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Monpa Tawang in India

Monpa Tawang

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Map source: Omid / Joshua Project
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
7,100 Monpa, Tawang Buddhism 0.39 % Unknown No No   

Monpa Tawang in India

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Approximately 8,000 members of the Tawang Monpa tribe live in the secluded and mysterious state of Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India. They are one of the largest Monpa groups in India and, due to their proximity to the large town of Tawang, one of the most influential. Tawang is strategically located a short distance from the meeting of the borders of the three nations of India, China and Bhutan. Many major festivals and Buddhist ceremonies are held in Tawang, and visitors come from all parts of the state to participate.

In recent years Arunachal Pradesh has opened to foreign tourism, and visitors from all around the world come to Tawang, though only in small numbers at the present time. One local tourist brochure proclaims, 'Moored high up in the mountain ranges of the Himalayas, at 3,500 metres [11,500 feet] above sea level is Tawang—the beautiful land of the Monpas. With sobriquets like "The Hidden Paradise" or "Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains", this land evokes images of awesome mountain views, remote hamlets, quaint and sleepy villages, magical gompas, tranquil lakes and a lot more.'

The Tawang Monpa are named after their town, which in turn is named after the Tawang Monastery located there. This group, which has been granted status as a Scheduled Tribe in India, call themselves Brahmi Monpa, while their language is called Monkit. The Tawang Monpa are different from other Monpa groups in terms of both language and culture. Despite these differences, most researchers lazily presume that the various groups who call themselves 'Monpa' must all be the same. This is far from true, as the generic term 'Monpa' is used to designate people living in the lower areas of the Himalayas, rather than to indicate a cohesive ethnolinguistic or historic group.

The diet of the Tawang Monpa is varied. They eat and drink 'pulses, fish, meat, vegetables and bung chung (local beer brewed from maize, rice, millet, wheat or buckwheat). They consume milk products like churpi, ghee and butter. They eat beef, pork, mutton and the meat of fowl and yak. They also eat venison and the flesh of wild boar. The fruits consumed are oranges, peaches, pomegranates, apples and sugarcane.'

The 1981 census returned 99.94 per cent of Tawang Monpa as Buddhists, as well as four individuals who claimed to be Hindu. Tawang is the spiritual centre of the area and home to several important monasteries, including the Tawang Monastery, where many festivities and traditional dances are held every year. Other important Buddhist landmarks include the 460-year-old Urgelling Monastery, which was the birthplace of the sixth Dalai Lama; the Rigyalling Monastery; and the more distant Taktsang Monastery. Together these institutions house more than 1,000 monks, 700 of which reside at Tawang Monastery alone.

In the past few years a few Tawang Monpa individuals, mostly young people, have believed in Jesus Christ. They immediately faced strong pressure from their families and communities to renounce their new faith. Some did, but others counted the cost and continue to follow Christ as Lord. The Christians who brought the gospel to Tawang have been persecuted.

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Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-08-29
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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:7,100
Largest States:
Arunachal Pradesh (7,100)
Location in Country:The Tawang Monpa tribe lives in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, near the town of Tawang. Tawang is located a short distance from the meeting of the borders of India, China and Bhutan.
(Source: Peoples of the Buddhist World, 2004)
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Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Monpa Tawang
People Name General: Monpa Tawang
Alternate People Names:
Tsangla Monpaमोनपा, तवांग
ROP3 Code: 113801
Joshua Project People ID: 19197
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 7,100
Population all Countries: 53,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Monpa Tawang
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Monpa, Tawang (7,100 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): twm    Ethnologue Listing
Primary Dialect:Tawang Monpa
Dialect Code:20499
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religions:
Buddhism98.54 % 
Christianity0.39 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism0.59 % 
Islam0.11 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.25 % 
Unknown0.11 % 
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: 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)
Audio RecordingsOral Bible stories in Monpa, Tawang
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

Monpa Tawang in India

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Tribal - other     Asia, South    
      Monpa Tawang India    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Monpa Tawang in India          
      Religion Language  
      Buddhism     Monpa, Tawang  
    All Religions                              

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