Introduction / History
The Nadar people of southern India cultivated palmyra palm trees in the past. They were "palmyra climbers." Nadar men and women would climb the palm tree, cut a branch and collect the sweet sap. Although all parts of this palm tree are valuable, the sap quickly becomes palm wine in the warm climate of south India. The production of palm wine or toddy was the main occupation of the Nadars until modern times. Today many Nadar obtain higher educations and achieve leadership positions in business and government.
Where are they located?
The Nadar people today live primarily in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Some also live in other areas of south India.
What are their lives like?
Many Nadar still cling to their old way of life as palmyra climbers. Some Nadar and government leaders are trying to discourage the production of alcohol and encourage the production of sugar from the sap of the palm tree. Some educated Nadar are fully engaged in modern Indian society while others without education work and live like their ancestors in rural villages. The Nadar speak Tamil and other regional languages.
What are their beliefs?
The vast majority of the Nadar people are Hindus. The Goddess Bhadrakali is the chief deity of the Nadar. The Nadar also claim that they are the descendants of Bhadrakali. A Bhadrakali temple is at the center of nearly every Nadar community. She is pictured as a fierce warrior with three eyes and carrying weapons with her many hands. The Nadar also worship Murugan, the god of war and son of Shiva.
A small but significant percentage of Nadar are Christians, both Protestants and Catholics.
* Pray that the Nadar Christians would be trained in discipleship and reach out to their Hindu brothers and sisters with the gospel of Christ.
* Pray that the Lord would move Christians to help the Nadar obtain other jobs than the production of palm wine.
* Pray that Nadar churches read and study the Tamil Bibles that are available.
Text source: David Kugel