Gurung in Nepal


Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge

Identity

Approximately 180,000 Western Gurung people live in the Kaski, Syangia and Parbat districts of the Gandaki Zone in central Nepal. According to the 1991 census, 72,000 people can still speak the Western Gurung language, just over 50 per cent of the population. The rest speak Nepali as their first language.


History

Over the past two hundred years the Gurung have migrated into surrounding nations. There is a community of Gurung living in the Samtsi District of south-west Bhutan, where they are commonly labelled as Nepalis. In India, Gurung communities can be found in the hilly terrain of the South, West and East districts of the state of Sikkim, throughout the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, and around the city of Dehra Dun and throughout the Pithoragarh District in Uttar Pradesh. In India, the Gurung have not been recognized as a Scheduled Tribe. Consequently population figures are not available for them, but they probably total a few thousand.

Gurung history is clouded with uncertainty because of their lack of a written script in the past. Legends were handed down orally from one generation to the next. We do know that, during the 15th century, a Gurung king named Ghale Raja was overthrown by a Nepali king. In the 16th century the Khasa armies took over large tracts of land in Nepal and the Gurung came under their control. The Gurung were highly regarded as fighters and many of them were enlisted in the Khasa's armies. Later, after the British took control of India, many Gurung men were enlisted as Gurkha soldiers in the British army. Thousands have served in places from Hong Kong to Bosnia and the Falkland Islands.


Religion

Religion plays an important role in the everyday lives of most Gurung people. Their belief system is a mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism and shamanism. As one researcher wrote, 'Buddhism is followed by the Gurungs today although in ancient times they practiced the animistic and shamanistic form of religion similar to the pre-Buddhist Bon religion of the Himalayan regions. The northern areas of the kingdom are populated with people of mongoloid stock who are mostly followers of Tibetan Buddhism, and so these Gurungs can also be included within this category, though currently Hindu Gurungs have also emerged due to their contact with the Hindu lowlanders.'

The ceremonies and rituals that the Gurung perform also have mixed origins. One interesting custom, called tuno bandhane, takes place three days after the birth of a baby. 'This entails wrapping the newborn baby (after it has been washed in either cow's milk or cow's urine) in a long piece of cloth.'


Christianity

Less than one out of every thousand Western Gurung people are Christians today. One source found there to be just 23 known Western Gurung believers in 1997, but this number has increased in recent years. The Western Gurung New Testament was first published in 1982, but it has fallen out of print since because of the small number of Western Gurung Christians and because there is no demand for it.


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

Prayer / Resource Links:
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-08-14
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-16
People Name General Gurung
People Name in Country Gurung
Population in Nepal 505,000
World Population 624,900
Total Countries 4
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 2  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 10
Alternate Names Birbangshi, Daduwa, Gurkhal, Gurum, Gurun, Kyi, Manang, Syangja, Tamu, Tamu Kyi, Western Gurung, गुरुंग
People ID 15366
ROP3 Code 110781
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 180,000 Western Gurung people live in the Kaski, Syangia and Parbat districts of the Gandaki Zone in central Nepal....Over the last 200 years the Gurung have migrated into surrounding nations. There is a community of Gurung living in the Samtsi District of south-west Bhutan, where they are commonly labeled Nepalis. In India, Gurung communities can be found in the hilly terrain of the South, West and East districts of the state of Sikkim, throughout the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, around the city of Dehra Dun and throughout the Pithoragarh District of Uttar Pradesh.   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States on file 14
Largest States
Gandaki
243,000
Bagmati
77,000
Narayani
43,000
Lumbini
37,000
Kosi
30,000
Mechi
25,000
Bheri
14,000
Dhaulagiri
10,000
Rapti
7,100
Sagarmatha
5,900
Janakpur
5,500
Karnali
2,700
Mahakali
2,600
Seti
1,800
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Nepal
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 25  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Approximately 180,000 Western Gurung people live in the Kaski, Syangia and Parbat districts of the Gandaki Zone in central Nepal....Over the last 200 years the Gurung have migrated into surrounding nations. There is a community of Gurung living in the Samtsi District of south-west Bhutan, where they are commonly labeled Nepalis. In India, Gurung communities can be found in the hilly terrain of the South, West and East districts of the state of Sikkim, throughout the Darjeeling District of West Bengal, around the city of Dehra Dun and throughout the Pithoragarh District of Uttar Pradesh..   Source:  Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004
Total States 14
  Gandaki 243,000
  Bagmati 77,000
  Narayani 43,000
  Lumbini 37,000
  Kosi 30,000
  Mechi 25,000
  Bheri 14,000
  Dhaulagiri 10,000
  Rapti 7,100
  Sagarmatha 5,900
  Janakpur 5,500
  Karnali 2,700
  Mahakali 2,600
  Seti 1,800
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Gurung (321,000 speakers)
Language Code gvr   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 27
Secondary Languages
(only 15 largest shown)
Nepali
181,000
Nyeshangte
3,700
Kham, Western Parbate
3,200
Bine
1,500
Tibetan, Central
1,500
Bantawa
1,300
Dotyali
1,100
Jumli
900
Bhujel
900
Hyolmo
500
Chamling
500
Lepcha
500
Sherpa
400
Kaike
400
Musasa
300
Primary Language Gurung (321,000 speakers)
Language Code gvr   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 27
Secondary Languages (only 15 largest shown)
  Nepali 181,000
  Nyeshangte 3,700
  Kham, Western Parbate 3,200
  Bine 1,500
  Tibetan, Central 1,500
  Bantawa 1,300
  Dotyali 1,100
  Jumli 900
  Bhujel 900
  Hyolmo 500
  Chamling 500
  Lepcha 500
  Sherpa 400
  Kaike 400
  Musasa 300
People Groups Speaking Gurung

Primary Language:  Gurung

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1972-2010)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1982)
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Gurung
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
79.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
5.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
14.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
2.00 %
Photo Source Timothy Two Project International 
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Peoples of the Buddhist World, Paul Hattaway  Copyrighted ©   Used with permission  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Nepal census data.  Current values may differ.


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