Changpa in Pakistan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge


Primarily located along the southern border area between Tibet and the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, more than 5,000 Champa people live east and south-east of the city of Leh. One of the alternative names for the Champa is Changtang. The Nghari Tibetans in China are also called Changtang Tibetans, after the massive plain of the same name. More research needs to be done to determine if the Champa people of India are the same (having common origins and speaking the same language) as the Nghari Tibetans of China. The area inhabited by the Champa in Jammu and Kashmir is extremely cold. Living at an average altitude of 4,000 to 5,000 metres (13,000 to 16,000 ft.) above sea level, the Champa's homeland is ravaged by snowstorms during the long winter months.


In 1989 the Champa were granted official status in India as a Scheduled Tribe. Before then they were considered a sub-group of the Ladakhi, but their customs, language and ethnicity are different from those of the Ladakhi. They are also distinct from the Zangskari people, with whom the Champa barter to obtain grain. The Champa come down to trade at the Changthang Nyoma market, where they have also sent some of their children to be educated in Tibetan schools. The diet of the Champa people consists of 'barley (tsampa) and the meat of yak and wild horses. Dried cheese and meat boiled with barley flour and seasoned with chilies are also eaten.'

The Champa language is closely related to Ladakhi, and most Champa have no problem understanding Ladakhi when they travel outside their remote valleys for trade. Most Champa people are pastoralists. They raise sheep and goats, and they are particularly noted for the cashmere wool they produce. The Champa can be identified by their conical yak-skin tents called reboo. The Champa who live nomadic lives are known as Phalpa, while those who have settled down in fixed locations are called Fangpa. The ruling aristocracy is known as the Nono.


All Champa families profess Tibetan Buddhism as their religion. It 'occupies a central place in their culture. Each tent invariably accommodates the family deity, Donaq, and a picture of their spiritual head, the Dalai Lama. The family deity is worshipped on the fifteenth day of the seventh Buddhist month. The Bon heritage is quite conspicuous in the Champa religion despite the efforts of the Buddhists to erase it.' Another source states, 'Buddhism rests quite lightly on them, as they have more faith in their traditional beliefs and practices. In this form of primitive religion, a carryover from the early bon religion, the lha (spirits) and lhu (serpents) are considered very important. The world of lhas and lhus is believed to be complex and fearful. For every unwelcome event, be it harsh weather, or death, one of the lhas or lhus is responsible. The supreme lha is known as Changmen, who is believed to control about 360 lhas in the Changthang area.'


The Champa could surely be ranked among the most unreached people groups in the world. Because of their remarkably isolated existence, very few have ever been exposed to the gospel, which has failed to penetrate this remote part of the world.

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

People Name General Changpa
People Name in Country Changpa
Population in Pakistan 200
World Population 2,900
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Byangskat, Cangpa, Cham, Champa Lakadhi, Champa Lakakhi, Changs-skat, Changtang, Changthang, Fangpa, Phalpa, Rong, Rupshu, Stotpa, Thangtang Lakakhi, चंगपा
People ID 17870
ROP3 Code 113346
Country Pakistan
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 5  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Pakistan
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank 5  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 1
  Gilgit-Baltistan 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Balti (200 speakers)
Language Code bft   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Other People Groups Speaking Balti
Primary Language Balti (200 speakers)
Language Code bft   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Balti

Primary Language:  Balti

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1903-1940)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon National Bible Societies
Forum of Bible Agencies World Bible Finder
Gospel Go World Bibles
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (GRN)
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Balti
Film / Video The Hope Video
Text / Printed Matter Online Bible (Bibles India)
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
100.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Photo Source Anonymous 
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 Pakistan census data.  Current values may differ.

Copyright © 2018 Joshua Project.  A ministry of Frontier Ventures.