Ethnicity While the surname is popular and denotes a particular landowning status, people of different castes occasionally share the surname. The Patels mainly belong to the various Patidar sub-castes. Two main groups of Patels in Gujarat make up the Patidar community including: 1. Leuva Patidar and 2. Kadava Patidar purportedly derived from two sons of Lord Rama\'s two sons name Lava and Kush.Kadva Patidar sub-caste is found most in districts of saurashtra region like Rajkot,Junagadh,Jamnagar and Bhavnagar.Kadva Patel are well know for this business acumen these days and dominate major industries in gujarat till date while the Leuva Patidar sub-caste are mainly found in the Charotar Region (which is known also known as Charotar Leuva Patidars) (Kheda, Anand), Mehsana, Kanam (Vadodara, Bharuch, Panchmahal), South Gujarat and Saurastra region. Few Jats also known as Patels from Haryana state and areas near erstwhile Delhi also fled to states of North Gujarat's Mehsana and Gandhinagar district during the Moghul emperors rule to avoid forced religion conversions by then extremist Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. During Moghul era Patels were trusted head of the village and Moghul as well as British also rely on Patels to carryout administration in any particular village. Patels is derived from word "Pattalikh" meaning certain portion of land "patta" (A unit of Land) and named after the head of the village "likh" meaning "named". Amin surname bearers are also known as Patels. Saurastra Leuva Patels in the Saurastra region district have specific surnames; Babaria, Limbasiya, Kanani, Kunjadiya, Dobaria, Keraliya, Radadia, Gajera, Sutaria, Sojitra and so on from their original village names (from the Kheda, Vadodara, Ahmedabad, and Saurastra regions). In South Gujarat, nearly 90% of the members of the Koli and Kanbi Patidar sub-castes bear 'Patel' as their last name. The Patels outnumber all other Gujaratis in the United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. The surname 'Patel' is also used by Kolis in other regions of Gujarat. Besides Kolis and Kanbis, Dhodia Patidars of South Gujarat also use Patel as their last name. The surname can also occasionally be found amongst Parsis, Muslims, and Sidhra-Rudhra Brahmins. Patidars of Rajasthan (south and south-east rajasthan) and Madhya-Pradesh mainly use 'Patidar' itself as surname. The Patidars of these two states are also divided into two groups, Leuva and Kadava.
It should be noted that other Gujaratis who migrated out of what is now the state of Gujarat during the British Raj to British East Africa (Kenya and Uganda) would sometimes adopt the surname 'Patel' and this surname was then subsequently passed onto their descendants (who now mainly reside outside Kenya and Uganda). Also, during the British Raj, some of 'Patels' that migrated to British East Africa and the Union of South Africa (South Africa) adopted different surnames, usually the name of their village (e.g. 'Dandikar'), their trade (e.g. 'Contractor'), or even their grandfathers name and subsequently these surnames have been passed down to their descendants.