Paravan (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge
* From latest Sri Lanka census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.

Introduction / History

The Paravan or Paravars are a sea people who live on the coasts of South India and Sri Lanka. Since fishing, pearl diving and collecting of shells were considered as degrading occupations by devout Hindus, the Paravars were labeled as being Dalits or outside the Hindu caste system.

What Are Their Lives Like?

From ancient times, the Paravan have made their living from the sea. They fish, move products by boat, dive for pearls and make salt. The Paravan are an oral culture since learning beyond the rudiments of reading and writing were unnecessary for their occupations. The free educational system of Sri Lankan gives Paravan children the opportunity to gain literacy and improve their economic situation. Still many Paravan children leave school after a few years in order to help their parents provide for the family. If the Paravan do graduate from secondary school, they will be able to participate in Sri Lankan’s main sources of income. These include tourism, the export of tea and rice, textiles, and mining minerals. Paravan parents strongly encourage their children to marry within their group. Monogamy or marriage to one spouse is the norm.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Paravan practice Hinduism, the ancient religion of India. They 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. The Paravan visit Hindu temples and offer prayers, food, flowers, and incense to their gods in hope of gaining protection and benefits. They do not have a personal or familial relationship with their gods like Christians do with their heavenly Father. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs. The main yearly holidays of the Paravan 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 Paravan of Sri Lanka also celebrate Buddhist holidays.

What Are Their Needs?

The Paravan would benefit by having their children receive at least a secondary education. The Paravan need to hear an oral presentation of the gospel that they can understand. Jesus more than another Hindu god or guru. Only through Christ can the Paravan have their sins forgiven and receive the gift of eternal life.

Prayer Points

* Scripture Prayers for the Paravan (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka.

*Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to the Paravan of Sri Lanka to tell them about Jesus Christ. *Pray that Paravan parents are able to meet the needs of their children. *Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Paravan in this decade. *Pray for increased literacy among the Paravan so they can read the Tamil Bible for themselves.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Paravan (Hindu traditions)
People Name in Country Paravan (Hindu traditions)
Population this Country 1,800
Population all Countries 90,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
Alternate Names Barathar; Chuna Parava; Chunna Paravan; Cunnambu; Hindu Parava; Kurup; Latin Catholic; Latin Catholics; Minavar; Minparavan; Nurunkurup; Paradavan; Parava; Paravar; Varakurup; परवान
People ID 17846
ROP3 Code 113320
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States on file 4
Largest States
Specialized Website South Asia Peoples
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States 4
  Uva 800
  Central 700
  Sabaragamuwa 200
  Western 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Language Tamil (1,800 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Tamil (1,800 speakers)
Language Code tam   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Tamil

Primary Language:  Tamil

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1714-1956)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1715-1998)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1727-2016)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)
Audio Recordings Father's Love Letter
Audio Recordings General Ministry Resources
Audio Recordings Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)
Audio Recordings Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)
Audio Recordings Oral Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video Finding Peace
Film / Video Following Jesus (India, JF Project)
Film / Video God's Story Video
Film / Video Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / Video LUMO film of Gospels
Film / Video Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)
Film / Video My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
General Comprehensive list of Tamil Resources
General Gospel resources links (Scripture Earth)
General Gospel website in this language
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religion Percent *
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest Sri Lanka census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Photo Source (Representative photo)
Nithi Anand - Flickr  Creative Commons 
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. Read more


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