Tibetan, Bhotia in Nepal






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

In March of 1959, 100,000 Tibetans fled from Tibet into Nepal, Bhutan, and India as a result of the Communist Chinese occupation. Today, thirty-five years later, many Tibetan refugees still live in these countries.

Tibetans are generally very proud of their heritage. In fact, most of them have not assimilated culturally into the nations where they have settled, but have maintained their traditional practices. However, many Tibetans, especially the youth, have been heavily influenced by the western culture.

Tibetan Buddhism dominates the culture of the Tibetans who live in Nepal. They worship their king, the Dalai Lama, considering him a god. He serves as both their spiritual and political leader. Tibetans are very dedicated to their religious beliefs. Prayer flags, stupas (dome-shaped monuments used to house Buddhist relics), prayer beads, and prayer wheels are a common sight all over their region.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Tibetans usually have jobs that are related to the carpet industry. The majority of them work in, manage or even own carpet factories. However, in recent years, the demand for Tibetan carpets has declined, causing the unemployment rate to rise among this people group.

Tibetans are traditionally divided into groups according to geographic origin, occupation, and social status. Social distinctions between the upper class and the commoners are evidenced in their dress, housing, and speech.

Tibetan women usually wear chubas, or striped aprons, over ankle-length, wrapped dresses. Their responsibilities include caring for the children, preparing the food, and tending to other domestic duties, while the men do the bulk of the work outside the home.

The extended family, which often consists of three generations, is the most important functioning kinship group among Tibetans. Although they tend to dote on their children, they believe in strong discipline and religious instruction. Tibetan society is patrilineal, which means that inheritances and family names are passed down through the males. Family names are also used to differentiate those of noble origin from others.

Traditional Tibetan art focuses on religious worship and includes sculptures, statues, scroll paintings of deities, carved altars, and religious texts.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Lamaism, was developed in Tibet during the seventh century. It eventually spread throughout the entire Himalayan region. Some of the characteristic features of Tibetan Buddhism include: its ready acceptance of the Buddhist religious writings as a true revelation of the Buddhist way; its emphasis on the master/disciple relationship; its recognition of a huge number of gods, saints, and demons; and finally, the marked piety of its followers. They express their devotion by giving offerings, spinning prayer wheels, making pilgrimages to holy sites, and chanting spells called mantras.

Tibetan Buddhists believe in reincarnation, or that, when the body dies, the soul is reborn as either an animal or a human. They also believe that every action influences how the soul will be born in the next life. Such teachings have caused them to live their lives in bondage and fear.

What Are Their Needs?

Nepal has long been hidden away and forgotten by most of the world. The government of Nepal is opposed to any form of proselytizing; and so government restrictions apply, but most of the time Christians can follow their religion. There are more problems from family members than from the government.

Although many of the Nepali Tibetans have heard the name of Jesus and have some awareness of Christianity, they still do not have a clear concept of the Gospel. As a whole, they remain antagonistic and resistant to any type of Christian witness. The demonic side of Tibetan Buddhism is very real and can only be battled through prayer.

Prayer Points

* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
* Pray that the doors of Nepal will soon open to missionaries.
* Ask God to encourage and protect the few known Tibetan Christians in Nepal.
* Pray that these believers will have opportunities to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to open the hearts of Nepal's governmental leaders to the Gospel.
* Pray that God will set these Buddhists free from the bondage of fear.
* Ask the Lord to raise up strong local churches among the Tibetans of Nepal.

Profile Source:   Bethany World Prayer Center  

Video Links:
Good News For You
People Name General Tibetan
People Name in Country Tibetan, Bhotia
Population in Nepal 2,600
World Population 1,097,000
Countries 7
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Bhokha, Bhote, Dalai, Dbus, Dbustsang, Lhasa, Lhasa Tibetan, Llasa, Phoke, Pohbetian, Tebilian, Tibate, Tseku, U, Wei, Weizang, Zang
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster Tibetan
People Name General Tibetan
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 15468
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Kathmandu and Pokhara..   Source:  www.ethnologue.com
Total States on file:  3  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bagmati (2,500) Sagarmatha (80) Mahakali (50)
Total States on file:  3  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bagmati (2,500) Sagarmatha (80)
Mahakali (50)
Languages & Dialects on file:  2  (up to 20 largest shown)
Tibetan, Central (2,500) Nepali (200)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Tibetan, Central 2,500 Nepali 200
For Primary Language: Tibetan, Central

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1862-1991)
New Testament Yes   (1885-1973)
Complete Bible Yes   (1948)
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Fathers Love Letter Audio Recordings
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Jesus Film: view in Tibetan, Central Film / Video
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
The Hope Video Film / Video
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
100.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: COMIBAM / Sepal  
Map Source: University of Texas Map Collection  
Video Source: Create International
Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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