The Ghanchi (Gujarati: ઘાંચી, Hindi: घांची, Urdu: گھانچی) are a Muslim community found in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan in India. A small number of Ghanchi are also found in the city of Karachi in Pakistan.
The Muslim Ghanchi are were traditionally a community associated with the manufacturing of cooking oil, but have no connection with the Muslim Teli of North India. The Ghanchi claim to be of Shaikh status. They are found mainly in the districts of Panchmahal, Sabarkantha and Banaskantha. The town of Godhra is a centre of the community in Gujarat. They have no connection with the Ghanchi-Pinjara community, who were also traditionally associated with the manufacture of oil.
In Rajasthan, the Ghanchi are said to get their name from the ghanch, a traditional oil pressing machine. They are distributed in the districts of Dungarpur, Banswara, Jodhpur and Udaipur. The Ghanchi of Rajasthan speak Mewari, with many also speaking Urdu.
The Ghanchi are traditionally involved in the manufacture of cooking oil. But with the advancement of modern technology, has led to the Ghanchi to take up other occupations. Many of now petty businessmen and many have now become transporters.
The Ghanchi have as much as thirty clans, the main ones being the Ghenas, Jabha, Pada, Shakhe, Bidani, Mughal, Bakkar, Shamol, Shikari, Bhatik, Khalpa, Kalu, Surti, Khatura, Mamda, Mitha, Mohan, Sindhi, Gariba, Kurkur, Dheshli, Jadi, Keshri, Darbesh, Sugri, Pittal and Shaikh. All these clans are of equal status, and intermarry. The Ghanchi are strictly endogamous. Like other Gujarati Muslims, they follow the principle of jamat bandi, and have their own caste association, the Ghanchi Jamat. The Ghanchi are Sunni Muslims, and belong to the Deobandi sub-sect.
In Rajasthan, the Ghanchi are still involved with oil pressing. A large number of the community are now cultivators. The Ghanchi of Rajasthan have a state wide caste association, the Ghanchi Jamat. They are strictly endogamous, marrying close kin, practicising both parallel cousin and cross cousin marriages.
The city of Karachi in Pakistan is home to a large community of Ghanchis. Many are settled in the locality of Ghanchi Para, as well as other parts of Saddar Town in Karachi.