Gaddi is a tribe that resides mainly in Himachal Pradesh of India. People of this tribe are seen around the mountain range of Dhauladhar, Chamba, Bharmour, and a few places near Dharamshala. The Massive population of Gaddis resides in Kangra. These people belong to the class of shepherds whose job is to look after the goats and sheep. There are several myths related to the origin of Gaddis. But according to anthropologists and popular belief, Gaddis are known to have transmigrated several times. During 850-70CE, a part of Brahmin Gaddis moved to a place called Chamba and settled there permanently. It is also mentioned that a set of Gaddis also flew to mountain ranges as they could not accept the strict rule of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. This incident took place in the seventeenth century. Gaddis can be classified into various sections. They are Khatris, Thakurs, Dhangars, Rajputs, Ranas, and Brahmins. These people are truly loyal to their tribal beliefs and spirituality. Gaddis are the believers of both Hinduism and Islam. They are especially known to be the worshippers of Lord Shiva, and the festival of ‘Maha Shivratri is celebrated with immense zeal and enthusiasm. In the matter of language, Gaddis speaks Gaddi language. But they use Takri language for a literary purpose. Nowadays, the trend is set by a Devanagari script. Due to the local requirement, Gaddis are taking up the contemporary language ‘Hindi’ for their use.
Based on their dressing style, Gaddis can be differentiated into various types. Male Gaddis wear a sort of Chola with a turban known as sofa’ with Dora, whereas female Gaddis wear a sort of garment known as ‘Launchiri’. They also wear scarves on their head, which serves as a colourful covering for the head. People of the Gaddi community, both men and women, have the tradition of wearing gold earrings. The typical ornaments worn by this community's women are semi-precious stoned items and necklaces that are embellished with mirror work. Peacock feathers are also used in these ornaments to enhance the beauty of it. They even have a particular style of dance that goes on dancing in circles till they get exhausted. They have a trend of attaching a lengthy strand of about 25 meters by the wrist, and both males and females follow it. This is mainly considered to be immensely symbolic. Thus, according to the opinions of cultural anthropologists, Gaddis has a lush and opulent cultural background with the historical significance that contributes a significant share in the development of this tribal community.
The main occupation of Gaddis is shepherding. By selling goats, mules, horses, and sheep, they make their livelihood. Though they are known as nomadic in older days but now, as they have made their settlements in villages, they are involved in diverse occupations to reach the daily requirements. Thus, Gaddis's huge segment is into weaving, farming, and other government jobs. Gaddis considers sheep and goats as their property as they use these animals in various ways. The milk and meat of goats and sheep are used for consumption by them, the wool is used for making multiple woolen articles, and skin is used for making Kharchi and other products. Women of this community also involve themselves in the weaving of their dresses at home and wear them on special occasions. These women are experts in weaving Pattu and Gardu (woolen blankets) that are used as the primary clothing among them. They prepare numerous woolen articles for their family using sheep wool. These woolen strands are initially sorted by lengths and are used for making different articles. Further, they are washed, cleaned, and combed. This combed wool is then spun using the spinning wheel, and the fabric is finely woven on the loom. The blankets that are prepared by these women can be divided into different ways. They can be differentiated as ‘Gardu’, ‘Gardi’ and ‘Dodh’
An artisan named Pyar Singh residing at Himachal Pradesh is well versed in Gaddi blanket making. His ancestors were involved in sheep farming. In later days, their family initiated to cut sheep's hair, cleaned it, and started extracting the woolen yarns.