Chhetri in Nepal






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Nepalese Chhetri 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 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 polluted 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.

Nepal opened its borders in 1951. However, foreign missionaries found it difficult to evangelize because of the strict government laws and scrutiny of foreigners.

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; 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. Most houses 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 crafts 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?

Although most Nepalese are Hindus, there are still a large number of Buddhists and Muslims. All of these groups have held onto their traditional animistic beliefs (a 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.

With Hinduism embracing 330 million gods, Nepal's capital, Kathmandu, has more temples, houses, and idols than people.

What are Their Needs?

Several missions agencies are now working among this people group; however, their progress has been slow. Very few of the Nepalese in Nepal know Jesus. Christianity is looked at as the "foreigners" religion. New believers are considered "untouchables" - the caste you do not mix with. Baptism is considered the ultimate proof of conversion, and the person performing the baptism can face up to a six-year prison term.

Prayer is the key to reaching the Nepalese with the Gospel.

Prayer Points

* Pray that God will encourage and strengthen the Nepalese who have converted to Christianity.
* Ask God to bless worship and intercession by Christians from other countries who come to prayer-walk in Nepal.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-09-03
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-15
People Name General Chhetri
People Name in Country Chhetri
Population in Nepal 4,084,000
World Population 4,422,000
Countries 4
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Chheepi, Chhettri, Kshetri
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Nepali-Pahari
People Name General Chhetri
Ethnic Code CNN25k
People ID 16589
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country East and south central..   Source:
Total States on file:  14  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bagmati (626,000) Seti (615,000) Rapti (470,000) Mahakali (447,000)
Bheri (368,000) Kosi (315,000) Lumbini (265,000) Sagarmatha (220,000)
Gandaki (212,000) Mechi (201,000) Janakpur (194,000) Narayani (171,000)
Karnali (168,000) Dhawalagiri (121,000)
Total States on file:  14  (up to 20 largest shown)
Bagmati (626,000) Seti (615,000)
Rapti (470,000) Mahakali (447,000)
Bheri (368,000) Kosi (315,000)
Lumbini (265,000) Sagarmatha (220,000)
Gandaki (212,000) Mechi (201,000)
Janakpur (194,000) Narayani (171,000)
Karnali (168,000) Dhawalagiri (121,000)
Languages & Dialects on file:  75  (up to 20 largest shown)
Nepali (3,819,000) Newar: Newari (82,000) Awadhi (50,000) Bantawa (48,000)
Bhojpuri (44,000) Kham, Western Parbate (37,000) Maithili (31,000) Hindi (23,000)
Musasa (22,000) Rawat (12,000) Kayort (12,000) Chamling (12,000)
Kham, Sheshi (12,000) Sonha (9,400) Walungge (6,300) Kham, Gamale (5,800)
Kansa (4,700) Thulung (4,200) Palpa (3,100) Khaling (2,700)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Nepali 3,819,000 Newar: Newari 82,000
Awadhi 50,000 Bantawa 48,000
Bhojpuri 44,000 Kham, Western Parbate 37,000
Maithili 31,000 Hindi 23,000
Musasa 22,000 Rawat 12,000
Kayort 12,000 Chamling 12,000
Kham, Sheshi 12,000 Sonha 9,400
Walungge 6,300 Kham, Gamale 5,800
Kansa 4,700 Thulung 4,200
Palpa 3,100 Khaling 2,700
Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1850-1961)
New Testament Yes   (1821-2010)
Complete Bible Yes   (1914-2004)
Audio Bible Online
Format Resource
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources
Audio Recordings Nepali Bible stories
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Nepali
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
General Got Questions Ministry
Text / Printed Matter Bible-in-Your-Language
Text / Printed Matter Bibles, Bible League
Text / Printed Matter EasyBibles
Text / Printed Matter International Bible Society
Text / Printed Matter World Missionary Press Booklets

Major Religion Percent
1.31 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.07 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
98.54 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.02 %
0.06 %
Photo Source: Steve Evans   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: GAAPNet: Updated original Bethany people profile 
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of the U.S. Center for World Mission.