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- India is a land of diversities. This diversity is also visible in the spheres of religion.
- The spiritual land of India has given birth to many religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. These religions together form a subgroup and are known as Eastern religions.
- The major religions of India are Hinduism (majority religion), Islam, Sikhism, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and
Distribution of Population by Religion in India
|Religion||Population 2011 in %|
|Religion not specified||0.22|
- Followers are called as Hindus.
- Their place of worship is known as Temple (Devasthanam or Mandir in Hindi)
- It is the world’s third largest religion by population, and the majority religion in
- It has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners refer to it as Sanatana Dharma, “the eternal law” or the “eternal way” beyond human origins.
- This “Hindu synthesis” started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the Vedic times.
- Hindu texts are classified into Sruti (“revealed”) and Smriti (“remembered”).
- Major scriptures : Vedas, Upanishads (both Sruti), Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Manusmṛti, and Agamas (all Smriti).
- Major Hindu festivals : Diwali, Holi, Bihu, Ganesh Chaturthi, Durga Puja, etc.
- Followers are called as Muslims.
- Their place of worship is known as Mosque (Masjid)
- Islam first came to the western coast of India with Arab traders as early as the 7th century AD to coastal Malabar and the Konkan-Gujarat.
- It is the second-largest religion in India and also the second largest religion of World.
- Founder of Islam : Prophet Muhammad
- Holy book of Islam : Quran
- There are many denominations amongst Indian Muslims, the majority belong to the Sunni branch of Islam, while a substantial minority belong to the Shia
- There are also small minorities of Ahmadiyya and Quranists.
- Many Indian Muslim communities, both Sunni and Shia, are also considered to be Sufis.
- Major Islamic festivals celebrated in India are Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Zuha, Muharram, etc.
- Followers are called as Christians.
- Their place of worship is known as Church
- It is the world’s largest religion.
- Founder of Christianity : Jesus
- Holy book of Christianity : Bible
- Most Christians are of two denominations: Catholic and Protestant.
- The Old Treatment and New Treatment is the major Holy text of Christianity.
- Major festival of Christians : Good Friday, All Souls Day, Easter, etc.
- Followers are called as Sikhs.
- Their place of worship is known as
- It is the fifth-largest religion in the world.
- Founder of Sikhism : Guru Nanak
- Holy book of Sikhism : Guru Granth Sahib
- Major festivals : Gurupurabs, Baisakhi, Nagar Kirtan, Hola Mohalla,
- Followers are called as Buddhists.
- Founder of Buddhism : Siddhartha Gautama Buddha
- They believe in the concepts of Samsara, Karma and Rebirth, and practice the teachings of Buddha.
- Branches of Buddhism : Theravada (“The School of the Elders”) and Mahayana (“The Great Vehicle”)
- Holy book of Buddhism : Tripitak
- Major Festivals : Birthday of Buddha (also known as Vesak), Asalha Puja Day, Magha Puja Day and Loy Krathong, etc.
- Followers are called as Jains.
- Founder of Buddhism : Mahavira
- Holy book of Jainism : Kalp Sutras
- Major sects : Svetambara and Digambara.
- It follows the principles of ahimsa (nonviolence), aparigraha (non-possessiveness) and anekantavad (non-absolutism).
- Major Festivals : Mahavira Jayanti, Paryushana Parva, Maun-agiyara, etc.
- Judaism and Zoroastrianism are also practiced by minority population in the country. According to Judaism, there exists a covenant relationship between God and Jewish people. One of the minority groups in the country, Zoroastrianism considers that humans are the helpers of God. The people who follow Zoroastrianism are known as Parsis and those who follow Judaism are called Jews.
- Although, different religions are practiced in India, the secular and sovereign nature of the country remains intact. In fact, all religions collectively play an important role in maintaining the harmony, culture, history and peace in the country.