Prayer Profile
The Nepalese of Nepal

[IMAGE] The Nepalese (also known as the Eastern Pahari) are the major ethnic group in Nepal. They speak Nepali, which is the country's official language. The Nepalese have many racial, cultural, and linguistic similarities to the people of northern India. Their domestic and religious practices are also patterned after the higher Hindu castes of India.

Most of the Nepalese live in small villages in hilly terrain and are accustomed to traveling long distances on foot. They are known for their cheerfulness, good humor, resourcefulness, and self-confidence. Their population consists primarily of three "castes," or social classes: the Brahmans (priests and scholars); the Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors); and the Achut (laborers and servants). The Achut perform the most polluting tasks such as cleaning bathrooms. Many also beg and scavenge for a living. As "untouchables," they are excluded from and considered ritually unclean by the other classes of Hindus.

What are their lives like?
Most of the Nepalese are farmers. They live in small rural settlements that are situated near rivers or springs. The villages consist of loosely grouped homes surrounded by farm land. Only the poorest families do not own land. In middle and southern Nepal, the land has been terraced for generations. Wet rice is grown during the monsoon season; whereas dry rice, maize, millet, and wheat are raised on drier land during the summer and winter months. The Nepalese 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 portions 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 house. Most houses have porches and courtyards where people socialize and do chores such as weaving.

Nepalese children, whether born to landowners or to servants, 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. 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, carry food for the animals, and haul water. Boys usually tend to the animals.

Nepalese girls were traditionally married before they reached the age of ten. Now, they usually marry later, but still do not begin living with their husbands until they have matured.

What are their beliefs?
Nepal is a Hindu kingdom in which the king is worshipped as an incarnation of the Hindu god, Vishnu ("protector and preserver of worlds"). Although most of the Nepalese are Hindus, there are also a large number of Buddhists and Muslims. All of these groups have held on to their traditional animistic beliefs (belief that non-human objects have spirits). They recognize local gods, goblins, and spirits. They also believe in ghosts and demons that haunt the crossroads and rivers. Offerings are made to these spirits in order to appease them.

What are their needs?
Thirteen missions agencies are now working among this people group; however, their progress has been slow. Only 1% of the Nepalese in Nepal know Jesus. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the Gospel.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that God will grant wisdom and favor to the missions agencies that are currently working among the Nepalese.
  • 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 to the Nepalese.
  • Pray that God will open the hearts of Nepal'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 worship and intercession.
  • Pray that strong local churches will be planted among the Nepalese by the year 2000.

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

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Nepalese
  • Country: Nepal
  • Their language: Nepali
  • Population: (1990) 10,612,500
    (1995) 12,081,300
    (2000) 13,693,000
  • Largest religion: Hindu 89%
    Buddhist 8%
    Muslim (Sunni) 2%
  • Christians: 1%
  • Church members: 120,813
  • 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: 13
  • Persons who have heard the Gospel: 6,765,600 (56%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 845,700 (7%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 5,919,900 (49%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 5,315,700 (44%)
  • Country: Nepal
  • Population: (1990) 19,253,000
    (1995) 21,917,700
    (2000) 24,841,500
  • Major peoples in size order: Nepalese 55.1%
    Maitili 10.8%
    Bhojpuri Bihari 7.8%
    Newar 2.9%
    Saptari Tharu 2.9%
  • Major religions: Hindu 87.5%
    Buddhist 6.9%
    Muslim 3.5%
  • Number of denominations: 27

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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