The Gujars belong to the north-western parts of India like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Uttranchal, Haryana, and Punjab. They are mostly Muslims, the rest being either Hindus or Sikhs. Gujarat is said to be named after them as they settled there in the 6th century AD. There are 15 lac Gurjar Muslims in Jammu & Kashmir. Gurjars saved Kashmir during first invasion of Pakistan when Pakistan annexed the area, called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). Three Muslim Gurjars (nomads) including one women were awarded Padma Shree by the President of India for this act of patriotism.
The Muslim Gujars are divided into two sections, the Bhatariye and the Bhanariye who do not usually intermarry. The Hindu Gujars are usually divided into three groups: Gujar, Dodhi Gujar and Bakarwal. Originally Gujars are thought to be an Aryan tribe that entered India in parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan from north west. Having been cattle breeders and milkmen, they were usually associated with herdsmen and shepherds. Traditionally they were a pastoral people with no fixed abode. A large number of Gujars have now settled down and taken to farming and combine agricultural work with animal husbandry.
Gujars in Uttar Pradesh and Uttaranchal are found both in Himalayan foothills and on the plains in the Rohilkhand area. Groups camp in the forests of Dehradun and Saharanpur districts in winter from November to March. They migrate with herds of buffalo and cattle to the Himalayan summer pastures in Shimla district (Himachal Pradesh) or Tehri Garwhal & Uttarkashi, (Uttaranchal) for the months of April to October. In mid-April they gather to await permission to travel, which is given by the state government. They are able to graze their herds on the stubble of the villagers fields, but conflict often arises with villagers on the route as from whom they have to obtain wheat and other supplies by exchange of milk. They take ten to twenty days on each journey on fixed routes away from roads and villages. Each family has on average from 22 to 32 buffaloes. Summer pastures are at 2,500 m (8,000 ft) and higher. On the return many take the cattle of villagers to care for them on the plains and return them in the spring.
In Haryana they are settled in Faridabad and Panchkula districts and the Samalkha segment of Panipat district. They are simple, thrifty and industrious. The Gujars are cultivators only in the plains but in the hills they are more given to keeping cattle than following the plough.