Prayer Profile
The Nepalese of India

[IMAGE] With a culture over 4,000 years old and the world's second largest population, India contains one of the world's most diverse populations. Over thousands of years, countless groups have migrated into this subcontinent, many of which have maintained their distinctive cultures. The Nepalese (also known as the Gurkhali), are one such group.

Today, more than 800 languages are spoken in India, and the complex Hindu "caste" system has further divided the people into an endless number of social classes. The Nepalese speak Khaskura, a form of Nepali. They also belong to a "caste" structure which has only two categories: upper class landowners and lower class servants.

Many Nepalese fled from Nepal, their homeland, when it became a nation-state in the 1950's. To escape the demands of the state and enhance their standard of living, the Nepalese settled in various parts of northern India such as West Bengal, Assam, Sikkim, and the Darjeeling region.

What Are Their Lives Like?
The Nepalese are farmers who work hard to cultivate terraces on hillsides. 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 parts 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 it free of pollution by stray animals that might wander into the house. 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 two or three years old. There are many rites of passage for children such as the first rice feeding and the first haircut. Also, girls go through puberty rites and boys go through initiations known as "sacred thread ceremonies." When they are about eight years old, the children begin doing domestic chores. Girls help care for the younger children, haul water, and carry food for the animals, and boys usually tend to the animals.

There are also some Nepalese who live in the urban areas of India. Even though they are educated, they may only have low-paying jobs. Being foreigners, they are fortunate if they have jobs at all.

What Are Their Beliefs?
Virtually all of the Nepalese in India are Hindus, worshipping millions of gods. They also believe in ghosts and demons that haunt the crossroads and rivers. Offerings are made to these spirits in order to appease them.

Hindus believe that while the deities appear in separate forms, these forms are part of one universal spirit called "Brahman." The most important ones are Brahma, the creator of the universe; Vishnu, its preserver; and Shiva, its destroyer. In Hindu thought, man is not a separate entity, but is actually a part of Brahman.

The Brahmans (Hindu priests) perform important domestic rituals and teachings for the people.

What Are Their Needs?
Of the more than 7.5 million Nepalese who live in India, less that 4,000 profess being Christians. Progress is being made, however, as 14 mission agencies are currently working among them. Intercession is an important key to reaching this group.

Prayer Points

  • Pray against the spirit of Hinduism that has kept the Nepalese bound for many generations.
  • Ask God to raise up prayer teams that will break up the ground through worship and intercession.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently targeting the Nepalese.
  • Pray for effectiveness of the Jesus film among the Nepalese.
  • Ask God to give the Nepalese believers boldness to share the Gospel with their own people.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the people toward Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
  • Pray that God will begin revealing Himself to the Nepalese Hindus through dreams and visions.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Nepalese by the year 2000.

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

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Nepalese
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Khaskura
  • Population: (1990) 6,847,200
    (1995) 7,532,300
    (2000) 8,226,800
  • Largest religion: Hindu 99.9%
  • Christians: Less than 1%
  • Church members: 3,766
  • 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: 14
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 3,845,200 (51%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 305,100 (4%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 3,540,100 (47%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 3,687,100 (49%)
  • Country: India
  • Population: (1990) 850,638,100
    (1995) 935,744,300
    (2000) 1,022,021,300
  • Major peoples in size order: Hindi (High Hindi) 9.5%
    Telugu 7.8%
    Maratha 7.4%
    Bengali 6.4%
    Hindi (Bazaar, Popular) 5.5%
  • Major religions: Hindu 78.2%
    Muslim 12%
    Christian 4.3%
  • Number of denominations: 163

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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