Hill Pulayan in India

The Hill Pulayan have only been reported in India
Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Subgroups: 2

Subgroup Name Population
Karavazhi 400
Kurumba 200

Expanded PDF Profile

Introduction / History

The Hill Pulayan is a tribal people who have lived in south India for over 6000 years. Their name means one who tills the soil. When the Dravidians arrived four thousand years ago, they blended with the Pulayan to become one people. The Aryans conquered the land in the 9th century AD.

Over the years, the Pulayan were deprived of their land and became virtual slaves to the upper castes. The British outlawed slavery in 1855 but this did little to improve the economic or social conditions of the Pulayan. As late as 1900, the Pulayans were not able to attend government schools or enter Hindu temples.

The Pulayan are a Scheduled Caste, meaning they are eligible for special preference in public jobs and university positions. Most Pulayan work as laborers in rice paddies on land they do not own. They also raise goats and collect forest products. Both men and women chew betel, a nut that colors the teeth a distinctive black.

Unfortunately, they are still denied the use of public wells in many areas of south India. Most Pulayan cannot read of write. The main language of the Pulayan is Tamil.

Where Are they Located?

The Hill Pulayan live in Tamil Nadu. A smaller group lives in Kerala.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The lives of the Hill Pulayan are very challenging even in modern India. The caste system operates in rural areas where the Pulayan reside. The Pulayan suffer from discrimination from the Hindu caste members. They are seen as having low status and that everything Pulayan touch is unclean. The Indian government is taking actions against this discrimination but traditions of hundreds of years change slowly in the Indian countryside.

The Pulayans live in mud huts in the forest away from Indian villages. Most do not have electricity, access to clean water or indoors plumbing.

The Pulayans marry within their group. They have their own priests for life ceremonies. They had their own groves and shrines for worship.

The Pulayan are not vegetarians and their main foods are rice, lentils and vegetables. Meat is a luxury only for holidays or feasts.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Hill Pulayan practice Hinduism, strongly influenced by folk religion. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon, especially Shiva, the destroyer god and Kali, the goddess of death and sexuality. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Pulayan visit their shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. They believe they must appease evil spirits and their ancestors.

The main yearly holidays of the Hill Pulayan people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.

What Are Their Needs?

The Pulayan have many pressing needs. They need most of all to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ who can free them from their sins. The Hill Pulayan need help in educating their children, training in job skills and in gaining access to clean water.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Hill Pulayan in India.

* Pray the Lord sends Christians workers to help the Pulayan see the love and mercy of Christ in action.
* Pray that God opens the heart of Hill Pulayan families to respond the good news about Christ.
* Pray the Pulayan people will understand that Jesus desires to bless Pulayan families and communities, not harm them.
* Pray that the small number of Pulayan Christians might be trained to share the gospel with their brothers and sisters.



Profile Source:   David Kugel  
Expanded PDF Profile

People Name General Hill Pulayan
People Name in Country Hill Pulayan
Population this Country 102,000
Population all Countries 102,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 5  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
Alternate Names Mala Pulayan; हिल पुलयन
People ID 16950
ROP3 Code 112253
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 3
Largest States
Tamil Nadu
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country India
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 10  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 3
  Tamil Nadu 98,000
  Kerala 3,000
  Delhi 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Tamil (89,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
Primary Language Tamil (89,000 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 3
Secondary Languages
  Paliyan 12,000
  Malayalam 1,000
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 Indigitube.tv 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)
0.47 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
99.49 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.04 %
* From latest India census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source Anonymous 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source David Kugel  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more


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