Sherpa in Bhutan


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* From latest Bhutan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Subgroups: 2

Subgroup Name Population
Solu-Khambuwan 1,600
Yukpa 1,600

Introduction / History

The Sherpa, despite being a relatively small group, are one of the most well-known peoples of Asia. The Sherpa inhabit both sides of the Himalayan Range. The majority live in India, where more than 45,000 live primarily in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and in the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Sherpa live in Nepal, especially in the Solu Khumbu District and around the famous town of Namche Bazaar and across the border in Bhutan. The Sherpa in Tibet inhabit parts of Dinggye, Tingri and Zhangmu counties. Tingri County is directly on the road from Kathmandu to Lhasa, a route frequented by many tour groups during the summer months. Small numbers of Sherpa have dispersed to South Korea and the USA in recent years. These numbers do not include the Helambu Sherpa, who speak a different language.
The name Sherpa means 'eastern people '. It is believed that all Sherpa once lived in Tibet before their descendants migrated west in the 15th century. 'At that time, a Mongol King attempted to force them to convert to his sect of Buddhism. The people fled to the Khumbu region.' A Chinese account states, 'They believe themselves to be descendants of Tibetans from the Kham region in Sichuan Province. Many, many years ago, their ancestors, returning from a pilgrimage to Buddhist temples in India and Nepal, settled down here.'


What Are Their Lives Like?

Sherpa villages range anywhere from a few households to more than one hundred houses. A Sherpa family unit consists of the nuclear family living in a single household and sharing a joint economy. Houses are at least two stories, the upper story being a one-room living quarter and the lower story serving as an animal shed and storage area. When the youngest son marries, he inherits the farmhouse and half of the fields. He also must take care of his parents. The older sons receive the remaining fields as their inheritance. A middle son will often bring honor to his family by attending a monastery to become a lama, or holy man.
In the past, marriages have always been arranged by the family. This tradition seems to be changing with the increase of Western influence. Also, divorce is quite frequent, occurring in an estimated one-third of Sherpa marriages.


What Are Their Beliefs?

Religion has a very strong hold on the Sherpa. The Sherpa generally follow the Tibetan form of Buddhism combined with animism (the belief that non-human objects have spirits). These beliefs encompass everything the Sherpa do. They follow folk beliefs and perceive spirits everywhere. The Sherpa celebrate many festivals that involve a combination of religion and magic.


What Are Their Needs?

The Sherpa people have many physical and spiritual needs. They live in an inhospitable land where it’s difficult to farm or raise livestock.


Prayer Points

Pray for a complete harvest among the Sherpa people in Bhutan, Nepal and China.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to call some from every Sherpa family to Christ’s side.
Pray for Sherpa disciples who will make more disciples.


Scripture Prayers for the Sherpa in Bhutan.


References

Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest, Copyrighted © Used with permission


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Sherpa
People Name in Country Sherpa
Pronunciation Sher-pah
Alternate Names Bhotia; Drukpa; Khambuwan; Manang; Serwa; Sharpa; Sharpa Bhotia; Sherdukpen; Solu; Solu-Khambuwan; Toto; Xiaerba; Xiarba; Yelmo; शेरपा
Population this Country 10,000
Population all Countries 190,000
Total Countries 5
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 4  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 14906
ROP3 Code 108938
ROP25 Code 307461
ROP25 Name Sherpa
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 36  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 3
Largest States
Western
9,300
Central
400
Southern
300
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 36  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 3
  Western 9,300
  Central 400
  Southern 300
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
95.98 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
4.02 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
* From latest Bhutan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Sherpa
Language Code xsr   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
Nepali
Primary Language Sherpa
Language Code xsr   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 2
Secondary Languages
  Nepali
People Groups Speaking Sherpa
Photo Source COMIBAM / Sepal 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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