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Kurtokha in Bhutan


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Kurtokha in Bhutan map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
2,100 Kurtokha Buddhism 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Kurtokha in Bhutan

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The Kurtop people inhabit areas of northern Bhutan, as far north as the border with China. Lhuntse District is home to the Kurtop. One scholar has given a detailed description of the extent of the Kurtop territory: 'Kurtop is a language of Lhuntse District spoken to the west of the mighty Kurichu [River] all the way to the Tibetan border in the north. The language is known to its speakers by the names Kurtötkha and Kurtöbi Zhakê.

At the southern end, the Kurtop speaking area begins at the village of Tangmachu, south of which Chocangacakha [Matpa] is spoken. The dialect of Tangmachu, located about 5 kilometres [three miles] south of Lhuntse, as the crow flies, differs somewhat from that of the rest of the language as it is spoken elsewhere in Kurto. The Kurichu River separates the Kurto and the Dzala language areas in the east. In the west the Bumthang area begins as one crosses the mountains via the Rodungla.'

Lhuntse District is extremely isolated. As recently as 1998 one book noted, 'It is very rural and there are fewer than five vehicles, including the ambulance, and not a single petrol station in the whole district. Formerly known as Kurtoe, the region is the ancestral home of Bhutan's royal family. Though geographically in the east, it was culturally identified with central Bhutan, and the high route over Rodang La was a major trade route until the road to Mongar was completed.' Regarding the actual township of Lhuntse, it has been reported, 'There is little to see and do here, but the dzong (fort-monastery) is one of the most picturesque in Bhutan.

There are a few food shops and food stalls along the road as it enters the town.' Lhuntse is famous in Bhutan for its weaving, embroidery and basket-making. There is no large-scale industry here, but many families earn their livelihood by weaving in their homes.

A two-day walk from Lhuntse up the Kurichu River is the Kurtop village of Dungkhar. Bhutan's royal family, the Wangchuks, trace their ancestry from here. Jigme Namgyal, the father of the first king, was born here in 1825. This fact, understandably, is a cause of great pride among the people in this remote outpost.

Although many Westerners seem to believe the myth that the Buddhist peoples of the world live in perfect peace and harmony with one another, this part of Bhutan has witnessed much death and mayhem during repeated Tibetan invasions. The fifth Dalai Lama 'became jealous of the growing influence of the rival Drukpas on his southern border and mounted further invasions into Bhutan in 1648 and 1649. They were repelled, and the Bhutanese captured large amounts of armor, weapons and other spoils.'

Tibetan Buddhism dominates the lives of all people in this part of Bhutan. It is considered a great honour for a family to send its sons to the monastery for a time.

The name of Jesus Christ has rarely been heard in the remote Lhuntse valleys, and there are no known Christians among the Kurtop people.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2013-11-24
Global Prayer Digest: 2018-08-11
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Country: Bhutan
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:45 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:2,100
Largest Provinces:
Eastern (2,100)Western (20)
Location in Country:More than 10,000 Kurtop people inhabit areas of northern Bhutan, as far north as the border with China. Lhuntse District is home to the Kurtop.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Kurtokha
People Name General: Kurtokha
Alternate People Names:
KurthopkhaKurtobi Zhake
ROP3 Code: 105463
Joshua Project People ID: 12878
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 2,100
Population all Countries: 2,100
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
People Name General: Kurtokha
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Kurtokha (2,100 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): xkz    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism100.00 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.00 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
GSEC Status:Level 2   Less than 2% Evangelical. Initial (localized) church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: Help start a Bible Translation
New Testament: None Reported
Complete Bible: None Reported
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching (GRN)
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Kurtokha in Bhutan

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Buddhist     Asia, South    
      Kurtokha Bhutan    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Kurtokha in Bhutan          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Kurtokha  
    All Religions                              

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