Patel Motel

patel motel

A sizable number of Indian immigrants to the United States came in the 1960s and 1970s, when the motel and hotel industry was booming. Many of them bought up undervalued and dilapidated properties and turned them into businesses, including motels and hotels. It was estimated in 2007 that 60% of the mid-sized motels and hotels in the United States were owned by Indians. Nearly one-third of those Indians were called Patel (and came from Gujarat), with the result that, apparently, many people believe Patel is an Indian word meaning ‘hotel.’

Patel, originally meaning ‘headman’ or ‘village chief” ¬†derives from Patlikh, the record keeper named by princely rulers in Gujarat to keep track of the crops, pat being a parcel of land. Traditionally, the Patels or Patils assist the Talati or Kulkarni in collection or revenue in rural areas. Patels in northern Gujarat were very prominent farmers as well. Within the United Kingdom, it is the twenty-fourth most common surname nationally, and the third most common in the Greater London region. In the US, the surname ‘Patel’ ranks 174 among the top 500 list of most common last names.

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