Ambalavasi in Sri Lanka

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* From latest Sri Lanka census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

It is estimated that the first inhabitants arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., from northern India. Buddhism was introduced circa 250 B.C. In the 14th century, a south Indian dynasty established a Tamil kingdom in northern Sri Lanka. The Portuguese controlled the coastal areas of the island in the 16th century and the Dutch in the 17th century. The island was united under British rule by 1815. It became independent in 1948 with the name of Ceylon; its name was changed to Sri Lanka in 1972.

Though there are two major ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, there are smaller ones as well. The Hindu Ambalavsi people are one of the smaller ethnic groups of Sri Lanka.

Where Are they Located?

Sri Lanka is an island country lying in the Indian Ocean, not far from southern India. The Ambalavasi people live in southern India as well as Sri Lanka.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Ambalavasi people live in rural areas. They grow tea, sugar, cinnamon, and rubber as sources of income. Often they supplement their income by producing textiles. Many who are city dwellers work in tourism. The Ambalavasi people primarily speak, read and write in Malayalam. There are many believers who speak this language in southern India. Many Christian resources are available in Malayalam, including the complete Bible, audio Bible, and the JESUS Film.

The Agamudaiyan people favor cross-cousin marriages, and they avoid marrying individuals outside of their ethnic group. Upon the death of the father, property goes to the sons, the oldest son being in charge of the estate. Unlike many Hindu groups they bury their dead rather than cremate them. They have traditional caste councils that settle disputes.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Ambalavasi people are 100 percent Hindu. Many Sri Lankans view Christianity as foreign and evangelism as unethical. Information regarding the specific Hindu practices of the Ambalavasi people are not unavailable. In general, Hindus are pragmatic in their spiritual beliefs, offering worship to gods in exchange for benefits rather than out of love or devotion.

What Are Their Needs?

Ambalavasi people who leave Sri Lanka to work abroad are subjected to hardships and abuses. Many women endure the risk to send money home. Their absence is very difficult on the children they leave behind. They need the opportunity to earn a good living in Sri Lanka.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Ambalavasi in Sri Lanka.

* Pray that the hardships suffered by Ambalavasi people in Sri Lanka will give them the willingness to seek and find Jesus as their savior and Lord.
* Pray against powers and principalities that heavily influence the very religious Ambalavasi culture.
* Pray for a mighty disciple making movement among the Ambalavasi people in Sri Lanka.


Profiles written by Karen Hightower of Global Prayer Digest in-Sri- Lanka/

Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-09-29
People Name General Ambalavasi
People Name in Country Ambalavasi
Pronunciation ahm-bah-lah-WAH-see
Population this Country 16,000
Population all Countries 175,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 2
Unreached No
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed
Alternate Names Adikal; Ahambadian; Ambalagar; Ambalakar; Ambalakaram; Ambalakarar; Ambalakarma; Cholanaickan; Kambalattan; Madi; Maravan; Muthurasa; Naidu; Naiker; Poduval; Sembanattu; Serviar; Terkittiyar; Thottia Naicks; Thottia Nayak; Thottiyan; Valayargal; Vallambar; अंबालवासी
People ID 16207
ROP3 Code 111316
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States on file 5
Largest States
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States 5
  Uva 5,800
  Central 5,100
  Eastern 3,200
  Sabaragamuwa 1,000
  Western 900
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Tamil (16,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tamil (16,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tamil

Primary Language:  Tamil

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1714-1956)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1715-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1727-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)
Audio Recordings Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Finding Peace
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Comprehensive list of Tamil Resources
General Gospel resources links (Scripture Earth)
General Gospel website in this language
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
14.98 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
85.02 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest Sri Lanka census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Thekkemadomveekay - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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