Lingayat in India

Joshua Project has identified the Lingayat only in India






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

The Lingayat people are known for wearing a linga, an object representing a god; in this case, Shiva. They are a numerous group in India, especially in the state of Karnataka.

This group formed in the 12th century by Basava, a philosopher and a social reformer. He taught against the caste system and its regulations. He envisioned a casteless society, though the resulting society eventually began drawing up lines of caste distinctions again, creating their own hierarchy of social status after Basava's death.

Basava consented to the marriage of a Brahmin woman and a man from an untouchable caste. This story reached the ears of King Bijjala who punished the couple by putting out their eyes and dragging them to their deaths behind an elephant. Basava saw this punishment as unacceptable and left Kayla. He moved on to Kudula Sangama where he died in 1167.

Where Are they Located?

They are found primarily in Karnataka, where they comprise a major population. They are also found in significant numbers in Maharashtra and Andrah Pradesh.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Lingyat are vegetarian and refrain from alcoholic drinks. They are known to be a progressive people and there are people from many walks of life and religious expression to be found among them. Most work in government service, but they are from many occupations, including artisans, cultivators and priests.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They have a series of initiatory rites, including Lingadharane, the bestowing of the linga. This rite is usually performed within the first week of a child's life. From this day forward, the person will wear the stone as an act of worship of the god (Shiva), in a box around their neck. The linga is not seen as a mere representation of god, but rather god himself.

They adore Shiva, but Basava taught that his worshipers should worship him alone rather than numerous gods. Lingayats reject polytheism and the Vedas and follow the teachings of the Vachana sahitya instead.


1. K. S. Singh, ed., India's Communities A-Z, Oxford University Press, USA (June 3, 1999) ISBN-10: 0195633547

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2006-09-25
Global Prayer Digest: 2007-09-09
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-10-09
Global Prayer Digest: 2015-09-10
People Name General Lingayat
People Name in Country Lingayat
Population in India 6,743,000
World Population 6,743,000
Countries 1
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Banajiga, Hugar, Jangam, Jeer, Jir, Kuruhinashetti, Lingangani, Lingawant, Nagartha, Nai, Sivabhakta, Veerasaiva
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Kannada
People Name General Lingayat
Ethnic Code CNN23a
People ID 17372
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:  33  (up to 20 largest shown)
Karnataka (4,406,000) Maharashtra (1,638,000) Tamil Nadu (327,000) Telangana (283,000)
Andhra Pradesh (40,000) Gujarat (27,000) Kerala (13,000) Delhi (3,300)
Goa (2,400) Madhya Pradesh (1,100) Uttar Pradesh (600) West Bengal (600)
Jharkhand (300) Odisha (300) Rajasthan (300) Pondicherry (200)
Chhattisgarh (200) Punjab (200) Dadra and Nagar Have (200) Chandigarh (200)
Total States on file:  33  (up to 20 largest shown)
Karnataka (4,406,000) Maharashtra (1,638,000)
Tamil Nadu (327,000) Telangana (283,000)
Andhra Pradesh (40,000) Gujarat (27,000)
Kerala (13,000) Delhi (3,300)
Goa (2,400) Madhya Pradesh (1,100)
Uttar Pradesh (600) West Bengal (600)
Jharkhand (300) Odisha (300)
Rajasthan (300) Pondicherry (200)
Chhattisgarh (200) Punjab (200)
Dadra and Nagar Have (200) Chandigarh (200)
Languages & Dialects on file:  15  (up to 20 largest shown)
Kannada (5,016,000) Marathi (884,000) Telugu (420,000) Tamil (146,000)
Konkani (23,000) Tulu (22,000) Hindi (6,800) English (4,100)
Konkani, Goan (3,500) Gujarati (2,800) Malayalam (1,300) Ahirani (700)
Kodava (200) Holiya (100) Khandesi (20)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Kannada 5,016,000 Marathi 884,000
Telugu 420,000 Tamil 146,000
Konkani 23,000 Tulu 22,000
Hindi 6,800 English 4,100
Konkani, Goan 3,500 Gujarati 2,800
Malayalam 1,300 Ahirani 700
Kodava 200 Holiya 100
Khandesi 20
For Primary Language: Kannada

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1812-1988)
New Testament Yes   (1823-1995)
Complete Bible Yes   (1831-2000)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible-in-Your-Language Text / Printed Matter
Bibles, Bible League Text / Printed Matter
Fathers Love Letter Audio Recordings
Following Jesus (India, JF Project) Film / Video
Four Spiritual Laws General
God's Story Video Film / Video
Got Questions Ministry General
International Bible Society Text / Printed Matter
Jesus Film: view in Kannada Film / Video
Kannada Bible stories Audio Recordings
Magdalena (Jesus Film Project) Film / Video
My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime) Film / Video
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Online Scripture / Bible Audio Recordings
Oral Bible stories in Kannada 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: Other / Small

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

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: International Mission Board-SBC   Copyrighted ©   Used with permission
Map Source: Joshua Project / Global Mapping International  
Profile Source: Joshua Project  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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