Khamiyang in India

Joshua Project has identified the Khamiyang only in India






Largest Religion

Main Language



Approximately one thousand Khamiyang people live in the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, inhabiting communities near the Khamtis in the Lohit and Tirap districts. 'They dwell in the plains drained by the Tengapani and Noa-Dihing rivers and within the vicinity of dense tropical moist and deciduous forests.' A small number of Khamiyang live in the Rowai Mukh village within Assam State. The total population of the Khamiyang was listed at 812 at the time of the 1981 census. Out of this number, just three individuals lived in an urban area and 809 were from rural areas.

Few sources have ever mentioned the Khamiyang, although one described them as 'a small Buddhist peasant community with a close affinity with the Khamtis of Arunachal Pradesh and the Aiton and Tai Phake of Assam. They are also called Khamjang and use Shyam as their surname.'


The name Khamiyang means 'a place where gold is available'. This name probably comes from their homeland. They are believed to have originally lived in the Patkai mountains, but they left because of oppression from the Singpho (Kachin) and moved to Assam between 1807 and 1814. 'Some of them recall that they subsequently migrated from the Jorhat and Dibrugarh districts of Assam during the great Assam earthquake in the year 1950 and settled down in the plains of the Lohit and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, where they are now distributed.'


The Khamiyang originally spoke a Tai language, similar to Khamti. Over the centuries, however, the Khamiyang have gradually lost the use of their mother tongue and most have adopted Assamese, which is spoken by more than 15 million people in north-east India. They also use the Assamese script for reading and writing. Their original Tai script is now used only for Buddhist rituals. Despite losing their linguistic identity, the Khamiyang retain their cultural and ethnic distinctiveness, which qualifies them as a mission-significant people group.

Since they live in a place with abundant natural resources, the diet of the Khamiyang includes 'a large variety of wild and domestically grown vegetables, roots and tubers such as pumpkins, brinjals, ginger and onions; mustard leaves; chilies; flower of plantains; mushrooms; shoots of bamboo and cane and many types of leaves.... They eat a variety of fish ... fowls, pigs, goats, wild bears, deer and tigers, but abstain from taking beef.'


Theravada Buddhism is the religious choice of an overwhelming number of Khamiyang people. Each village has its own temple or monastery. The 1981 Indian census records 805 of the 812 Khamiyang as followers of Buddhism. Four individuals listed their religion as Hinduism, and three as followers of 'other religions'. The Khamiyang have been Buddhists since long before their migration from the Shan State area of northern Myanmar many centuries ago. Buddhism forms a major part of their identity and few seem open to change. Consequently, there are no known Christians among the Khamiyang people of India today.

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

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The Path of Light
People Name General Khamiyang
People Name in Country Khamiyang
Population in India 2,200
World Population 2,200
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Khamiyan, Khamjang, Khamyang, Nara, Nora, Sham, Shyam
Affinity Bloc Tibetan-Himalayan Peoples
People Cluster South Himalaya
People Name General Khamiyang
Ethnic Code MSY50r
People ID 17173
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately one thousand Khamiyang people live in the north-east Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, inhabitating communities near the Khamtis in the Lohit and Tirap districts..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States on file:  2  (up to 20 largest shown)
Arunachal Pradesh (1,900) Assam (300)
Total States on file:  2  (up to 20 largest shown)
Arunachal Pradesh (1,900) Assam (300)

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Enthologue Language Map

Ethnolinguistic map from University of Texas or other map

Languages & Dialects on file:  10  (up to 20 largest shown)
Assamese (900) Telugu (700) Naga, Tase (50) Tibetan, Central
Naga, Tangkhul Miju-Mishmi English Anal
Kurux Urdu
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Assamese 900 Telugu 700
Naga, Tase 50 Tibetan, Central 10
Naga, Tangkhul 10 Miju-Mishmi 0
English 0 Anal 0
Kurux 0 Urdu
For Primary Language: Assamese

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1822-1974)
New Testament Yes   (1819-1993)
Complete Bible Yes   (1833-1995)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Assamese Bible stories Audio Recordings
Assamese Language Film Film / Video
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Christ for the Nations Text / Printed Matter
Christassam recordings Audio Recordings
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Assamese Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
Online Scripture (Talking Bibles) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project) Film / Video
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Buddhism

Major Religion Percent
96.97 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.58 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
1.92 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.52 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Video Source: Create International
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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