Gurung Ghaleg in India

Map Source:  People Group data: Omid. Map geography: UNESCO / GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Gurung Ghaleg
Country: India
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 129,000
World Population: 749,000
Primary Language: Nepali
Primary Religion: Hinduism
Christian Adherents: 13.02 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Buddhist
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Gurung Ghaleg history is clouded with uncertainty because of their lack of a written script in the past. Legends were handed down orally from one generation to the next. We do know that, during the 15th century, a Gurung king named Ghale Raja was overthrown by a Nepali king. In the 16th century the Khasa armies took over large tracts of land in Nepal and the Gurung came under their control. The Gurung were highly regarded as fighters and many of them were enlisted in the Khasa's armies. Later, after the British took control of India, many Gurung men were enlisted as Gurkha soldiers in the British army. Thousands have served in places from Hong Kong to Bosnia and the Falkland Islands.

Like most people groups, the Gurung have subgroups. The Ghaleg are one of the subgroups of the Gurung people. Their primary language is Western Gurung. They live in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and northeastern India.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Because the Ghaleg are a subgroup of the bigger Gurung people, there is little or no information about their daily activities. Most likely they serve in the military like other Gurung people.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Religion plays an important role in the everyday lives of most Gurung peoples. Their belief system is a mixture of Buddhism, Hinduism and shamanism. As one researcher wrote, "Buddhism is followed by the Gurungs today although in ancient times they practiced the animistic and shamanistic form of religion similar to the pre-Buddhist Bon religion of the Himalayan regions." The Gurung groups are usually Tibetan Buddhists, though they have Hindu elements. The ceremonies and rituals that the Gurung perform have mixed origins. One interesting custom, called tuno bandhane, takes place three days after the birth of a baby. It involves wrapping the newborn baby in a long piece of cloth.

Less than one out of every thousand Ghaleg Gurung people are Christians today. The Western Gurung New Testament was first published in 1982, but it has fallen out of print since because of the small number of Western Gurung Christians and because there is no demand for it.

What Are Their Needs?

The Ghaleg Gurung need the chance to hear and respond to Christ's offer of life to the full. They are unreached in every country of South Asia where they live.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray that the Ghaleg Gurung people will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.

Pray for workers who are driven by the love and boldness of the Holy Spirit to go to them.

Pray for a movement to Christ among them to begin this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project