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Religions in India


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Religions in India

India is known as a land of spirituality and philosophy. Many religions have taken birth on this land, many of them existing till date. As a part of both law and custom, religious tolerance hold a significance place as all Indians associate themselves with a particular religion.

A vast majority of approximately 80% follow Hinduism, with Islam as the second largest followed religion by 13%, Christianity being the third largest with 3% followers. The remaining population follow native religions of Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism. The root for these religious beliefs traces back to ancient India with two main streams of thought, one is Shramana, while other Vedic thought. The religions like Buddhism and Jainism fall under Shramana thought, while Hinduism under Vedic thought. Sikhism is relatively new in India established around 15th Century.

Various Historical evidences like the rock-paintings, burial sites, seals, cultural elements, texts and many such historical traces signify the possible culture of those eras. The excavations of Indus Valley Civilization sites show seals with animals and "fire altars", indicating rituals associated with fire. The Epics, Puranas and Vedas indicate the development of Hinduism as the religion of Indo-Aryans in the Vedic Period. The religions of Jainism and Buddhism developed during the same time. Buddhism declined in India following the loss of royal patronage.

Islam came to India in the 7th century with the advent of Arab Traders, although it was during the rise of Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire that Islam actually grew in India. Christianity also prevailed in India but it was mainly during the European colonization that its hold got strong.

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