Kumaoni Speakers of Northern India

(koo-MAH-oo) – Kumaon is a beautiful region in the northeastern corner of the state of Uttarakhand in North India. Made up of six districts, it’s nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas and bordered by Nepal and Tibet. Home to 5 million people and 7,457 villages, Kumaon has sprawling lakes, mountain ranges, historical temples, rural areas, and growing hill stations. Farming is a main source of livelihood for the Kumaoni speakers; they cultivate land that’s been passed down for generations. It’s common to see women carrying bundles of grass or firewood that’s been gathered from the forest daily. Since much of the region is rural, there are often limited outside resources, making daily life challenging. The region has a rich history filled with culture, folk dances, music, artforms, and festivals. One popular artform, “Alpana,” uses geometric figure decorations believed to belong to different deities. Over 90% of the Kumaoni speakers are Hindu, but many also worship folk deities. While there is some mission history in Kumaon, evidenced by the establishment of certain schools and hospitals, today, this region is still less than 0.3% Christian. Many homes and villages are remote, with roads that have only recently been established. Pray for the salvation of the Kumaoni speakers.