Mahanta in Bangladesh

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Mahanta people live in northeast India and Bangladesh. A mahant is a religious leader who is a chief priest or the head of a monastery. He can be the keeper or guardian for a holy site for either Hindus or Sikhs. The Mahanta are members of the Kshatriya caste, the second highest caste group of Hinduism. The Kshatriya claim to be descendants of rulers, large landowners and military officers.

Where Are they Located?

Most of the Mahanta people live in the Indian states of West Bengal, Odisha or Jharkhand. The Bangladeshi Mahanta live in the states of Chittagong, Dhaka and Rajshahi.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Today there is a great variety in the occupations of the Mahanta. Those who are educated serve as physicians, politicians, government administrators, business persons and entertainers. Less educated Mahantas labor in the fields and work in factories. The primary languages of the Mahanta are Odia and Bengali. Educated Mahantas also speak Hindi and English.

The Mahantas marry within their caste. Elders arrange marriages. The bride often goes to live with the groom's family when she reaches puberty. Child marriages are becoming less common than they were in the past. Monogamy, marriage to one spouse, is the rule. Sons inherit property with the eldest son receiving the father's title and home. Caste councils consisting of elders settle legal disputes and promote their interests. Some better-educated Mahantas live in large cities while many others live in rural villages.

The Mahantas are not vegetarians but as Hindus will not eat beef. Rice, wheat, vegetables, fruit and dairy products are their main foods. Social use of alcohol is forbidden by their customs but many Mahanta drink to excess.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Mahantas practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. They pay particular allegiance to Shiva, Durga, Hanuman and Vishnu. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Mahantas visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.

The main yearly holidays of the Mahanta people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn, and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.

What Are Their Needs?

Mahantas need to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a way they can understand. Different methods of sharing the gospel will have to be used depending upon the education level of the Mahanta person. Rural Mahanta would benefit by learning new job skills and in applying modern methods of agriculture to their farms.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Mahanta in Bangladesh.

Pray for a movement of Mahanta households to study the Bible and accept the blessings of Christ.

Pray for the Mahanta people to understand and embrace Jesus who wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.

Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Mahanta family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.

Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Mahanta communities.


Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

People Name General Mahanta
People Name in Country Mahanta
World Population 92,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Baba, Gosain, Goswami, Mahanty, Mahat, Mahatar, Mahato, Mahto, महानता
People ID 17408
ROP3 Code 112808
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 3
Largest States
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Bangladesh
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 48  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 3
  Chittagong 300
  Dhaka 200
  Rajshahi 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Bengali (700 speakers)
Language Code ben   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Bengali (700 speakers)
Language Code ben   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Bengali

Primary Language:  Bengali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1800-1980)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1801-1984)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1809-2000)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Bangla Version (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament - Mussolmani Version (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online New Testament- Common Version (FCBH)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible stories in Bengali
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Love Story
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Bengali
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Rivka (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
Film / Video The Savior 3 - Woman at the Well
Film / Video The Savior 8 - Jesus is Risen
General Bible Visuals
General Four Spiritual Laws
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Photo Source Gerald Roberts 
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Keith Carey  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more
* Religion Values From latest Bangladesh census data.  Current values may differ.