Khampa Tibetan in Bhutan

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

The exact origins of the Tibetans are unclear. Tibetans have many subgroups, with their own language and homeland. But there are only two main branches: the Amdo and the Khampa. The Khampa have a fearsome reputation as the most hostile and violent of the various Tibetan subgroups. People know them as excellent marksmen.

Khampa Tibetans have a long history of conflict with the Chinese, who annexed most of Kham Province to Sichuan in 1720. No Chinese dared to enter the territory for fear of being killed. The issue came to a head in the 1950s when Communist China was solidifying their hold on Tibet, and there was massive carnage at the hands of the Red Army. Though most Khampas remained till the bitter end, some fled either to Bhutan or northeastern India where they have set up new homes. Most of the Khampa Tibetans live in Tibet, but they have smaller populations in Northeastern India and Bhutan.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Khampa Tibetans in Bhutan are semi nomadic, constantly moving their herds of yaks, cattle, goats, and sheep to new pastures. The economy rests on growing grain and cattle production. Their principal crop is barley. Farmers plow with the aid of the native yak or the dzo (a cross between a cow and a yak). They make butter from these animal's milk. The butter is then mixed with ground barley in tea to make a dish called tsampa, a staple food for Tibetans.

Sexual immorality among the Khampa is normal.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Khampa Tibetans adhere to Tibetan Buddhism, also known as Tantric Buddhism. Their religion is the lifeblood of the Khampa Tibetan people. Tantric Buddhism is Buddhism blended with bon, a mixture of magic, divination, demon worship, and sacrifices.

Tantric Buddhism involves visualization. The tantric master gives each student a deity to visualize. These deities are usually wrathful spirits. Their goal is to help the student achieve "liberation." He must learn to become what he sees in these visions.

What Are Their Needs?

Khampa Tibetans in Bhutan need the chance to find true liberation: liberation from sin and spiritual death. They are at the mercy of spirits that come to kill, steal and destroy.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will send culturally sensitive missionaries who will show them the way to the cross.

Pray for a Christ-ward movement to flourish among this people group in the 2020s.

Pray for the Khampa Tibetan to be blessed with peace, joy and spiritual prosperity as they follow Jesus Christ.

Pray for their leaders to have dreams and visions that will open their hearts to Jesus Christ and his ambassadors.

Scripture Prayers for the Khampa Tibetan in Bhutan.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

The Khampa Nomads

Source:  Asia Harvest      Download

People Name General Khampa Eastern
People Name in Country Khampa Tibetan
Pronunciation Kum-ba ti-BEH-ten
Alternate Names Kam; Kang; Kham; Khamba; Khampas; Khams; Khams Bhotia; Khams-Bhotia; Khams-Yal; Konka; Konkaling; खमपा, ईस्टर्न
Population this Country 1,700
Population all Countries 1,600,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 18522
ROP3 Code 114136
ROP25 Code 303929
ROP25 Name Khampa
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 36  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file 2
Largest States
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 36  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 2
  Eastern 1,700
  Western 20
Website South Asia Peoples
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 %
* From latest Bhutan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Khamba (1,700 speakers)
Language Code kbg   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Khamba (1,700 speakers)
Language Code kbg   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Khamba

Primary Language:  Khamba

Bible Translation Status:  Translation Started

Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Photo Source Dawa Drolma - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Video Source Asia Harvest
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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