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Thakali in Nepal


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Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
13,000 Nepali Hinduism 4.41 % Unknown   

Thakali in Nepal

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The 1991 census in Nepal returned 13,731 members of the Thakali ethnic group, of which 7,113 (51.8%) were still able to speak the Thakali language. They primarily inhabit the Thak Sat Soe area in Thak Khola in the southern part of the Mustang District. Mustang is located within the Dhawalagiri Zone of north-central Nepal. Others have spread out into the 'Myagdi, Baglung, Parbat, Kaski, Gulmi, Syangja, Palpa and Rupendehi districts. The thirteen major Thakali villages are spread on the western bank of the Kali Gandaki Gorge through which flows the Kali River.' The Thakali region is spectacular, flanked by the massive Annapurna Himal and the Dhawalagiri Himal, with peaks rising to 8,090 metres (26,535 ft.).

The Nepal government acknowledges the Thakali as one of the 61 ethnic groups of their nation. They also officially acknowledge the Marphali, Thintan and Syangtan as separate groups, even though they 'resemble the Thakalis in every conceivable way '. There are four major clan divisions among the Thakali: namely Chhyoki, Salki, Dhimchen and Bhurki.

Thakali men traditionally obtain their brides by abducting a girl when she is gathering wood in the forest or fetching water from a stream. She is taken back to the boy's home for several days, after which notification is sent to the girl's parents, bidding them to agree to the marriage.

For centuries the Thakali dominated the salt trade of western and central Nepal, trading southward into India and northward into Tibet. This has made them one of the wealthiest groups in Nepal today. Although the Thakali language is part of the Tibeto-Burman family, they are making a 'conscious effort to dilute their Bhotia [Tibetan] connection. The trend is towards identification with Hindu castes or better-known ethnic groups. '

The present transition of the Thakali culture is also seen in their religion. 'Thak Khola is located in the zone where Tibetan cultural influences from the north come into contact with Hindu cultural influences from the south. Thus a mixture of native cultural elements and elements brought in and assimilated from the outside can be witnessed. This syncretism is above all reflected in religion, which is here a combination of animistic, pre-Buddhistic elements joined with Buddhist and Hindu ones. Adherents of Catholicism are now found among the migrated Thakalis and some Thakalis in Kathmandu call themselves atheists.' One source notes, unflatteringly: 'Even the once proud tradition of becoming Buddhist monks is more or less extinct today, and only those old monks and nuns are upholding the traditional religion and beliefs, while the others consider these as the skeleton in their cupboards and wait for the death of these old monks and nuns so that once and for all they can bury the past. '

Although the Thakali have been coming under many influences in recent years, Christianity has not been one of them. 'This group is still almost completely unreached with the gospel. A few have heard of and even accepted Christ, but there is still no Thakali speaking church and no Bible in their language. '

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Country: Nepal
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
Persecution Rank:48 (Only top 50 ranked, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:13,000
Largest Provinces:
Bagmati (3,500)Dhaulagiri (3,000)
Gandaki (2,700)Lumbini (1,700)
Narayani (500)Rapti (400)
Seti (300)Karnali (300)
Kosi (200)Janakpur (200)
Location in Country:They primarily inhabit the Thak sat Soe area in Thak Khola in the southern part of the Mustang District. Others have spread out into the Myagdi, Bablung, Parbat, Kaski, Gulmi, Syangja, Palpa and Rupendehi districts. The 13 major Thakali villages are spread on the western bank of the Kali Gandaki Gorge.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
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Country Map:Political map
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Thakali
People Name General: Thakali
Alternate People Names:
ROP3 Code: 113764
Joshua Project People ID: 18235
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 13,000
Population all Countries: 15,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
People Name General: Thakali
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Nepali (7,500 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): npi    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Thakali (4,200)Dotyali (40)
Lhowa (20)
Total Languages: 4
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism46.75 % 
Christianity4.41 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism48.83 % 
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 1   Less than 2% Evangelical. Some evangelical resources available, but no active church planting within past 2 years
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1850-1961
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1914-2012
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 RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus video
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Nepali
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoNew Way (Naya Goreto)
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoThe Hope Video
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralGospel resources links
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Text / Printed MatterBible: Comic Book Version
Text / Printed MatterBible: Nepali
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterJesus Messiah comic book
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Nepali
Text / Printed MatterThe Ancient Path
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Thakali in Nepal

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Hindu - other     Asia, South    
      Thakali Nepal    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Thakali in Nepal          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Nepali  
    All Religions                              

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