RELIGIONS OF INDIA
Sanskrit: सिन्धु "Sindhu" (Indus River) + ism
• Hinduism is often regarded as the oldest religion in the world
and is believed to have been existed for 5,000 years. It has
neither a specific moment of origin nor a specific founder.
• It is considered to be collection of sacred texts known, as a
whole, as ‘Sanatana Dharma’, "The Eternal Teaching.“
• Hinduism is grounded in the doctrines of ‘samsara’ (the cycle
of rebirth) and ‘karma’ (the universal law of cause and effect),
and fundamentally holds that one's thoughts and actions
directly determine one's life.
• Hinduism is typically divided into four major sects: ‘Shaiva’
(devotees of the god Shiva), ‘Vaishnava’ (devotees of the
god Vishnu), ‘Shakta’ (devotees of the goddess), and
‘Smarta’ (those who understand the ultimate form of the
divine to be abstract and all encompassing, Brahman).
• The Vedas form the foundation of Hinduism, the bedrock upon
which the entire tradition is built. There are four vedas, namely:
1. The Rigveda
2. The Yajurveda
3. The Samaveda
4. The Atharvaveda
• “Om” is composed of three separate sounds. The first
embodies the three worlds—the earth, atmosphere, and
heavens; the second embodies the three great gods—
Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva; and the third, three of the Vedas—
the Rig, Yajur, and Sama.
• Islam is the second-largest religion in India, making up
13.4% of the country's population with about 176 million
• The first great expansion of Islam into India came during
the Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs, who were based in
• Later the leaders such as Mahmud of Ghazni and
Muhammad Tughluq expanded Muslim political
domains without altering the religious or social fabric of
• The largest concentration –about 47% of all Muslims in
India, live in the three states of Uttar Pradesh, West
Bengal, and Bihar.
• India has four sects of Muslims, namely:
1. Shia Muslims
2. Dawoodi Bohra
3. Ahmadiyya Islam
• Over the years, there has been significant integration of
Hindu and Muslim cultures across India and the Muslims
have played a prominent role in India’s economic rise
and cultural influence.
• Christianity was introduced to India by Thomas the
Apostle, who visited Muziris in Kerala in 52 CE.
• Christianity in India has different denominations, like
Roman Catholicism, Oriental Orthodox Christianity and
• Christianity is practised by over 17.3 million people in
India which represents less than 2% of the total
• Christianity in India was expanded in the 15th Century
by Catholic Portuguese expeditions and by Protestant
British and American missionaries in the 18th century.
• Most Catholics reside in South India, particularly in Goa
and Kerala, there are also large Christian populations in
the North-east Indian states.
• Guru Nanak (1469–1539) was the founder of Sikhism.
• Sikhism recognizes all humans as equal before
Waheguru, regardless of color, caste or lineage.
• It rejects the beliefs of idol worship and circumcision.
• "The central teaching in Sikhism is the belief in the
concept of the oneness of God." Sikhism considers
spiritual life and secular life to be intertwined.
• There are few religious prohibitions in Sikhism.
1. Cutting hair
3. Blind spirituality
4. Material obsession
5. Sacrifice of creatures
6. Non-family-oriented living
7. Worthless talk
8. Priestly class
9. Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (Kutha meat)
10. Having extramarital sexual relations.
• It arose in and around the ancient Kingdom of
Magadha (now in Bihar, India), and is based on the
teachings of Siddhārtha Gautama who was deemed a
"Buddha" ("Awakened One").
• The practice of Buddhism as a distinct and organized
religion declined from the land of its origin in around 13th
century, but not without leaving a significant impact.
• In modern times, two major branches of Buddhism exist:
the Theravāda in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and the
Mahāyāna throughout the Himalayas and East Asia.
• Jainism has its roots from the Indus Valley Civilization, reflecting
native spirituality prior to the Indo-Aryan migration into India.
• The word Jainism is derived from a Sanskrit verb ‘Jin’ which
means to conquer.
• Jainism prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living
beings and emphasizes spiritual independence and equality
between all forms of life.
• During the 5th century BCE, Vardhamana Mahāvīra became
one of the most influential teachers of Jainism.
Festivals in India
• India, being a multi-cultural and multi-religious
society, celebrates holidays and festivals of various
• The three national holidays in India,
the Independence Day, the Republic Day and
the Gandhi Jayanti, are celebrated with zeal and
enthusiasm across India.
• In addition, many Indian states and regions have local
festivals depending on prevalent religious and linguistic
• Popular Indian festivals include the Hindu festivals which
are as follows:
3. Maha Shivratri
4. Ganesh Chaturthi
5. Durga Puja
• Navratri is a festival dedicated to the worship of the
Hindu deity Durga.
• The word Navratri means 'nine nights' in Sanskrit, nav
meaning nine and ratri meaning nights.
• During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of
Shakti/Devi are worshiped.
• The tenth day is commonly referred to as
Vijayadashami or "Dussehra”.
• Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn
• The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over
darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and
hope over despair.
• Before Diwali night, people clean, renovate and decorate
• Also called as ‘Festivals of Lights’.
• Ganesha Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated
on the birthday (rebirth) of the lord Ganesha, the
son of Shiva and Parvati.
• It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence
on earth for all his devotees during this festival.
• Ganesha is widely worshiped as the god of wisdom,
prosperity and good fortune and traditionally
invoked at the beginning of any new venture or at
the start of travel.
• The festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi.
• Holi is a spring festival also known as festival of
colours, and sometimes festival of love.
• Ancient Hindu Festival which is popular amongst
Non-Hindus as well.
• Famous Holika and Prahlad story behind
• Raksha Bandhan is a Hindu festival that celebrates the
love and duty between brothers and sisters; the festival is
also popularly used to celebrate any brother-sister like
loving protective relationship between men and women
who are relatives or biologically unrelated.
• The Rajput queens practised the custom of sending rakhi
threads to neighbouring rulers as token of brotherhood.
• Several harvest festivals such as Sankranthi, Pongal, Raja
Sankaranti swinging festival, and Onam, "Nuakhai" are
also fairly popular.
• Certain festivals in India are celebrated by multiple
religions which are as under:
1. Buddha Purnima celebrated by Buddhists.
2. Sikh Festivals, such as Guru Nanak Jayanti, Baisakhi are
celebrated with full fanfare by Sikhs and Hindus.
3. The Dree Festival is one of the tribal festivals of India
celebrated by the Apatanis of the Ziro valley
of Arunachal Pradesh.
• Islam is the second largest religion in India with population
of over 135 million.
• The Islamic festivals which are observed and are declared
public holiday in India are:
Eid ul Fitr
Eid ul Adha-(Bakr Eid)
Milad un Nabi
• Christianity is India’s third largest religion.
• With over 23 million Christians, of which 17 million are
Roman Catholics, India is home to many Christian festivals.
• The country celebrates Christmas and Good Friday as
• Regional fairs are also common and festive in India. For
example, Pushkar fair is one of the world's largest markets
and Sonepur mela is the largest livestock fair in Asia.
• Indian architecture encompasses a multitude of
expressions over space and time, constantly absorbing
• The result is an evolving range of architectural production
that nonetheless retains a certain amount of continuity
Indus Valley Civilization
• Some of its earliest production are found in the Indus
Valley Civilization(2600–1900 BC) which is characterized by
well planned cities and houses.
Architecture during Mauryan and Gupta Empire
• Several Buddhist Architectural complexes, such as Ajanta
and Ellora Caves and the monumental Sanchi Stupa were
South Indian Architecture
• South India produced several Hindu temples like:
i. Chennakesava Temple at Belur
ii. The Hoysaleswara Temple at Halebidu
iii. The Kesava Temple at Somanathapura
iv. Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur
v. The Sun Temple, Konark
vi. The Buddha stupa at Bhattiprolu
• With the advent of Islamic influence from the west, Indian
architecture was adapted to allow the traditions of the
• Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Gol Gumbaz, Qutub Minar, Red
Fort of Delhi are creations of this era.
• The colonial rule of the British Empire saw the
development of Indo-Saracenic style, and mixing of
several other styles, such as European Gothic.
• The Victoria Memorial or the Chhatrapati Shivaji
Terminus are notable examples.
Various other contributions of Indian Architecture:
• Indian architecture has influenced eastern and
southeastern Asia, due to the spread of Buddhism.
• Temple Mound or Stupa
• Temple Tower or Pagoda
• Temple Gate or Torana
• The central spire is also sometimes called avimanam.
• The southern temple gate, or gopuram is noted for its
intricacy and majesty.
Modern Indian Architecture
• Contemporary Indian architecture is more cosmopolitan.
• Mumbai's Nariman Point is famous for its Art
• Recent creations such as the Lotus Temple and various
other monuments have added their contribution towards
• The traditional system of Vaastu Shastra serves as India’s
version of Feng Shui, influencing town planning,
architecture, and ergonomics.
• Though Vastu is conceptually similar to Feng Shui in that it
also tries to harmonise the flow of energy, through the
One Nation, One Vision, One Identity
“No Nation is Perfect, it needs to be made perfect.”
Meri Pehchaan Mera Bharat!