Yenadi in India

Joshua Project has identified the Yenadi only in India







Largest Religion

Main Language


Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center

Introduction / History

The Yanadi are located in Andhra Pradesh, southern India. They live primarily in the districts of Nellore and Chittoor, as well as other nearby districts. They speak Yanadi, which belongs to the Telugu language family.

For many years, the Yanadi lived in isolation on the island of Sri Harikota, off the Nellore district. In 1835, the British government took possession of the island. Schools and industries were opened to try to "civilize" them by showing them a more modern way of life. The government's effort, however, was of no avail. When India became independent in 1947, and British administration ended.

The Yanadi are dark skinned people, short in stature. Many believe them to be tribal because of their primitive ways; others believe them to be a part of a caste system. They are divided into two groups: the Manchi Yanadi, who belong to the small superior class; and the Challa Yanadi. The two groups seldom intermarry.

What are Their Lives Like?

The Yanadi are mainly rural farmers, although some work as dairy farmers. Seasonal forest products such as herbs, wood, and grass for making brooms, provide extra income. Some of the urban Challa Yanadi do toilet and street cleaning. They may also catch frogs and snakes for trade, or gather honey to sell in the markets.

Some of the Yanadi are semi-nomadic, moving every few years in search of work or good sources of forest products. Unfortunately, many of the forests have been depleted in recent years, and the best farm areas are now owned by wealthy landowners. For this reason, some of the Yanadi work as hired farm hands.

Yanadi villages consist of low, cone-shaped huts built of bamboo and palm leaves, grass, or millet stalks, and smooth mud walls. The government has also supplied cement structures in some locations. Since the Yanadi generally eat, cook, and sleep outside, the huts' are built only as a protection from the sun and rain. Each village has a headman who is strongly respected and obeyed; his word is law.

The Yanadi diet includes rice eaten with vegetable soup, various wild greens, and other vegetables. Their food tends to be spicy. Meat is only eaten a few times a month. Wild pigs, rabbits, lizards, and rodents are eaten by those living near the forests.

The Yanadi have a freedom in marriage of which many other Hindu groups disapprove. For instance, separations are common and if someone wants to change his marriage partner, he is free to do so. The women seem to have more rights in choosing their husbands than do the typical rural, southern Indian women. A thin cord with a small pendant is worn around a married woman's neck. A toe ring is also worn on her second toe.

Education standards are low for the Yanadi. Only about one-tenth are literate. India's government has set up schools to increase the literacy rate. However, in some villages, this effort seems worthless, since even the teachers may fail to show up at the schools.

The Yanadi are friendly and are more open with their emotions than other groups in the area. Their special love for music and dance also makes them unique. Their favorite instruments are drums and small stringed instruments.

What are Their Beliefs?

The Yanadi are nearly all Hindu. They have pictures of their gods in their homes and small shrines are usually located in each village. Annual festivals are held in worship of their favorite gods. The gods supposedly favor some and dislike others, depending on whether or not a ritual or penance is done to the god's satisfaction. Good luck and fate are important to the Yanadi. Charms, amulets, and "lucky people" are believed to generate good fortune.

What are Their Needs?

Better educational and housing facilities are needed. Perhaps Christian teachers and humanitarian aid workers will have open doors to reach the Yanadi.

Prayer Points

* Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to India and share Christ with the Yanadi.
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the missionaries that are trying to reach them.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Yanadi towards Christians so that they will be receptive to the Gospel.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.

Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center Copyrighted ©: Yes Used with permission
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Country India
Continent Asia
Region South Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Location in Country
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People Name General Yenadi
People Name in Country Yenadi
ROP3 Code 113891
Joshua Project People ID 18339
Indigenous Yes
Population in India 697,000
Least-Reached Yes
Alternate Names for People Group Irlollu, Malauasi, Nakampadi, Villuwaru, Yadi, Yanadi, Yanati, Yenadri, Yendari,
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Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Telugu 684,674 Tamil 15,918 Kannada 2,163 Hindi 178
Marathi 128 Urdu 120 Oriya 96 Malayalam 10
Assamese 8 Koya 8 Gondi, Southern 8 Nepali 7
Gujarati 3 English 3 Kui 1 Bhili 1
Konkani 1
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Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Hindi
People Name General Yenadi
Ethnic Code CNN25r
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Largest Religion Hinduism
0.11%    ( Evangelical  0.00% )
Ethnic Religions
Other / Small
Christian Segments
Other Christian
Roman Catholic
Photo Source: John Kless
Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center Copyrighted ©: Yes
Profile Source:
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
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