People-in-Country Profile

People Selector:
Print version:
Step 1 - Select a Country:   Send us your updates!
Step 2 - Select a People:  

Bhotia Tibetan in India

Bhotia Tibetan

Send us a photo of this people.  [1]

Bhotia Tibetan in India map

Flash Map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
3,300 Sikkimese Buddhism 0.00 % 0.00 % No No   

Bhotia Tibetan in India

Profile Text
Submit Profile Text:

The Sikkimese people inhabit all four districts of Sikkim, but they are concentrated in North Sikkim District near the Chinese border. 'They live in hilly terrain, of high altitude and cold climate, where there is high rainfall with medium snowfall and high humidity with dense forests.' A migrant community of Sikkimese has moved down into the Darjeeling District of West Bengal. The 1981 census in India returned 22 Sikkimese Bhotia people living in Tripura State.

The Sikkimese are among the most complicated Buddhist groups profiled in this book. The Indian government has granted 'Scheduled Tribe' status to the 'Bhotia' tribe, but this is 'a generic term for several groups of people inhabiting the ranges along the snowy peaks of the Himalayas'.

The term Bhotia comes from Bhot, or Bod, the traditional name for people of Tibetan origin. The groups combined by the Indian authorities include many different ethnicities and languages, ranging from Jammu and Kashmir in north-west India all the way across to Arunachal Pradesh in north-east India. In what follows here we are referring to people in the state of Sikkim who now have a sense of common identity and who speak the Sikkimese language. These groups include 'the Chumipa (people from the Chumbi valley), Dhopthapa (inhabitants of Dhopta), Trompa or Do-mu-pa (inhabitants of Do-mu), Lachengpa (people of Lacheng valley) and Lachungpa (people of Lachung valley)'. The Drukpa (people who originated in Bhutan) living in Sikkim are often considered part of this group, but we have profiled the Drukpa separately in this book. The various ethnic segments of the Sikkimese migrated into the state at various times throughout history, including a recent influx of refugees from Tibet since the Chinese occupation in the 1950s. People from all different communities come together to celebrate Buddhist festivals and holidays, which creates good unity and relationships between them.

The Sikkimese language is part of the Tibeto-Burman family. It shares 65 per cent lexical similarity with Dzongkha of Bhutan and just 42 per cent with Tibetan.

Being of Tibetan origin, it is not surprising that the Sikkimese people strongly believe in Tibetan Buddhism. The 1981 census returned 98.21 per cent of Sikkimese Bhotia as followers of Buddhism, 1.42 per cent as Hindus, 0.34 per cent as Christians and the rest as Muslims.

Today approximately 200 Sikkimese have believed in Jesus Christ—just 0.7 per cent of their population. About 100 Sikkimese Christians live inside Sikkim, while others live in the heavily-evangelized Darjeeling area in West Bengal. Some of those who have decided to follow Christ have been excommunicated from their villages. One source states, 'The Sikkimese Bhotia have portions of the Bible available in their own language, and there are eight missions agencies currently targeting them. Intercession and increased missions efforts are still needed. The small number of believers (about 1 per cent) need discipleship materials to encourage and strengthen them in their Christian walk.'

View Bhotia Tibetan in all countries.

Prayer Links
  Submit Update:
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:3,300
Largest States:
Assam (3,000)Mizoram (100)
Nagaland (100)Meghalaya (70)
West Bengal (20)
Submit Map:
Ethnolinguistic Map:University of Texas or other map
  Peoples [3]
Submit Update:
People Name in Country: Bhotia Tibetan
People Name General: Bhotia Tibetan
Alternate People Names:
Bhotia of Tibetभोटिया, बुद्धिस्ट टिबेटन
ROP3 Code: 111612
Joshua Project People ID: 16451
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 3,300
Population all Countries: 3,300
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Tribal - other
People Name General: Bhotia Tibetan
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
Submit Update:
Primary Language: Sikkimese (2,800 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): sip    Ethnologue Listing
Secondary Languages:
Tibetan, Central (400)Bengali (200)
Total Languages: 3
Religion [4]
Submit Update:
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
Bible Translation Status
Submit Update:
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
Register Ministry Activity:
Networking: Visit for networking possibilities.
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

Bhotia Tibetan in India

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

Direct link: