The Eastern Gurung of Nepal
The 77,000 Eastern Gurung are primarily located in Nepal's Lamjung and Gorkha districts. Some also live on the higher slopes of the Himalayan Mountains. The majority of their villages are situated on the mountain slopes at elevations between 1,000 and 2,000 meters (roughly 3,000 to 6,000 feet). They speak Daduwa, which is a dialect of the Gurung language.
The origin of the Gurung is unknown; however, they are believed to have come from Tibet to settle in Nepal. Gurung legend tells of a king (Ghale Raja) who ruled in ancient times. In the fifteenth century, Ghale Raja was overthrown by the Nepali king of a neighboring principality. By the sixteenth century the Khasa kings had conquered most of the land of modern day Nepal. Because the Gurung were mercenaries in the Khasa armies, they were highly regarded in the new kingdom. Today, some are enlisted in the Gurkha regiments.
What are their lives like?
Most of the Eastern Gurung are farmers. Despite the fact that they are hard workers, most of them are very poor. The meager amount of food that they are able to produce is barely enough to sustain them. Their main food sources are millet, maize, and some rice. They also raise soybeans, grains, and string beans. In the northern part of the Lamjung district, the Eastern Gurung raise sheep and goats. Wool is used to make woven crafts, which are sold in tourist markets.
The Gurung live in villages built high on the ridges. The people live in whitewashed houses with slate roofs. Houses belonging to related families tend to be built alongside each other. While most of the Gurung have remained in the villages, some of the more wealthy members have moved to the towns and cities.
The Gurung men usually wear bhotos (vests) and dhotis (loin cloths) that are wrapped from their waists. They also sometimes wear jamas, which are kilt-like garments. Women wear colorful fariyas (wrap around dresses) and ghaleks (upper garments) over blouses. They also enjoy wearing nose rings or earrings.
In order to be considered an adult in Gurung society, marriage is essential. Marriages are arranged by both sets of parents while children are quite young. January is the preferred month for a wedding ceremony. A "bride price" consisting of gold jewelry is given to the bride at the wedding ceremony.
The basic household unit of the Gurung changes over time. A household typically begins as a nuclear family, then grows into an extended family unit. Newlyweds move in with the groom's parents and remain there until their own children have become adults. The man then builds his own house, usually near the home of his parents.
The Eastern Gurung have many interesting customs. For example, three days after the birth of an infant, the tuno bandhane ceremony is held. This entails wrapping the newborn baby (after it has been washed in either cow's milk or cow's urine) in a long piece of cloth.
The Gurung also love to sing and dance during festive occasions. The young people often gather in the rodi ghar, a type of dance hall, to sing songs that they have written.
What are their beliefs?
Although the Eastern Gurung are predominantly animists (believe that non-human objects have spirits), they have been strongly influenced by Hinduism and Buddhism. When a Gurung dies, an astrologer consults his horoscope to determine whether the body should be buried or cremated. Then, thirteen days after the death, an image of the deceased is made and dressed in his or her clothes. The priest recites scriptures while the headman of the village and the relatives of the deceased bring offerings to the image.
What are their needs?
The government of Nepal fiercely opposes any form of evangelism. Many Christians have been imprisoned for sharing their faith. There are currently no missions agencies working among these people.
- Pray that God will open the doors of Nepal to missionaries.
- Ask God to encourage and protect the few known Eastern Gurung believers.
- Pray that God will call people who are willing to go to Nepal to bring the Truth to the Eastern Gurung.
- Ask God to soften the hearts and open the ears of the Eastern Gurung to the Gospel.
- Pray that the Lord will raise up qualified linguists to complete translation of the Word of God into their language.
- Pray for God's presence and purposes to be revealed among the few Eastern Gurung Christians.
- Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Gurung bound.
- Pray that a strong Christian work will be raised up among the Eastern Gurung by the year 2000.
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
- People name: Eastern Gurung
- Country: Nepal
- Their language: Daduwa
- Largest religion:
- Christians: <1%
- Church members: 16
- 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: None
- Persons who have heard the Gospel: 7,800 (10%)
- Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 69,900 (90%)
- Country: Nepal
- Major peoples in size order:
- Major religions:
- Number of denominations: 27
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Bethany World Prayer Center
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