Commonly used land and revenue record terms in India

We look at 50 terms commonly used in India’s land and revenue record system and find out what they mean in layman’s terms

Those who are interested in purchasing land in India, will have to first make themselves well-versed with the use of a large number of land record and revenue terms that may be used during the course of the transaction.  This would be particularly needed, if one is purchasing land or agricultural land in the rural parts of the country. Considering that almost every state has a unique common local language, it could be quite a task, to know about all the popular land revenue terms.

The problem is, these are not terms that you may hear every day and unless you know the exact meaning of the land revenue terms in India, it is quite easy to lose your way.

Why so?

India’s land record system was primarily organised during the Mughal period. Although a lot has changed since then, vis-à-vis land and revenue record keeping in India, the terminology remains much the same, with many terms having their roots in Arabic, Persian and Hindi.

We look at such terms commonly used in India’s land and revenue record system and find out what they mean in layman’s terms.


Top 10 land record terms

While there are numerous land and revenue record terms in India, some are referred to more often than others, especially if you are trying to check land records online. Here are some of the top commonly used terms.

Jamabandi/Fardजमाबन्दीIt is the records of rights (RoR), containing information about the land, its owners and its cultivators, etc.
KhataखाताKhata describes all landholding of a family or individuals.
KhasraखसराThis is the survey number or the plot number assigned to a land parcel.
KhatauniखतौनीThis document has details of about land holdings of cultivators.
KhewatखेवटThis is a list of a landowner’s entire landholding.
NakalनकलA copy of land records, a nakal contains every information about, land, ownership pattern, revenue, etc.
Khudkashtखुद काश्तThis signifies that a land is being cultivates by its owners and not by cultivators.
MauzaमौजाThis is the term used for village.
BainamaबैनामाThis is the term used for sale deed.
Patta and pattanamaपट्टा, पट्टानामाWhen a land parcel is given on lease, it is known as patta. Its mutation is known as pattanama.


15 land ownership record terms

Here are some other complex terms you would come across, while checking land records in India:

TermHindiEnglish meaning


बटाईWhile this could loosely be translated into ‘division’, the system actually means an arrangement between the owner and cultivator, to grow crops and share it on certain terms.
Intkalइन्तकालIn land records, this stands for mutation, i.e., a change in ownership of land due to its transfer in the records of rights register. This change in title could be because of transfer by a registered deed, inheritance, survivorship, bequest or lease, in the records of rights.
Dakhil Kharijदाखिल ख़ारिजProperty mutation is also known as dakhil-kharij.
VarsalवरसालThis is property mutation upon the death of or through a will of the owner.
VirasatविरासतVirasat is basically inheritance.
Hibbaहिब्बाMutation when the land is gifted to someone.
Tabdeel Malkiatतब्दील मलकियतMutation, after the settlement of dispute by a court order.
Fard Badrफर्द बदरThe process of making a correction in land record is known as fard badar.
Shajra Nasabशजरा नसबA table showing succession to ownership rights occurring from time to time.
Shajra kishtwarशजरा किश्तवारAn updated version of an original map is known as shajra kishtwar.
Shajra parchaशजरा परचाA piece of cloth/paper used by patwaris, to draw maps incorporating all changes in land ownership.
LagaanलगानIf land is not cultivated by the owner, the person cultivating the land is liable to pay to the owner on agreed terms. This agreement is known as lagaan.
Lal doraलाल डोराThe non-agricultural land meant to be used by villagers to support them.
Bahissa barabarबहिस्सा बराबरEqual division of land.
Rafai-aam or revenue raastaरफाइ आमIn government records of northern states, access roads are referred to as revenue rassta or rafai-aam.


1 bonus term: Najul (नज़ूल)

In India, the term nazool or najul is used for land belonging to the government. It also refers to any property, including land or building structures in towns and villages, which has been escheated to the government. Also the land which is the government’s property and which is not forming part of the records in the account of any village or town, is known and spelt as najool, as well as najul land.


25 common land and revenue records terms

Here are some other commonly used terms you must familiarise yourself with:

TermHindiEnglish meaning
NambardarनंबरदारThe village headman
TatimaततीमाDivision of plot
KhakaखाकाLayout or sketch
Kurkiकुर्कीImpounding a property
JamaanजमांLand tax
Hadbast numberहदबस्तVillage serial number
HadहदVillage/land boundary
KanungoकानूनगोHead of patwaris
MalguzariमालगुजारीLand tax
Medhमेण्डField boundary
ShajraशजराDetailed village map
Tatima Shajraततीमा शजराMap prepared after the division of a plot
PaimaishपैमाईशLand measurement
RahinरहनMortgage Deed
MarusiमौरूसीPermanent cultivator
Chahiचाहीland irrigated using well water
Chak tashkhishचक तशखीशLand type
KilabandiकिलाबंदीRectangular measurement of land
Khaka dastiखाक दस्तीHand sketch of map
PatwariपटवारीVillage accountant
Mustariमुस्तरीLand buyer
MusaviमुसावीOriginal map


Who is a Patwari?

Patwari, also sometimes referred to as ‘lekhpal’ in some Indian states, is responsible for maintaining land records of villages, in the capacity of the administrative officer. Considering that over 60% of India’s population lives in its villages and 43% of India’s workforce is employed in agriculture, the patwari in India runs a highly crucial operation.


Additional terms

Murrabha (मुर्राभा): Plot comprising of 25 acres of land.

Gair dakhildar (गैर दखिलदर): Unauthorised permanent possession.

Rehan (रेहन): Mortgage with possession.

Chakautha (चकौता): Land revenue in cash.

Gerinda (गेरिन्दा): The receiver of a gift.

Chak tashkhish (चक तशखीश): Land classification.

Do fasali (दो फसली): Land which produces two crops every year.

Barani (बरानी): Land that depends on rain for irrigation.

Chahi (चाही): Land that depends on wells for irrigation.

Baya (बाया): Seller of land.

Khaka dasti (खाक दस्ती): Hand sketch.



What is patta?

When a land is taken on lease, it is known as patta.

What is mauza?

A village is sometimes referred to as mauza, in land records.


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