Rodiya in Sri Lanka

The Rodiya have only been reported in Sri Lanka
Main Language
Largest Religion
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

The Rodiya people of Sri-Lanka were once known as the "untouchables" of the land. They were primarily hunters in the early years of the country and were known for providing meat for the king's table. However, one incident turned their lives to what has since led to downgrading their status.

As they see it, they are descended from a Sri Lankan princess who was ostracized for cannibalism. They praise her in songs and poems. Her depiction, however, is very much like the Hindu goddess Kali, recipient of human sacrifices, repugnant to Buddhists. Despite these questionable origins, the Rodiyas are beginning to be assimilated into the larger Sri Lankan society. While they constitute less than one percent of Sri Lanka's population, the Rodiya people of Sri Lanka have their own language and their own distinct Buddhist beliefs and practices.

What Are Their Lives Like?

As outcastes they seek alms. At times they have been denied work and even clothing! Yet work they do, dancing, juggling plates and making handicrafts. They are known for their skills in manufacturing crafts using cane. One such product they are particularly known for are the handmade drums. Drums are a significant part of Sri-Lankan culture to this day. With increased urbanization, their lot in life is improving.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Rodiyas are Buddhist. However, several sources trace them back to eastern Indian tribes who worshiped the Black Goddess. This so called goddess is known for their involvement in cult like activity and human sacrifices. Today, however, the number of Rodiya population is drastically decreasing. The minor number of people left follow the Buddhism philosophy.

What Are Their Needs?

Only a few believers have sought to minister to these people. Today few if any Rodiyas are followers of Jesus.

Prayer Points

Pray for a spiritual hunger that will give the Rodiya people a willingness to accept the eternal blessings of Jesus Christ.

Pray for a movement that will bless the Rodiya people with a relationship with Jesus Christ, who offers life to the full.

Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers to the Rodiya people.

Pray that the few Christian believers will lovingly reach out to other Rodiyas to spread the good news.

Pray also that their hearts may not be hardened, and they will seek Christ with all their hearts and minds.

Scripture Prayers for the Rodiya in Sri Lanka.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Rodiya
People Name in Country Rodiya
Alternate Names रोड़िया
Population this Country 18,000
Population all Countries 18,000
Total Countries 1
Indigenous Yes
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 17975
ROP3 Code 113464
ROP25 Code 307023
ROP25 Name Rodiya
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States on file 6
Largest States
North Western
Country Sri Lanka
Region Asia, South
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Total States 6
  Sabaragamuwa 6,900
  North Western 4,700
  Uva 3,200
  Central 3,100
  Southern 300
  Western 200
Website South Asia Peoples
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Major Religion Percent *
100.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
* From latest Sri Lanka census data.
Current Christian values may substantially differ.
Primary Language Sinhala (18,000 speakers)
Language Code sin   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Sinhala (18,000 speakers)
Language Code sin   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Sinhala

Primary Language:  Sinhala

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1739-1966)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1776-1991)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1823-2009)
FCBH NT ( Online
YouVersion NT ( Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name Source
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching Global Recordings Network
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio Jesus Film Project
Film / Video God's Story video God's Story
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Sinhala Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Magdalena video Jesus Film Project
Film / Video My Last Day video, anime Jesus Film Project
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children Jesus Film Project
Film / Video World Christian Videos World Christian Videos
General Bible for Children Bible for Children
General Biblical answers to your questions Got Questions Ministry
General Faith Comes By Hearing - Bible in text or audio or video Faith Comes by Hearing
General Four Spiritual Laws Campus Crusade for Christ
General Scripture Earth Gospel resources links Scripture Earth
General YouVersion Bible versions in text and/or audio YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Android Bible app: Sinhala YouVersion Bibles
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file Faith Comes by Hearing
Mobile App iOS Bible app: Sinhala YouVersion Bibles
Text / Printed Matter Literacy primer for Sinhala Literacy & Evangelism International
Text / Printed Matter Tools for faith conversations Campus Crusade for Christ
Text / Printed Matter Topical Scripture booklets and Bible studies World Missionary Press
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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