Introduction / History
The Gudigar are a small group of people who live in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The word “gudi” means temple in Kannada and a Gudigar is one who builds temples.
Where Are they Located?
The Gudigar consider themselves to be Kshatriyas, the second highest caste in Hinduism. The Gudigar claim to be descendant of kings and royalty. The Gudigar encourage their sons and daughters to attend universities.
The two main languages of the Gudigar are Konkani and Kannada. Many also speak Tamil. Many Christian resources are available in all three languages including the whole Bibles and JESUS Film.
Most Gudigars live in the south Indian state of Karnataka. A smaller group resides in nearby Tamil Nadu.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The traditional occupation was building Hindu temples. Today the Gudigar are known are master craftsmen who make items from wood and stone. They used to make beautiful ornaments from ivory but use of ivory is now illegal under Indian law to protect elephants. Another type of material used by the Gudigar was sandalwood, a small tropical tree. The wood from this tree is pleasantly fragrant. Sandalwood oil has been utilized in Indian medicine for thousands of years to heal skin ailments. Almost all the sandalwood trees are gone and the Gudigar have had to use other kinds of wood for their carvings.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The lifestyle of the Gudigar is changing as more and more become college graduates and urban professionals. Many of the older men still work as carvers of toys, Hindu idols and sacred wooden things used in religious ceremonies. Some of the Gudigar own large tracks of land, which is farmed by lower castes. Young people are moving to India’s modern cities to work as engineers, teachers, scientists, administrators and physicians. The old life of carving and painting wooden art objects is disappearing.
The Gudigar tend to marry within their caste but will marry into other Kshatriya families. Parents formerly arranged marriages but today many young people find their mates with the approval of their families. Sons and unmarried daughters inherit property. Their dead are cremated.
The Gudigars are not vegetarians but as Hindus will not eat beef.
The Gudigar people practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They pay special devotion to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god of good fortune and wisdom. They are proud of their Hindu heritage as builders of temples. The Gudigar worship and serve the gods of the Hindu pantheon. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. They visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hopes of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
What Are Their Needs?
The main yearly holidays of the Gudigar people are Holi, the festival of colors and the start of spring / Diwali, the festival of lights / Navratri, the celebration of autumn / and Rama Navami, Rama’s birthday.
The Gudigar need to see that their Hindu rituals and ceremonies will not make them right with the one, true God. They also must see that coming to Christ will not destroy but enhance their culture and families.
* Scripture Prayers for the Gudigar in India.
* Pray for the Gudigar culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Gudigar family and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
* Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple making movement among the Gudigar people.
* Pray that soon the Gudigars people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the Savior.