Prayer Profile
The Chameali Pahari of India

[IMAGE] With a culture over 4,000 years old and the world's second largest population, India contains a multitude of closely related people groups. Over thousands of years, these countless groups have migrated into this subcontinent, and many have maintained distinctive cultures. Today, more than 800 languages are spoken in India, and the complex "caste" system has further divided the people into an endless number of social classes.

The Chameali Pahari are one of the many Hindu people groups of India. They are primarily located in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir. This is a rugged mountain region in which roads are merely mule tracks or footpaths winding around the outer slopes of the Himalayas.

The Chameali are a poor, hardworking, and often isolated people. Many of their villages are snowbound for up to four months a year, and the people must live on what they have stored away.

What are their lives like?
Most of the Chameali Pahari are meager, honest farmers. They cultivate terraces on hillsides which produce only meager crops twice a year. Their principal crops are potatoes and rice, while a variety of other vegetables are also grown. Fertilizer is used, as well as a system of plot rotation in which the ground is allowed to lie fallow. 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. Most of the farmers raise buffalo and goats for meat and cows for milk. The villagers live on a simple diet of milk, lentils, a few vegetables, a little fruit, and occasionally meat.

The Chameali live in extended families in villages that consist of loosely grouped homes surrounded by the 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.

The houses are rectangular in shape with stone and mortar walls. The roofs are made of slate, wood, or thatch. Doors, windows, and door frames are often ornately carved and painted. The houses usually have two or more stories, with the people living on the second floor and the animals roaming freely on the ground floor.

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

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 care for the younger children, haul water, and carry food for the animals. Boys tend the animals, help in the fields, or carry milk to the market. Many children walk up to five or six miles a day to school.

The women do most of the work in the fields. They sow, plow, weed, and reap. They also care for the children, keep the house, and tend to the animals.

What are their beliefs?
Virtually all of the Chameali Pahari are Hindus; however, they are not as strict in their observance of religious laws as other Hindus communities. They recognize the five Pandava brothers (heroic warriors of a Hindu epic) as deities, although other Hindus do not. Altogether, they worship more than five hundred gods and goddesses that must be appeased with sacrifices.

What are their needs?
Very few Christian resources are available to the Chameali Pahari. At the present time, only portions of the Bible have been translated into Chameali, and Christian radio broadcasts and a translation of the Jesus film are still needed. Although one missions agency is currently working among the Chameali Pahari, there are only 44 known Chameali believers.

Prayer Points

  • Pray against the spirit of Hinduism that has kept the Chameali Pahari bound for many generations.
  • Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to India and share Christ with the Chameali Pahari.
  • Pray for God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the soil through worship and intercession.
  • Ask God to give the Chameali Christians boldness to share the Gospel with their own people.
  • Pray that God will raise up qualified linguists to complete translation of the Bible into Chameali.
  • 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 open the hearts of India's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
  • Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Chameali Pahari by the year 2000.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Chameali Pahari
  • Country: India
  • Their language: Chameali
  • Population: (1990) 79,400
    (1995) 87,300
    (2000) 95,400
  • Largest religion: Hindu 99.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 44
  • Scriptures in their own language: Portions
  • Jesus Film in their own language: None
  • Christian broadcasts in their own language: None
  • Mission agencies working among this people: 1
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 14,00 (16%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 3,500 (4%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 10,500 (12%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 73,300 (84%)
  • 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%
    Telegu 7.8%
    Maratha 7.4%
    Bengali 6.4%
    Hindi (Bazaar, Popular) 5.5%
  • Major religions: Hindus 78.2%
    Muslims 12%
    Christians 4.3%
  • Number of denominations: 163

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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