Why did India become so religious

More about the religions in India

Significant religious diversity in India

Four religions have their origin in India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. Then there are Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Zoroastrianism, which have existed side by side for many years.

A 2001 census shows that the majority of the population (80%) is Hindu. That corresponds to 827 million believers. Then come Muslims (14%), Christians (2%), Sikh, Buddhists, Zoroastrians, Jews and followers of Jainism.

Hinduism is the central pillar of Indian culture. The religion is based on a cycle of rebirths, at the end of which the redemption of the soul, Moksha, stands. One can break this cycle with a good karma or with a lot of benefits.

500 million followers of Islam, the religion of the Prophet Mohammed based on the texts of the Koran, make India one of the largest Muslim nations in the world.

Zoroastrianism is one of the first monotheistic world religions. She only knows and acknowledges an invisible God. The dead are buried in so-called Towers of Silence.

Jainism has similarities with Hinduism. For example Moksha, the redemption. It is achieved through non-violence and unconditional respect for every form of life.

Sikhism is a mixture of Hinduism and Islam. The followers believe in a god and reject idol worship. A noticeable feature of their religion is their long hair. They are never cut and hidden under a turban.

Officially a secular state

According to its constitution, India is a secular country in which all forms of religious discrimination are prohibited and freedom of belief applies. In fact, there are religious elements such as Sharia or Hindu law in Indian civil law. Religion is very important in the social life of India. The Indians are mostly tolerant of people of different faiths, but mixed marriages are rare and tensions between the religious communities, especially between Hindus and Muslims, repeatedly lead to uprisings and sometimes even result in deaths. This happened in 2003, when a group of Islamists planted a bomb in the center of Bombay and around 50 people were killed. The last attacks occurred in 2006 when 23 people died in three bomb explosions in the Indian pilgrimage town of Benares. You must also consider such events when traveling to India.

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Updated October 20, 2015