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Sherpa in Bhutan


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Sherpa in Bhutan map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
9,800 Sherpa Buddhism 0.00 % 0.00 %   

Sherpa in Bhutan

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The Sherpa, despite being a relatively small group, are one of the most well-known peoples of Asia. The Sherpa inhabit both sides of the Himalayan Range. The majority live in India, where more than 45,000 live primarily in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and in the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

More than 100,000 Sherpa live in Nepal, especially in the Solu Khumbu District and around the famous town of Namche Bazaar. An additional 10,000 live in Bhutan. In Tibet, the exact Sherpa population is uncertain. Various publications have listed 'a mere 400 ', '800 speakers in China' and 'no more than 1,000 '. The Sherpa in Tibet inhabit parts of Dinggye, Tingri and Zhangmu counties. Tingri County is directly on the road from Kathmandu to Lhasa, a route frequented by many tour groups during the summer months. Small numbers of Sherpa have dispersed to South Korea and the USA in recent years. These numbers do not include the Helambu Sherpa, who speak a different language. The Helambu Sherpa have been profiled separately in this book.

The name Sherpa means 'eastern people '. It is believed that all Sherpa once lived in Tibet before their descendants migrated west in the 15th century. 'At that time, a Mongol King attempted to force them to convert to his sect of Buddhism. The people fled to the Khumbu region.' A Chinese account states, 'They believe themselves to be descendants of Tibetans from the Kham region in Sichuan Province. Many, many years ago, their ancestors, returning from a pilgrimage to Buddhist temples in India and Nepal, settled down here.' The Sherpa are distinguishable from Tibetans 'in part because their faces are smaller and they wear a colourful apron on their backside rather than the front '.

Because the Sherpa language is related to Tibetan, most can communicate in a simple form of Tibetan. Few of the 20,000 Sherpa in the Darjeeling area of India are still able to speak Sherpa.

For many, the name Sherpa is inextricably linked to the mystique of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on earth. The first men to climb Mount Everest were New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. Numerous Sherpa guides have since led foreign climbing teams up the world's highest peak.

The Sherpa are Tibetan Buddhists, although 'with far less piety than the Tibetans. To have a Buddhist statue and to recite or chant scriptures is all they do by way of religious practice.' The Gyawa festival takes place 49 days after the death of a loved one. The Sherpa eat as much food as they can during the festival, believing that the food will nourish the loved one who has died.

In 1985, a Sherpa boy in Nepal had a vision in which Jesus visited him. The boy's conversion was followed by the gradual conversion of his extended family and several families in his village. The boy later went to Bible school and returned to pastor the local church in his village. There are reported to be at least a few dozen Christian Sherpas around the Mt Everest region in Nepal.

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Country: Bhutan
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:40 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:9,800
Largest Provinces:
Western (9,100)Central (400)
Southern (300)
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Country Map:Political map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Sherpa
People Name General: Sherpa
Alternate People Names:
Sharpa BhotiaSherdukpen
ROP3 Code: 108938
Joshua Project People ID: 14906
Indigenous: No
Population in Country: 9,800
Population all Countries: 186,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
People Name General: Sherpa
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Sherpa
Language Code (ISO): xsr    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Nepali (Unknown)
Total Languages: 2
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism95.98 % 
Christianity0.00 %(Evangelical: 0.00 %)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism4.02 % 
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 4   Greater than or equal to 2% Evangelical
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1975-2008
New Testament:
Complete Bible: None Reported
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Sherpa
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralGospel resources links
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Text / Printed MatterBible: Sherpa
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Sherpa in Bhutan

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

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