India has a wide variety of cultures and traditions. One can come across varied customs and interesting rituals of different religions i.e. Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Sikhism.
Now you know that Hinduism is not the only religion in India. So here, in this blog, I will explain the different types of religions that are followed by the people which I witnessed during my travel to India.
Hinduism is the largest religion in India. There are around 79% people in India who consider themselves as Hindu. After Christianity and Islam, Hinduism come on the third place. There is no such founder of this religion but instead there is an amalgam of different kinds of beliefs. In the religion “Hinduism”, there is not a single book that teaches us the customs and tradition of this religion but a lot of holy books are there that guide the devotees of this religion. Some of them are: The Rig Veda, The Samaveda, Yajurveda, Atharvaveda. Upanishads, Bhagwad Geeta, 18 Puraanas, Ramayana and Mahabharata are also some important holy books in the religion of Hinduism.
Famous Hindu Temples in India:
India is a country of tradition and culture and when we are talking about Hinduism, then I would like to tell you some famous Hindu Temples where you can find the real meaning of Hinduism:
- · Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.
- · Jagannath Temple in Puri.
- · Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram.
- · Lakshminarayan Temple in Delhi.
- · Shri Venkateswara Swamy Vaari Temple in Tirupati.
- · Shri SaiBaba Temple in Shirdi.
- · Shri Somnath Jyotirlinga Temple in Somnath.
- · Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga Temple in Ujjain.
Famous Hindu Pilgrimage Sites in India:
Well, there are so many pilgrimage sites in India which you need to visit once in your life but here I will give you some names of the Hindu’s pilgrimage sites which are quite popular amongst the people of India. These sites are listed below:
1. Shirdi: This place is quite popular amongst the followers of Shri Sai Baba. Sai Baba was a saint who was admired by the devotees of all religions. The temple of Shri Sai Baba is situated in the state of Maharashtra.
2. Rameshwaram: Rameshwaram is one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in India. This place is famous for Ramanathaswamy Temple which is also a part of Char-Dham Yatra. In this temple, you will find one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Rameshwaram City is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu. I must tell you that here you will witness the beauty of the real Hindu culture.
3. Vaishno Devi: Vaishno Devi is a popular and famous amongst all the devotees of Hinduism. The temple is on a height of 5,300 feet and can be reached by an onerous climb. Navaratri is the biggest festival celebrated here. One can also avoid the backbreaking climb as you can enjoy the chopper facility here.
4. Varanasi: If we are talking about religion and are not talking about the holy city – “Varanasi”, then we are missing a major part of it. Varanasi is one of the oldest city in India. There are several temples which are located at the shore of river Ganga. If you are visiting this place during your trip to India, then I must tell you that here you will find Hinduism in the air of this city.
5. Mathura: Mathura is the birth place of Lord Krishna. It is also situated near Vrindavan where there are thousands of temples which are dedicated to Lord Krishna. Banke Bihari Temple and Keshav Dev Ji temple are the most visited temples of these cities. Maybe you might have less number of days to visit all of the temples of these cities.
Jainism is taught by twenty-four propagators of faith called “Tirthankaras”. The population of people who follow Jainism is estimated to be 4+ million people worldwide. According to some historians, Mahavira is the founder of Jainism. They strictly follow the rules of a vegetarian person.
Famous Jain Temples in India:
- 1. Ranakpur Jain Temple, Ranakpur.
- 2. Gomateshwara Temple, Vindhyagiri Hill.
- 3. Dilwara Temple, Mount Abu.
- 4. Sri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir, Chandni Chowk (Delhi).
- 5. Palitana Temples, Bhavnagar District.
Famous Jain Pilgrimage sites in India:
1. Ranakpur: Ranakpur is a city which is located in between Jodhpur and Udaipur. Ranakpur Jain Temples are the main attraction of this city. These temples were built in the 15th century. The architecture of these temples attract thousands of travelers throughout the year. I am also sure that you will love the architecture of these beautiful temples.
2. Vindhyagiri Hill, Karnataka: Vindhyagiri Hill is also known as Gommateshwar hill. Vindhyagiri Hill is a famous pilgrimage site especially among the followers of Jainism. This pilgrimage site is situated in the town named Shravanabelagola in the district named Hassan in Karnataka.
3. Mount Abu: Mount Abu is a famous pilgrimage site in the Aravali Range in Sirohi district of Rajasthan. Dilwara temples are a holy place for the followers of Jainism.
Islam is a religion in India which is followed by the Muslims who live in India. It is the second largest religion in India. There is around 14.2% population of India who follow this religion. The founder of this religion was Muhammad. According to this religion, all the Muslim people prefer to pay gratitude to their god in Mosques.
Ramadan is one of the holy month of Muslim people. In this month, the Muslim people prefer to do fast throughout this month
Famous Mosques in India:
· Jama Masjid, Delhi: One of the largest mosques in India is this Jama Masjid mosque. It was built by Shah Jahan in between 1650 – 1656. Jama Masjid is the main mosque in Delhi where all the Muslims gather together every week for their Friday prayer. It will give you a different experience while you are witnessing numerous persons offering their prayers at the same time to their god.
· Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad: This mosque is considered to be one of the oldest mosques of Hyderabad. This mosque was constructed by Muhammad Quli Qutub Shah in the year 1964. People who are the followers of Islam went to this holy place to offer their prayers.
· Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai: Haji Ali Dargah is a mosque which is quite famous among people. Situated at the south side of Bombay, Haji Ali Dargah was contructed in the year 1431 in the memory of Muslim Merchant Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.
This Mosque is built on a very small islet which is 500 meters. Away from the coast. The Mosque is linked with the coast by a path by the help of which a person can reach to the dargah (holy place) easily.
Famous Muslim Pilgrimage Sites in India:
As there are more people than the people who follows Islam in India. In spite of this, there are so many Muslim Pilgrimages sites in India. By this, one can easily have an idea that Hindu is not the only religion in India.
- · Dargah Hazratbal, Jammu & Kashmir.
- · Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai.
- · Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Ajmer.
- · Jama Masjid, Delhi.
- · Mecca Masjid, Hyderabad.
Buddhism is an ancient Indian religion which is followed by the followers of Gautam Buddha. The founder of Buddhism is Gautam Buddha. Buddhism and Hinduism are quite similar because both of the religions teach us about dharma and reincarnation. Also these religions teach us to believe in Karma. Buddhism also teaches us about how to live calmly and with tranquillity.
Famous Buddhist temples in India:
Here is the list of some Buddhist temple which you must see when travel to India:
- · Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya.
- · Dhamek Stupa, Varanasi.
- · Chaukhandi Stupa, Varanasi.
- Famous Buddhist Pilgrimage sites in India:
Some of the famous Buddhist Pilgrimage sites are below:
· Bodh Gaya, Bihar: Bodh Gaya is a village which is situated in the northeast Indian state. It is one of the famous pilgrimage Buddhist sites in India. Mahabodhi Temple is the main attraction of this place. According to the historians, Gautam Buddha (Founder of Buddhism) received the enlightenment below a sacred Bodhi Tree.
· Sarnath: Sarnath is a place which is situated 10 km north east of Varanasi city. Here you can find a park named deer park. This is a park where Buddha gave his first lesson on Dharma.
In India, Christianity is the largest religion after Hinduism and Islam. There are approx. a million followers and it is said that Saint Thomas the Apostle brought Christianity to India. Easter and Christmas are the most famous festivals of this religion and both the festival is being celebrated by all types of people of India.
Famous Churches in India:
- · Sé Cathedral, Old Goa.
- · Parumala Church, Kerala.
- · Basilica of Bom Jesus, Goa.
- · St. Paul Catedral, Kolkata.
About 2% of the population of India follow Sikhism. In Sikhism, the lords are known as gurus and this religion was founded by Guru Nanak Dev. There is a unique appearance of Sikh people (Especially Male) as they don’t shave their hair, beard and Moustache. They prefer to cover their hairs in a Turban.
Baisakhi, Holla Mohalla, Guru Nanak Jayanti are some of the festivals celebrated by Sikh people.
Sikh people prefer to go to Gurudwara for the prayer. Not only Sikh people but all the people in India go to gurudwara sometimes for prayer. This shows respect for each other’s religion in India.
Famous temples in India for Sikh Community:
Anandpur Sahib Temple, Golden Temple in Amritsar, Goindwal Sahib Temple, Hemkund Sahib Temple are some of the holy places for the Sikh community.
A lot of these temples also offer free food and water services to the needy persons who can’t afford food and water. These services are free of cost and are available 24*7 to all the people out there.
Now you know about all the religions of India, so you can choose wisely amongst all of them like if you want to enjoy the colourful festivities, then Hinduism and Hindu Pilgrimage Sites are best for your travel destination.
If you love Art Fanatic things, then you can visit the Muslim’s Pilgrimage Sites. If you want to witness how Vegetarian lifestyle & Purity are, then you can see the lifestyle of people who follow Jainism.
If you are inclined towards attending mass prayers, then you can visit Churches of India. If you want to bring peace and tranquillity in your life, then I must recommend you to witness the religion of Gautam Buddha.
And at last, if you want to do some free service for other people, then Sikhism gives you this opportunity.