How many main religions are practiced in India?
Answer by Student
- There are eight main religions practiced in India
- They are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism
Detailed Explanation by Teachoo
Let’s learn more about each religion
- Hinduism is the oldest and the largest religion in India. It has no founder or single scripture, but is based on various traditions, philosophies and practices. Hindus believe in one supreme reality called Brahman, who manifests in many gods and goddesses. Hindus also believe in reincarnation, karma, dharma and moksha. Hinduism has many sects, festivals, rituals and temples. Some of the sacred texts of Hinduism are the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana.
- Islam is the second largest religion in India. It was introduced by Arab traders and invaders in the 7th century CE. Muslims believe in one God called Allah, who revealed his final message to Prophet Muhammad through the Quran. Muslims follow the five pillars of Islam: Shahadah (declaration of faith), Salah (prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting) and Hajj (pilgrimage). Islam has two main branches: Sunni and Shia. Some of the holy places of Islam in India are the Jama Masjid, the Ajmer Sharif Dargah and the Haji Ali Dargah.
- Christianity is the third largest religion in India. It was brought by Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century CE and later by European missionaries in the 15th century CE. Christians believe in one God who sent his son Jesus Christ to save humanity from sin and death. Christians follow the teachings of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. Christianity has three main branches: Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant. Some of the famous churches of India are the Basilica of Bom Jesus, the St. Thomas Cathedral and the Velankanni Church.
- Sikhism is the fourth largest religion in India. It was founded by Guru Nanak in the 15th century CE in Punjab. Sikhs believe in one God who is formless and eternal. Sikhs follow the teachings of ten Gurus as recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib, their holy scripture. Sikhs also follow the five Ks: Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (comb), Kara (steel bracelet), Kachera (cotton underwear) and Kirpan (sword). Sikhism emphasizes equality, service, justice and devotion. The most sacred place of Sikhism is the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
- Buddhism is the fifth largest religion in India. It was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha, in the 6th century BCE in Bihar. Buddhists believe that life is full of suffering caused by desire and ignorance. Buddhists follow the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to attain nirvana, or liberation from suffering. Buddhism has three main schools: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. Some of the important sites of Buddhism are Bodh Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinagar and Nalanda.
- Jainism is the sixth largest religion in India. It was founded by Mahavira, also known as Jina, in the 6th century BCE in Bihar. Jains believe that every living being has a soul that can attain liberation by following ahimsa (non-violence), anekantavada (non-absolutism) and aparigraha (non-attachment). Jains follow the five vows: ahimsa, satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), brahmacharya (celibacy) and aparigraha. Jainism has two main sects: Digambara and Svetambara. Some of the famous temples of Jainism are Dilwara Temples, Palitana Temples and Ranakpur Temples.
- Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest religions in India. It was brought by Parsis, who fled from Persia to escape persecution by Muslims in the 8th century CE. Zoroastrians believe in one God called Ahura Mazda, who created a dualistic world of good and evil. Zoroastrians follow the teachings of Zoroaster as recorded in the Avesta, their holy scripture. Zoroastrians practice rituals such as fire worship, prayer and disposal of the dead in towers of silence.
- Judaism - Judaism is another ancient religion in India. It was brought by Jews, who came from various regions such as Israel, Iraq, Iran and Yemen over the centuries. Jews believe in one God who made a covenant with Abraham and his descendants. Jews follow the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, and the Talmud, a collection of rabbinic teachings. Judaism has four main branches: Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist.