Koshti in India

Joshua Project has identified the Koshti only in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Koshtis are a Maratha and Telugu caste of weavers of silk and fine cotton cloth. Their standard occupation is weaving fine silk-bordered clothe, which are worn by well-to-do persons. The cloth is usually white with borders of red silk. They dye their own thread with lac or flower of the "palas" trees. They are located in Nagpur and Chhattisgarh area. They consider themselves to be descendants of a famous saint, named Markandi Rishi. It is said that he wove cloth from the fibers of the lotus flower to cover the nakedness of the gods. In appreciation for clothing them, he was married to the daughter of Surya, the sun and received a giant named Bhavani and a tiger as a dowry. The giant was disobedient so, Markandi killed him and from his bones fashioned the first weaver's loom. The tiger remained obedient, so Koshtis think that the tiger still respects them as his descendants. For this reason a Koshti will never kill or injure a tiger. The caste has several subdivisions of different types such as Halbis, Lad Koshtis, Gadhewal, Deshkar, Onkule and Salewars.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In Nagpur, during the marriage ceremony, the bride and the bridegroom sit in a circle with their parents, and around them a long hemp rope is drawn seven times. The bride's mother holds a lamp, while the bridegroom's mother pours water from a vessel on to the floor. Widow remarriage is freely permitted. Divorce is allowed but is very rare, as a wife is a big help to the man at his loom. A wife is in reality a factory hand and a well-to do Koshtis will buy or occasionally steal as many women as he can. The Lingayat and Kabirpanthi sects bury their dead while the others cremate them. Mourning is observed for five days for a married person and three for unmarried person. They do not have "shraddh" ceremony, instead on the Akhatij day (commencement of agricultural year); the family will invite a member of the same sex as the deceased person and feed him/her with good food in the name of the dead. A few of them wear the sacred thread. Women have a half-moon tattooed on the forehead, between the eyebrows. Their cheeks are marked with a small dot and arms adorned with a representation of sacred basil.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The main deity is Ganpati whom they revere on the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. They clean all their weaving implements, worship them, and make an image of Ganpati in cowdung to which they make offerings of flowers, rice and turmeric. On this day, they do not work and fast till evening when the image of Ganpati is thrown into a tank and they return home and eat delicacies. Some of them are followers of a saint named Koliba Baba. Other sects worship Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Mata Mai. They have several superstitious beliefs.

Prayer Points

* For Church-planting teams to work among them as there are no known mission agencies/churches working among them.
* For setting up of income-generating projects.
* For Christian community development and literacy workers.
* For a good response to the Christian radio program and the "Jesus" film.

Profile Source:   India Missions Association  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  

People Name General Koshti
People Name in Country Koshti
Population in India 1,002,000
World Population 1,002,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Chaudhri, Cheda, Chetti, Chettiar, Dakunsali, Devanga, Devanga Brahman, Devangulu, Devra, Dewang, Halba, Hutgar, Jadra, Jandra, Jed, Julaha, Kashkoti-Devanga, Koli-Keskati, Koraga, Kosh, Koshta, Koshtha, Koskati, Kosti, Kusata, Kushta, Kushti, Kushtia, Kusta, Kustha, Lad, Lera, Nesevallu, Padampari, Sakuna Pakshi, Salewar, Sali, Sangunsali, Sedu, Seniar, Suler, Swakulasali, Togata, Togri
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Kannada
People Name General Koshti
Ethnic Code CNN23a
People ID 17275
Country India
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 21  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  16  (up to 20 largest shown)
Maharashtra (421,000) Chhattisgarh (257,000) Gujarat (92,000) Karnataka (83,000)
Madhya Pradesh (55,000) Tamil Nadu (52,000) Odisha (28,000) Andhra Pradesh (8,600)
Telangana (4,000) Uttar Pradesh (1,000) Delhi (300) Kerala (200)
Jharkhand (200) Rajasthan (90) Dadra and Nagar Have (40) West Bengal (20)
Total States on file:  16  (up to 20 largest shown)
Maharashtra (421,000) Chhattisgarh (257,000)
Gujarat (92,000) Karnataka (83,000)
Madhya Pradesh (55,000) Tamil Nadu (52,000)
Odisha (28,000) Andhra Pradesh (8,600)
Telangana (4,000) Uttar Pradesh (1,000)
Delhi (300) Kerala (200)
Jharkhand (200) Rajasthan (90)
Dadra and Nagar Have (40) West Bengal (20)
Languages & Dialects on file:  20  (up to 20 largest shown)
Marathi (381,000) Hindi (164,000) Chhattisgarhi (161,000) Telugu (122,000)
Gujarati (79,000) Tamil (28,000) Oriya (23,000) Khandesi (15,000)
Ahirani (3,400) Nimadi (2,800) Kannada (2,600) Malvi (900)
Pengo (700) Kui (200) Konkani, Goan (200) Kanauji (100)
Sadri (100) Munda (100) Konkani (80) Bundeli (70)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Marathi 381,000 Hindi 164,000
Chhattisgarhi 161,000 Telugu 122,000
Gujarati 79,000 Tamil 28,000
Oriya 23,000 Khandesi 15,000
Ahirani 3,400 Nimadi 2,800
Kannada 2,600 Malvi 900
Pengo 700 Kui 200
Konkani, Goan 200 Kanauji 100
Sadri 100 Munda 100
Konkani 80 Bundeli 70
For Primary Language: Marathi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1807-1957)
New Testament Yes   (1811-1982)
Complete Bible Yes   (1821-2002)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible Visuals General
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
EasyBibles Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Text / Printed Matter
Following Jesus (India, JF Project) Film / Video
God's Story Video Film / Video
Gods Simple Plan General
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Marathi Film / Video
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online Scripture (Talking Bibles) Audio Recordings
Online Scripture / Bible 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: Hinduism

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.23 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
99.12 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.65 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: India Missions Association   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source: India Missions Association  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

Copyright © 2015 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.