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What is the difference between kulam and kothram in Hindu religion?

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Answered 2007-09-10 09:38:42

GOTRAM - A Gotra is the lineage or clan assigned to a Hindu at birth. In most cases, the system is patrilineal and the gotra assigned is the gotra of the person's father. Other names used to refer to it are Vansh, Vanshaj, Bedagu, Purvik, Purvajan, Pitru. An individual may decide to identify his lineage by a different gotra, or combination of gotras. For example Lord Rama was Surya Vansh , also known as Raghu Vansh. This was because Lord Rama's great-grandfather Raghu became famous.

Gotra is the Sanskrit term for a much older system of tribal clans. The Sanskrit term "Gotra" was initially used by the Vedic people for the identification of the lineages. Generally, these lineages mean patrilineal descent from the sages or rishis in Brahmins, warriors and administrators in Kshatriyas and ancestral trademen in Vaisyas.

The lineage system, either patrilineal or matrilineal, was followed by the South Asian people. In the present day Hinduism, Gotra is applied to all the lineage systems. Many Hindu castes have lineages that do not follow Vedic classification.

KULAM - A common mistake is to consider gotra to be synonymous with cult or Kula. A kulam is basically a set of people following similar rituals, often worshipping the same God (the Kula-Devata - the God of the cult). Kulam has nothing to do with lineage or caste. In fact, it is possible to change one's Kulam, based on his faith or ista devtha.

Kula or Kul in Sanskrit means "heart community" or "intentional/chosen community/family"-

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