The history of the Rajput Garhwali goes back over a thousand years in the region of the western Himalayas. A Garhwali kingdom existed from about 1200 to 1815 AD. The Garhwali were the rulers and the army officers of the kingdom. The word Rajput means "son of a ruler." The Garhwali are placed in the second highest caste of Hinduism, the Kshatriyas.
At the beginning of the 19th century the Gurkhas and British invaded their land and the Garhwali kingdom was subjected to British rule.
The Garhwali still join the Indian Army in high numbers. A large number of Garhwali are active in the Indian film and television industry. Many of India's finest athletes are Garhwali. Wealthy Garhwali own big businesses while the less wealthy farm their land and serve in government careers.
The primary language of the Garhwali is their language of Garhwali. It has over two million speakers. Many young Garhwali speak Hindi and English and do not use their traditional tongue except with family.
Where Are they Located?
The majority of the Garhwali live in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. Others are scattered over north and central India especially the Nation Capital Region of Delhi.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Since India became an independent nation 1947, the Rajput Garhwali have had to find other types of employment besides being landowners and the military. They encourage higher education for their sons and daughters.
Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. Like other Rajputs, the Garhwali like to marry others in the same caste. Sons inherit property upon their father's death. Brahmin priests perform important life events like birth, weddings and funerals. Garhwali dead are cremated.
Some Garhwali are strict vegetarians and others eat meat except for beef.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Garhwali consider themselves to be devout Hindus. They practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon and give special devotion to Shiva, the destroyer god and his wife, Durga, the warrior-mother goddess. Uttarakhand is noted for its many beautiful and impressive Hindu temples. The Garhwali hope that through rituals and good works to obtain the gods' favor and attain moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberty.
The Garhwali participate in the yearly Hindu holidays such as Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festivals of lights and Navratri, the celebration of autumn.
What Are Their Needs?
The Rajput Garhwali need to hear the life-changing message of the Jesus Christ in a way they are understand. They must come to see that their Hindu faith or wealth will not give them the love and spiritual prosperity they desire. They need to be humble enough to confess their sins and seek God's Savior, Jesus Christ.
Pray that God opens the hearts of the Garhwali to the truth of the Word of God.
Pray the Lord leads Indian Christians to reach out and share God's good news with the Garhwali.
Pray that the Lord wins many Garhwali to Himself and that Bible believing churches are planted in the Garhwali community.
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