Gurung in Nepal



Population

628,000

Christian

Evangelical

0.00%

Largest Religion

Main Language

Progress


Identity

Approximately 180,000 Western Gurung people live in the Kaski, Syangia and Parbat districts of the Gandaki Zone in central Nepal. According to the 1991 census, 72,000 people can still speak the Western Gurung language, just over 50 per cent of the population. The rest speak Nepali as their first language.


History

Over the past two hundred years the Gurung have migrated into surrounding nations. There is a community of Gurung living in the Samtsi District of south-west Bhutan, where they are commonly labelled as Nepalis. In India, Gurung communities can be found in the hilly terrain of the South, West and East districts of the state of Sikkim, throughout the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, and around the city of Dehra Dun and throughout the Pithoragarh District in Uttar Pradesh.1 In India, the Gurung have not been recognized as a Scheduled Tribe. Consequently population figures are not available for them, but they probably total a few thousand.

Gurung history is clouded with uncertainty because of their lack of a written script in the past. Legends were handed down orally from one generation to the next. We do know that, during the 15th century, a Gurung king named Ghale Raja was overthrown by a Nepali king. In the 16th century the Khasa armies took over large tracts of land in Nepal and the Gurung came under their control. The Gurung were highly regarded as fighters and many of them were enlisted in the Khasa's armies. Later, after the British took control of India, many Gurung men were enlisted as Gurkha soldiers in the British army. Thousands have served in places from Hong Kong to Bosnia and the Falkland Islands.


Religion

Religion plays an important role in the everyday lives of most Gurung people. Their belief system is a mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism and shamanism. As one researcher wrote, 'Buddhism is followed by the Gurungs today although in ancient times they practiced the animistic and shamanistic form of religion similar to the pre-Buddhist Bon religion of the Himalayan regions. The northern areas of the kingdom are populated with people of mongoloid stock who are mostly followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and so these Gurungs can also be included within this category, though currently Hindu Gurungs have also emerged due to their contact with the Hindu lowlanders.'

The ceremonies and rituals that the Gurung perform also have mixed origins. One interesting custom, called tuno bandhane, takes place three days after the birth of a baby. '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.'


Christianity

Less than one out of every thousand Western Gurung people are Christians today. One source found there to be just 23 known Western Gurung believers in 1997, but this number has increased in recent years. The Western Gurung New Testament was first published in 1982, but it has fallen out of print since because of the small number of Western Gurung Christians and because there is no demand for it.


Profile Source:   Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-08-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-16
People Name General Gurung
People Name in Country Gurung
Population in Nepal 628,000
World Population 767,000
Countries 4
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Birbangshi, Daduwa, Gurkhal, Gurum, Gurun, Kyi, Manang, Syangja, Tamu, Tamu Kyi, Western Gurung
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster South Himalaya
People Name General Gurung
Ethnic Code MSY50e
People ID 15366
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Approximately 180,000 Western Gurung people live in the Kaski, Syangia and Parbat districts of the Gandaki Zone in central Nepal....Over the last 200 years the Gurung have migrated into surrounding nations. There is a community of Gurung living in the Samtsi District of south-west Bhutan, where they are commonly labeled Nepalis. In India, Gurung communities can be found in the hilly terrain of the South, West and East districts of the state of Sikkim, throughout the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, around the city of Dehra Dun and throughout the Pithoragarh District of Uttar Pradesh..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States on file:  14  (up to 20 largest shown)
Gandaki (312,000) Bagmati (90,000) Lumbini (78,000) Narayani (58,000)
Kosi (44,000) Dhawalagiri (24,000) Mechi (20,000) Bheri (13,000)
Janakpur (13,000) Sagarmatha (11,000) Karnali (7,300) Rapti (6,800)
Seti (4,700) Mahakali (3,200)
Total States on file:  14  (up to 20 largest shown)
Gandaki (312,000) Bagmati (90,000)
Lumbini (78,000) Narayani (58,000)
Kosi (44,000) Dhawalagiri (24,000)
Mechi (20,000) Bheri (13,000)
Janakpur (13,000) Sagarmatha (11,000)
Karnali (7,300) Rapti (6,800)
Seti (4,700) Mahakali (3,200)
Languages & Dialects on file:  41  (up to 20 largest shown)
Gurung, Western (417,000) Nepali (191,000) Ghale, Southern (27,000) Gurung, Eastern (12,000)
Newar: Newari (6,000) Sherpa (5,800) Magar, Western (3,300) Bhojpuri (3,200)
Bantawa (3,000) Tamang, Eastern (2,100) Hindi (1,900) Tamang, Western (1,800)
Bhujel (900) Rajbanshi (800) Tsum (800) Awadhi (700)
Musasa (600) Maithili (400) Nubri (400) Kayort (300)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Gurung, Western 417,000 Nepali 191,000
Ghale, Southern 27,000 Gurung, Eastern 12,000
Newar: Newari 6,000 Sherpa 5,800
Magar, Western 3,300 Bhojpuri 3,200
Bantawa 3,000 Tamang, Eastern 2,100
Hindi 1,900 Tamang, Western 1,800
Bhujel 900 Rajbanshi 800
Tsum 800 Awadhi 700
Musasa 600 Maithili 400
Nubri 400 Kayort 300
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1972-2010)
New Testament Yes   (1982)
Complete Bible No
Format Resource
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Gurung, Western

Major Religion Percent
Buddhism
71.04 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.99 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
26.57 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.26 %
Unknown
1.14 %
Photo Source: Timothy Two Project International  
Map Source: University of Texas Map Collection  
Profile Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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