Prayer Profile
The Nepalese of Bhutan

[IMAGE] Many Nepalese fled from Nepal when it became a nation-state in the 1950's. To escape the demands of the state and enhance their standard of living, they settled in various parts of India and the neighboring countries of Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.

Recently, many Nepalese have been forced to flee Bhutan. They have charged the Bhutanese government with human rights violations and "ethnic cleansing" of the farming area in southern Bhutan. Even though political parties are illegal in Bhutan, the Nepalese have formed an opposition group called the Bhutan State Congress that is based in nearby India.

Bhutan is a very small country, about half the size of the state of Indiana. The Nepalese population there speaks Khas Kura, a form of Nepali. Like other Hindus, the Nepalese belong to a "caste" structure which has only two categories: upper class landowners and lower class servants.

What Are Their Lives Like?
Most of the Nepalese in Bhutan are farmers. Only the poorest families do not own land. Wet rice is grown during the monsoon season, whereas dry rice, maize, millet, and wheat are raised on the drier land during the summer and winter months. They also cultivate vegetable gardens to feed their families. Most of the farmers raise buffalo and goats for meat and cows for milk.

Nepalese villages consist of loosely grouped homes surrounded by farm land. The villages are generally situated near rivers or springs, and the homes are connected by footpaths. Sometimes the paths meet together near a large tree that is used as a meeting place for the villagers as well as a resting place for travelers. There are also a number of larger towns where the important temples or monasteries are located.

Houses are usually made of mud-brick with thatch or tin roofs. The bottom portion of the houses are painted with red clay and the top halves are whitewashed. The houses usually have two or more stories. The kitchen and living quarters are often located upstairs to keep them free of pollution by stray animals that might wander into the houses. Most houses have porches and courtyards where people socialize and do chores such as weaving.

Nepalese children are treated well. Breast-feeding may continue until a child is three years old. There are many rites of passage for children such as the first rice feeding and the first haircut. When they are about eight years old, the children begin doing domestic chores. Girls help care for the younger children, carry food for the animals, and haul water. The boys usually tend to the animals.

Typically, women do the bulk of the work in the field. They till the soil, plant, weed, and harvest the crops. They also dry, separate, and often husk the grain. The main responsibilities for men include plowing, fixing the terraces, and irrigating the crops.

During religious festivals or village fairs, the Nepalese women wear brightly colored clothes, heavy silver nose-rings and earrings, and colorful head scarves.

What Are Their Beliefs?
Virtually all of the Nepalese in Bhutan are Hindus, worshipping millions of gods. They believe that while the deities appear in separate forms, these forms are part of one universal spirit called "Brahman." The most important deities are Brahma, the creator of the universe; Vishnu, its preserver; and Shiva, its destroyer. In Hindu thought, man is actually a part of Brahman.

It is said that the Hindus worship more than 300 million gods. Though other supernatural beings are also worshipped, the gods and goddesses are considered as the most powerful. Hindus live in fear of spirits, ghosts, demons, and fairies, and regularly try to appease them with offerings.

What Are Their Needs?
The Nepalese are held captive by the deception of their beliefs. Pray that their eyes will be opened to the saving truth of Jesus. Much intercession is needed to bring them to Christ's love.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is currently working among the Nepalese of Bhutan.
  • Pray that God will encourage the Nepalese who have converted to Christianity.
  • Ask God to give these new believers opportunities to share Christ with their own people.
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to anoint the Gospel as it goes forth via television and radio among the Nepalese.
  • Pray that God will open the hearts of Bhutan's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Nepalese bound.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
  • Pray that strong local churches will be planted among the Nepalese of Bhutan by the year 2000.

See also the following related groups:
The Nepalese of: Bangledesh, Myanmar, India, and Nepal.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Nepalese
  • Country: Bhutan
  • Their language: Khas Kura
  • Population: (1990) 247,100
    (1995) 262,100
    (2000) 294,800
  • Largest religion: Hindu 98%
  • Christians: 2%
  • Church members: 5,241
  • Scriptures in their own language: Bible
  • Jesus Film in their own language: Available
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: Available
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 1
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 115,400 (44%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 21,000 (8%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 94,300 (36%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 146,800 (56%)
  • Country: Bhutan
  • Population: (1990) 1,544,200
    (1995) 1,637,800
    (2000) 1,842,400
  • Major peoples in size order: Central Bhofia 16.8%
    Nepalese 16%
    Eastern Bhofia 13.2%
    Bhutanese 11.8%
    Gurung 10.6%
  • Major religions: Buddhist 70.8%
    Hindu 23.5%
    Muslim 5%
  • Number of denominations: 8

© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center

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