List of Religions in India
India is a secular state as all the religions are considered as same across the country. No religion is valued more in comparison to other religion. However, Hinduism is considered as the most dominant religion in India as it is being followed by 80% of Indians. It consists of a lot of deities and is also one of the ancient religious in the world i.e. 5000 years old. However, other religions like Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Christianity are all represented in the country.
Religion Percentage in India
All religious communities
Religion not stated
Hinduism - 79.8%
- Most dominant:- Hinduism is the most dominant religion in Indiaalso known as Sanatan Dharma. It is also one of the oldest religions in the world, having emerged around 3,500 years ago.
- Holy Books and literatures:- Ramayana and the Bhagavad Geeta are the holy books of the Hindus. The Hindus believe and practice the principles of the Vedas and the Upanishads.
- Idol Worship:- They worship the icon or murtis which is considered as a reflection of God. But, the Hindus who belong to the Arya Samaj do not practice idol-worship. Their place of worship is known as Temple
- Festivals:- Hindu festivals like Diwali, Holi, Bihu, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja and many more which are celebrated in the country.
- Lots of deities;-It also contains a collection of deities but in the manifestation of only one Supreme Deity known as the Brahman.
- 1 Billion followers:- It is the third biggest religion in the world with about 1 billion followers, about 966 million of whom live in India.
Islam - 14.2%
- Introduction of Islam:- Islam was introduced to India in the 8th century, where it contributed significantly to other cultural improvements of the existing cultures, and molded the world of Indian classical music.
- Traditions of Arab:- It also motivated an important tradition of the Arabic and Persian languages through literature both secular and religious.
- Followers:- Approximately 130 million people in India follow the religion of Islam, most of whom converted during the Mughal period, and who mostly reside in parts of western and northern India.
- Sub Sections:- They are divided into sub sections, most famous being Sunnis and Shias.
- Holy books:- The holy book of the Muslims is the Quran; they believe and follow the teachings of Prophet Muhammad.
- Annual pilgrimage:- In Islam, Hajj is an annual pilgrimage in Mecca which has to be carried out at least once by every physically and financially capable Muslim in his lifetime.
- Festivals:- Some of the major Islamic festivals celebrated in India are Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Zuha and Muharram.
Christianity - 2.3%
- Introduction of Christianity:- The Christian religion was introduced to India during the 1st century by the Christian missionary known as Saint Thomas. He converted many Indians in the south of the country, many who have continued to practice Christianity to the present date.
- Spread of Christianity:- Christianity was advanced and strengthened through the coming of Jewish-Christians recognized as Knanaya people during the second century.
- Beliefs:- The Christians worship and believe in Jesus Christ, whom they consider as the saviour of humanity and the son of God.
- Festivals:- Christmas is the major festival of Christians. Good Friday, All Souls Day and Easter are some other festivals celebrated by the people of this religion in the country.
Sikhism - 1.7%
- Founder:- Guru Nanak founded Sikhism in India during the 15th century in the Punjab region.
- Holy Books:- Guru Granth Sahib is the holy book of the Sikhs which is a collection of the writings of the Guru.
- Festivals:- There are no festivals in Sikhism in particular, but some festivities are generally celebrated on birthdays or martyrdom of Sikh Gurus. Gurupurabs, Baisakhi, Nagar Kirtan, Hola Mohalla are some of the festivals and events celebrated by the Sikhs.
- Religious Beliefs:- The religious beliefs of the Sikhs do not favour fasting or going to the pilgrimages. In India, majority of the Sikhs reside in Punjab and their large community lives in the neighbouring states.
- Sikh temple:- The Golden Temple, in Amritsar, is the most famous and popular Sikh Temple in India if not the entire world.
Buddhism - 0.7%
- Founder:- Buddhism was founded in India by Siddhartha Gautama also known as 'Buddha'. The
- Buddhists constitute only about 1% of the total population of the country.
- Religious Beliefs:- They believe in the concepts of Samsara, Karma and Rebirth, and practice the teachings of Buddha. Buddhism believes in attaining enlightenment through love, kindness and wisdom. The Buddhists believe in devotion which is also an important part of their practice of this religion.
- Practices:- Pilgrimage, bowing, chanting and offerings are some of the devotional practices followed by the Buddhists.
- Temples:- In Buddhism, places of worship are called temples. India is home to no shortage of notable Buddhist temples, among them the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, which is considered to be one of the most sacred places for Buddhism not only in India but in the world as a whole.
- Festivals:- Birthday of Buddha (also known as Vesak), Asalha Puja Day, Magha Puja Day and Loy Krathong are some of the festivals celebrated by the Buddhists.
Jainism - 0.4%
- Founder:- Jainism is believed to have originated in India in the 7th-5th century BCE and was founded by Mahavira.
- Religious Belief:- This religion believes in the theology of self rather than God. It follows the principles of ahimsa (nonviolence), aparigraha (non-possessiveness) and anekantavad (non-absolutism).
- Tirthankaras :- As per the history of Jains, there were twenty-four propagators of the religion who were known as tirthankaras, Rishabh was the first while Mahavira was the last.
- Five vows:- The followers of this religion undertake five vows of ahimsa, satya, asteya, bramcharya and aparigraha.
- Festivals:- Mahavira Jayanti, Paryushana Parva, Diwali and Maun-agiyara are some of the festivals celebrated by the Jains.
- Temple:- A Jain place of worship is called a Jain temple, or a Derasar (in the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan) or a Basadi (in Karnataka). Some of the most famous Jain temples in India include the Ranakpur Jain Temple in Ranakpur and the Palitana Temple in Palitana
Zoroastrianism - 0.1%
Followers of the Zoroastrian faith make up around 0.1% of the Indian population. The Zoroastrian faith traces back to the prophet Zoroaster, who lived in present-day Iran. Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions in the world.
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