Bumthangpa in Bhutan

The Bumthangpa have only been reported in Bhutan
Population
Main Language
Largest Religion
Christian
Evangelical
Progress
Progress Gauge
* Data can be from various sources including official census, agencies, and local research. Data from these sources can sometimes differ even by orders of magnitude. Joshua Project attempts to present a conservative, balanced estimate.

Introduction / History

Several thousand people living in east-central Bhutan belong to the Bumthang ethnic group. They take their name from their main habitation, Bumthang District, and they call themselves Bumthangpa ('People of Bumthang '). The Bumthang language 'is spoken on either side of the lofty Thrumshingla extending as far east as Senggor and as far west as Trongsa. Bumthang is most closely related to Kheng and Kurtop. The two peaks that loom prominently to the south of Senggor mark the boundary between the Kheng and Bumthang speaking areas.' The Bumthang also spill over into the eastern part of Trongsa District.
Bumthang is believed to have been the first inhabited place in Bhutan. Its ancient capital of Jakar (also spelt J 'aga) lies at the foot of the Choskhor Valley and is a major trading center. Its population of about 2,000 swells on market days, as people from various ethnic groups converge on the town. It was also the location for many fierce battles in history, especially in the 1600s when Tibetan armies invaded Bhutan to bring it under the rule of Lhasa. A small pagoda near the bridge outside Bumthang marks the spot where a Tibetan general's head was buried after the locals defeated his army during one of these 17th-century raids.


What Are Their Lives Like?

The Bumthangpa language is part of the Eastern Tibetan branch of the Tibeto-Burman family. There are eight languages in this branch, all of which are spoken only in Bhutan. One linguist says, 'Although it could be argued that the two languages Kheng and Kurtop are dialects of Bumthang on grounds of mutual intelligibility, there are essential differences between the phonologies of Kheng and Kurtop on one hand and that of Bumthang on the other. Moreover, the speakers of these three languages identify strongly with their respective homelands in Bumthang, Kurto and Kheng.' Bumthang is believed to be like the Monpa language spoken in Cuona County of Tibet. It reportedly has 92 per cent lexical similarity with Kheng, but just 47 per cent to 52 per cent with Dzongkha (Bhutan's national language).


What Are Their Beliefs?

Bumthang has been an important Buddhist center for centuries. According to legend, 'when the lamas assembled in about 1549 to select a site for a monastery, a big white bird rose suddenly in the air and settled on a spur of a hill. This was interpreted as an important omen, and the hill was chosen as the site for a monastery and for Jakar Dzong, which roughly translates as "castle of the white bird". The site chosen for Jakar Dzong is a picturesque location overlooking the Choskhor Valley. The current structure was built in 1667 and is said to be the largest dzong in Bhutan, with a circumference of more than 1500 meters.' An earthquake in 1897 severely damaged the monastery, but it still operates as an important Buddhist center, especially in the winter months when many monks take up residence.


What Are Their Needs?

There are a small number of scattered Bumthangpa Christians. They have faced much discrimination from their communities, but they have remained faithful to the Lord Jesus.


Prayer Points

Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Bumthangpa people for Jesus and that in God’s sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow him.
Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group.
Pray for the spiritual lives of the Bumthangpa people to become fruitful as they follow Christ.
Pray for the lives and culture of the Bumthangpa people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.


Scripture Prayers for the Bumthangpa in Bhutan.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Bumthangpa
People Name in Country Bumthangpa
Alternate Names Bhotia; Bhotia, Central; Bhumtam; Bumtang; Bumtangkha; Bumtanp; Bumthangka; Bumthangkha; Bumthapkha; Central Bhutanese; Kebumtamp; बूमथंगपा
Population this Country 23,000
Population all Countries 23,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
GSEC 1  (per PeopleGroups.org)
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 12601
ROP3 Code 104795
ROP25 Code 301471
ROP25 Name Bumthangpa
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 36  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Central Bhutan, Bumthang, Mangdi District around Tongsa in Mangdikha; northeast border of Kurto in Tsamangkha on the east; Yangtse District in Salabekha; Tawang; southeast Tibet   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Total States on file 4
Largest States
Southern
22,000
Eastern
400
Western
200
Central
40
Country Bhutan
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 36  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Location in Country Central Bhutan, Bumthang, Mangdi District around Tongsa in Mangdikha; northeast border of Kurto in Tsamangkha on the east; Yangtse District in Salabekha; Tawang; southeast Tibet.   Source:  Ethnologue 2010
Total States 4
  Southern 22,000
  Eastern 400
  Western 200
  Central 40
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
Buddhism
99.41 %
Christianity  (Evangelical Unknown)
0.59 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
Hinduism
0.00 %
Islam
0.00 %
Non-Religious
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
Unknown
0.00 %
* From latest Bhutan census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Bumthangkha (23,000 speakers)
Language Code kjz   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Bumthangkha (23,000 speakers)
Language Code kjz   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Bumthangkha

Primary Language:  Bumthangkha

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1938)
Bible-New Testament No
Bible-Complete No
Possible Print Bibles
Amazon
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
None reported  
Photo Source Bethany World Prayer Center 
Map Source People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.



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