They travel with their flocks to high riches of Himalaya, generally the goes to Lauhal valley in summer through Chobia, Kalicho and Kugti Passes and in winter they goes to Kangra valley, Una and even in Punjab.
The majority of Gaddies are landowner, the wheat and maize are main grains and mah and rajmah are main pulses of Bharmour. Gaddies also practice in horticulture and developed world famous variety of red royal and golden delicious apple, chestnut and almond trees.


The majority of community is non-vegetarian and they mostly eat the meat of sheep, chickens Families, who keep poultry, also eat their eggs. The staple food of Gaddis consists of cakes of maize and wheat with mah and rajmah. They also make moderate use of vegetables, including roots and tubers, and fruits. Mustard oil is the usual cooking medium. People are very fond of sur which is taken on religious functions. Their special dish madra along with a sweet preparation is a must on all social and festive occasions. Gaddi stock their eatables and fire woods in the month of October for winter session.


The Gaddi community celebrates all the national festivals. But they also celebrate local festive like Manimahesh Jatra, lohri, Bhaishaki, Patrodu, Dolru, etc. Manimahesh fair is best occasion to see and study the custom and rituals of Gaddies.