Prayer Profile
The Galle Gurung of Nepal

[IMAGE] The 23,000 Galle Gurung are primarily located in the Western Hills and Gorkha districts of Nepal. Some also live on the higher slopes of the Himalayan Mountains. The Galle are predominantly Hindu and belong to the higher "caste" (social class) within Gurung society.

The origin of the Gurung is unknown; however, they are believed to have emigrated from Tibet to Nepal. Gurung legend tells of a king, Ghale Raja, who ruled in ancient times. In the 1400's, Ghale Raja was overthrown by the Nepali king of a neighboring principality. By the 1500's, the Khasa kings had conquered most of the land of modern day Nepal.

Because the Galle Gurung worked as mercenaries in the Khasa armies, they were highly regarded in the new kingdom. Today, their reputation as valiant soldiers continues and many are enlisted in the Gurkha regiments (Nepalese Army).

What are their lives like?
Most of the 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 wheat, buckwheat, barley, soybeans, and string beans. In the northern part of the Lamjung district, the 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 whitewashed houses are loosely clustered together. 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 wealthier members have moved into the towns and cities.

The Gurung men usually wear bhotos (vests) and dhotis (loin cloths). They also sometimes wear jamas, which are kilt-like garments. The women typically 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 usually 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 Galle 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.

Traditional Gurung society is divided into two main groups: the "four castes" and the "sixteen castes." This division forms the basis of their social differences. The Galle Gurung belong to the "four castes."

What are their beliefs?
Although the Gurung are predominantly animists (believe that non-human objects have spirits), 94% of the Galle Gurung are Hindu; 5% are Buddhist.

When a Gurung dies, an astrologer consults his horoscope to determine whether the body should be buried or cremated. Then, 13 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 the Galle Gurung.

Prayer Points

  • Pray that Christians will have greater freedom to live and work among the Galle Gurung of Nepal.
  • Pray that God will call people who are willing to go to Nepal share the Truth with the Galle Gurung.
  • Ask God to soften the hearts and open the ears of the Galle Gurung to the Gospel.
  • Pray that the Lord will raise up qualified linguists to translate the Word of God into the Ghale language.
  • Pray for God's presence and purposes to be revealed among the few Galle Gurung Christians.
  • Take authority over the spiritual principalities and powers that are keeping the Gurung bound.
  • Ask God to raise up teams of intercessors who will faithfully stand in the gap for these precious people.
  • Pray that a strong Christian work will be raised up among the Galle Gurung by the year 2000.

See also the following related groups:
the Eastern Gurung of Nepal, the Western Gurung of Nepal, and the Gurung of Bhutan.

Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.


  • People name: Galle Gurung
  • Country: Nepal
  • Their language: Ghale
  • Population: (1990) 20,300
    (1995) 23,100
    (2000) 26,100
  • Largest religion: Hindu 94%
    Buddhist 5%
    Ethnic religionist 0.9%
  • Christians: <1%
  • Church members: 5
  • Scriptures in their own language: None
  • 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: 1,200 (5.2%) Those evangelized by local Christians: 700 (3%)
    Those evangelized from the outside: 500 (2.2%)
  • Persons who have never heard the Gospel: 21,900 (94.8%)
  • 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: Hindus (87.5%)
    Buddhists (6.9%)
    Muslims (3.5%)
  • Number of denominations: 27

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Bethany World Prayer Center

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