Tawang Monpa in Bhutan

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

Introduction / History

The Tawang Monpa are named after their town, which in turn is named after the Tawang Monastery located there. This group, call themselves Brahmi Monpa, while their language is called Monkit.

The Tawang Monpa are different from other Monpa groups in terms of both language and culture. Despite these differences, most researchers presume that the various groups who call themselves 'Monpa' must all be the same. This is far from true, as the generic term 'Monpa' is used to designate people living in the lower areas of the Himalayas, rather than to indicate a cohesive ethnolinguistic or historic group.

Where Are they Located?

Most of the Tawang Monpa live in northeastern India, but a small number have migrated to Bhutan, where they live among other Buddhist peoples.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The diet of the Tawang Monpa is varied. They eat and drink pulses, fish, meat, vegetables and bung chung (local beer brewed from maize, rice, millet, wheat or buckwheat). They consume milk products like churpi, ghee and butter. They eat beef, pork, mutton and the meat of fowl and yak. They also eat venison and the flesh of wild boar. The fruits consumed are oranges, peaches, pomegranates, apples and sugarcane.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The 1981 census returned 99.94 per cent of Tawang Monpa as Buddhists. Tawang is the spiritual center of the area and home to several important monasteries, including the Tawang Monastery, where many festivities and traditional dances are held every year. Other important Buddhist landmarks include the 460-year-old Urgelling Monastery, which was the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama; the Rigyalling Monastery; and the more distant Taktsang Monastery. Together these institutions house more than 1,000 monks, 700 of which reside at Tawang Monastery alone.

In the past few years a few Tawang Monpa individuals in India, mostly young people, have believed in Jesus Christ. They immediately faced strong pressure from their families and communities to renounce their new faith. Some did, but others counted the cost and continue to follow Christ as Lord. The Christians who brought the gospel to Tawang have been persecuted.

What Are Their Needs?

The Tawang Monpa people need to know that they can find eternal refuge in Jesus Christ and in God the Father. They do not need to rely on spirits which come to kill, steal and destroy.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Monpa Tawang in Bhutan.

* Pray that the few Twant Monpa people who have put their faith in Jesus will be salt and light to their neighbors and family members who remain Buddhist.
* Pray that the Lord will reveal himself to them through dreams, visions, and through Christian materials like the JESUS Film and gospel recordings.
* Pray for a powerful disciple making movement to spread through their communities in Bhutan and in India.



Profile Source:   Keith Carey  

People Name General Monpa Tawang
People Name in Country Monpa Tawang
Natural Name Tawang Monpa
Population this Country 500
Population all Countries 53,000
Total Countries 3
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Awang; Monba; Monkit; Tawan; Tsangla Monpa; मोनपा, तवांग
People ID 19197
ROP3 Code 113801
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 43  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 43  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States 1
  Eastern 500
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Brokpake (500 speakers)
Language Code sgt   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Unknown
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Brokpake (500 speakers)
Language Code sgt   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Brokpake

Primary Language:  Brokpake

Bible Translation Status:  Unspecified

Resource Type Resource Name
None reported  
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.
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2021  Peoples of the Buddhist World, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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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