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Sherpa in India

Sherpa

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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
39,000 Nepali Buddhism 16.05 % Unknown   

Sherpa in India

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Introduction / History
The Sherpa are a Himalayan people living primarily in eastern Nepal. A few, however, live in the mountains of the bordering Indian state of Sikkim and in the larger hill towns of the state of West Bengal. The Sherpa language is a dialect of Tibetan, thus it is a part of the Tibeto-Burman language family. Sherpa has no writing system, but many Sherpa are literate in Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi, or English.

The Sherpa are descendants of a small group of Tibetan families who emigrated from the Khams region of Tibet under the leadership of a great lama, or Tibetan Buddhist monk. They gained worldwide attention in 1953, when a Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay, became one of the first two people to scale Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. Since then, they have won fame as porters in the high Himalayas. Tourism and mountaineering have become their major industries, dominating the Sherpa economy.

What are their lives like?
Other than tourism, the most important industry for the Sherpa is farming. Since its introduction to the region in the nineteenth century, the Irish potato has become the staple crop, with barley, wheat, and corn also being grown. Various vegetables are grown in home gardens, including radishes the size of turnips and cucumbers the size of watermelons. All farming is done using animals and hand implements, and plowing is accomplished with a single-bladed plow pulled by oxen. Since the Sherpa are Buddhists and generally do not eat meat, livestock is not used for consumption, but for dairy products. Many herdsmen have large amounts of extra butter and trade it for food and various commodities. Imported tea mixed with butter and salt is a popular drink, along with a local beer, chang.

Trade is another important source of income for the Sherpa. Men frequently go off on trading expeditions for several months at a time, leaving the women at home to supervise the household.

Sherpa marriages are exogamous (marry outside the immediate and brother clans). Weddings were traditionally arranged by the families of the young people involved, but today that tradition is beginning to change. Marriage is a long process involving many stages of betrothal and gift exchange. Divorce is very frequent, occurring in nearly one-third of all marriages. Fathers treat their children well, but due to their frequent trading trips, they are often gone from home for long periods. As a result, child rearing is carried out mainly by the mother and older sisters.

The major Sherpa celebrations include Dumje, a spring first-fruits festival, and Cham, a monastic masked dancing ritual that is held in the fall or winter. Smaller celebrations include village exorcisms and cleansing rites that often parallel life cycle events such as birth, death, and initiation into adulthood.

What are their beliefs?
The great majority of the Sherpa follow the Tibetan Buddhist religion, which is an offshoot of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism. Followers of Buddhism embrace the doctrine of reincarnation, or the belief that after death, a soul is reborn into another body. The Sherpa believe that souls are reincarnated innumerable times until they are able to transcend this world and enter a state of bliss called nirvana. However, in order to enter nirvana, a person is required to conquer his own worldly desires and habits-a goal that is attained by observing Buddhist commands. Tibetan Buddhism shares basic beliefs with mainstream Buddhism; however, it also contains many non-Buddhist elements, such as the belief in many gods, demons, and spirits who influence human lives.

In the twentieth century, many Sherpa men have become Buddhist monks, or lamas, a practice that was imported from Tibet. These lamas live celibate lives in cloistered lamaseries (Tibetan-Buddhist monasteries), isolated from ordinary life.

What are their needs?
Like the majority of people in India, the Sherpa live difficult lives. Their physical needs are numerous. However, their spiritual needs far outweigh their physical ones. Very few are Christians.

Prayer Points
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers to live and work among the Sherpa.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the spiritual soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the small number of Sherpa Christians.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to complete the work begun in the hearts of the Sherpa believers through adequate discipleship.

View Sherpa in all countries.

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Country: India
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:10 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:39,000
Largest States:
West Bengal (27,000)Sikkim (7,100)
Assam (2,800)Himachal Pradesh (800)
Arunachal Pradesh (200)Manipur (200)
Meghalaya (100)Uttarakhand (80)
Uttar Pradesh (70)Tripura (50)
Total States on file:18
Location in Country:They inhabit both sides of the Himalayan Range. The majority live in India, primarily in the Darjeeling District of West Bengal and in the states of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Quite a number live in Nepal, especially in the Solu Khumbu District and around the town of Namche Bazaar. A relative few live in Bhutan, while a very few inhabit Tibet, in Dinggye, Tingri and Zhangmu counties.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
   
 
Maps
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
 
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Sherpa
People Name General: Sherpa
Alternate People Names:
BhotiaDrukpa
KhambuwanManang
SerwaSharpa
Sharpa BhotiaSherdukpen
SoluSolu-Khambuwan
TotoXiaerba
XiarbaYelmo
शेरपा
ROP3 Code: 108938
Joshua Project People ID: 14906
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 39,000
Population all Countries: 153,000
Least-Reached: No
   
 
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
People Name General: Sherpa
Ethnic Code: MSY50q
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
   
 
Language
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Primary Language: Nepali (26,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): npi    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Sherpa (12,000)Bengali (300)
Toto (50)
Total Languages: 4
   
 
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism65.27 % 
Christianity16.05 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism18.58 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.09 % 
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]   Evangelicals have only a very small representation among all who claim to be Christians.
Least-Reached: No
GSEC Status:Level 3   Less than 2% Evangelical. Widespread church planting within past 2 years
 
 
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1850-1961
New Testament:
1821-2010Audio
Complete Bible: 1914-2004
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 (GRN)
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament (FCBH)
Audio RecordingsOnline Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project ...
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / VideoGod's Story Video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Nepali
Film / VideoMagdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / VideoMy Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / VideoNew Way (Naya Goreto)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
Film / VideoUntil We Met
GeneralGot Questions Ministry
Text / Printed MatterBible: नेपाली - Nepali
Text / Printed MatterBibles, Bible League
Text / Printed MatterEasyBibles
Text / Printed MatterInternational Bible Society
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterOneHope resources for children and youth
Text / Printed MatterWorld Missionary Press Booklets
 
 
Ministry Activity
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Description: Register your ministry activity among this people group. Contact the Adopt-A-People Clearinghouse and Unleashed for the Unreached to learn about others that might be focused on this people group.
 
Data Notes
Data Sources
 
 

Sherpa in India

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      Sherpa India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
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Direct link:  http://legacy.joshuaproject.net/people-profile.php?peo3=14906&rog3=IN