Agrawal – History

The word “Agrawal” takes you 5000 years back to the famous regime of emperor Maharaja Agrasen, the leader of social reformation to uplift the down trodden human beings and a well known personality in the Indian Culture & Civilization.

Agarwals (Agrawal, Agarwal, Aggarwal, Aggarwala) (Hindi: अग्रवाल or अगरवाल) are a large and influential community in India. Traditionally, the Agarwals have been a trading community, though in modern times, the Agarwals follow other professions as well.The legends of the Agrawals trace their origin to the Kashtriya king Agrasena, whose descendants became Vaishya due to their occupation.

The Agrawals claim descent from the legendary king Agrasena of Agroha. Various legends about Agroha and Agrasena are found among the Agrawals. Noted Indian Hindi author Bharatendu Harishchandra wrote Agarwalon ki Utpatti (The origin of Agrawals) in 1871, based on an account in the Mahalaksmi Vrat Katha manuscript. According to this account, Maharaja Agrasena was a Suryavanshi Kshatriya leader, born during the last stages of Dwapar Yuga. He was the eldest son of the King Ballabh of Pratapnagar. Agrasena fathered 18 children, from which the Agrawal gotras came into being. According to a legend, the Hindu goddess Mahalakshmi urged Agrasena to give up the Kshatriya tradition, and take up the Vaishya tradition of business, for the sake of the prosperity of his people. She asked him to establish a new kingdom, and promised that she would bless his descendants with prosperity and wealth. Agrasena traveled all over India with his queen to select a place for a new kingdom, and finally established a kingdom at Agroha. According to Vachanakosha of Bulakhichand, Agar Rishi married a naga-kanya (nagavanshi girl) and had 18 children. A similar account is given in 1885 Bombay Presidency Gazetteer, Rishi Agrasen married 17 naga-kanyas.

Agrasena divided his kingdom among his 18 children, resulting in eighteen Agrawal gotras. Often, the number of gotras is stated to be seventeen and a half. According to one legend, Agrasena proceeded to conduct 18 mahayajnas (“Great yajnas”). When he was in the process of performing his eighteenth yajna, he was filled with compassion for the animal to be sacrificed. Therefore, he put a brake to his eighteenth yajna announcing that no sacrifices will be made in his kingdom in name of yajnas. Thus, the eighteenth yajna wasn’t completed and Agrasena had performed seventeen and a half yajnas. The sage Garg blessed him with seventeen and a half gotras.

In the later part of his life, Agrasena nominated his eldest son Vibhu to the throne and took up the Vanaprastha ashram. According to the legend, Agroha was a prosperous city and a hundred thousand traders lived in the city during its heyday. An insolvent community man as well as an immigrant wishing to settle in the city would be given a rupee and a brick by each inhabitant of the city. Thus, he would have a hundred thousand bricks to build a house for himself, and a hundred thousand rupees to start a new business. Gradually, the city of Agroha declined and was finally destroyed in a huge fire. The residents of Agroha i.e. the Agrawals moved out of Agroha and spread in other parts of India.

Agroha, located about 20 Km’s North-West of the City of Hissar in the State of Haryana in India, was once a very prosperous city. However, it has changed a lot due to the ravages of time. Present day Agroha village is about 2.5 kms from the old Agroha City.

First Efforts at Modernization
Businessmen Seth Bholaram Dalmiya and Lala Samval Ram established a Goshala in 1914 and Shri Ramjidas Bajoriya of Calcutta built a Temple dedicated to Agrasen and established a Dharmashala ( a place for poor people) in 1939. In April, 1975, a All India Aggarwal Convention (Akhila Bharatiya Aggarwal Sammelan) was held in New Delhi. At this convention a plan was adopted for the development of Agroha. In 1976, the Agroha Vikas Trust was established.

Expansion of the Agroha Vikas Trust
The Aggarwal Engineering and Technical Society gave 23 acres of land to the Aggarwal Vikas Trust. Through the effort of the Convention Director Shri. Shrikishan Modi, the work on the Agrasen Temple was started. In May, 1982, the sanctum of the Temple was completed. The Akhila Bharatiya Aggarwal Sammelan opened the Temple by organizing the first Aggarwal Kumbha Mela. It was a historic occasion where more than 50,000 people of the Aggarwal parivaar participated. A 300 x 400 feet Tank called Shakti Sarovar was constructed by Sharad Purnima in 1986. A beautiful image of Samudra Manthan was installed in the middle of Shakti Sarovar.