Since the rise of the Ganden Podrang in the seventeenth century three categories of aristocracy have been influential in Tibetan government and society:
1. Yabzhi (yab gzhis): families into which Dalai Lamas have been born consisting of the houses of Langdun, Punkhang, Yutok, Samdrub Podrang and Lhalu.
2. Depon (sde dpon): the highest peerage, made up of five families consisting of Gazhi, Ton, Dokhar, Palha and Lhagyari.
3. Midrak/gerpa (mi drag/sger pa): the remaining aristocracy from whose ranks the lay officials of the Ganden Podrang government were drawn.