All the religions of India are celebrations of shared emotion that bring people together. People from different religions and cultures of India, unite in a common chord of brotherhood and amity in this fascinating and diverse land.
India being a place where many major religions of the world originates and has important pilgrimage spots of others. For centuries, it is a land of mythology and mystique and a number of temples, mosques, monasteries, churches and gurudwaras have gained a prominence amongst the most visited places in India. Devotion to Gods and religion is a significant aspect of the lifestyle of traditional Indians. Hindu pilgrimage tours or 'TirthaYatras' are considered an important way of attaining the salvation. It is also believed that salvation and forgiveness for all sins can be attained by visiting the revered spots. The frequent invasions made India a potpourri of different religions and thus there are pilgrimage sites for all of them somewhere in India.
All mankind needs purification of the body, mind and the soul . To achieve the same pilgrimage holidays have been designed. The secularism of India and the variety of religions followed by the people of the country are amazing. The faith reflected in the chanting of 'Om', 'Budham Sharanam Gachami' and 'Wahe Guru' all reminds us of the Almighty and focus on the gospel of peace and love for humanity.
Being a country of the pious, India is dotted with pilgrimages. Thus, Pilgrimage tourism in India is extremely popular. Great religions like Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism have originated on the Indian soil. The unity in diversity is the keyword for the grand country. The Hindus flock to take a dip in the holy rivers, the Sikhs walk up to a height of 4329 meters through the difficult terrain to reach the Hemkund Sahib. The cradle of Buddhism, devotees from the world over frequent the holy city of Sarnath.
India is home to many shrines of the world's major religions . Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Judaism, all have places of worship and holy sites in India. You can visit the holy destinations of various religions in India on Pilgrimage Tours in India.
Buddhism one of the major world religions is based on the teachings of Lord Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama (563 and 483 BC), a royal prince of Kapilvastu, India. He got enlightenment in Bodhgaya and delivered his first sermon in Sarnath. Simplicity, renunciation, moderation and empathy are the core of all Buddhist teachings. Buddhism originates in India and very soon it spread throughout the Central Asia, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Southeast Asia, as well as the East Asian countries of China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Buddhism is ranked as the 4th largest religion in the world, after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.
Christianity is the largest religion followed all over the world. The term Christianity refers to a monotheistic religion, which is based on the teachings of the Lord Jesus. Christianity was introduced in India by St. Thomas or Doubting Thomas in 52 AD. Indian Churches have distinct archaeological British, Portuguese, French and Indian designs. At present there are about 25 million Christians in India. It is interesting to note that the Christian’s population in India is more than the entire population of Australia and New Zealand or total population of a number of countries in Europe.
Hinduism one of the oldest religion in the world is world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism the oldest religion in the world preached love and affection for all beings, nature worship, harmony of inner-self and the world outside, self-enlightenment and adaptability to circumstances. Hindus have sacred shrines all over India where one can get enlightened by rich moral teachings and legends and relish the architectural beauty of the past. Hinduism is the dominant religion in India. Hindus form about 84 per cent of the total population of India. Hinduism is also known as "Sanatan Dharma" or the everlasting religion.
Islam among all the religions is also followed in India. Islam forms about 12 per cent of India's total population. Islam spread with full fledged in India in the 8th century when the province of Sindh was conquered. Though the Muslims constitute only 12 per cent of India’s population but Islam has strong influence on Indian society.
Jains constitute less than one percent of the India’s total population. For centuries, Jain’s are famous as community of traders and merchants. Jain’s population is highly concentrated in Gujarat and Rajasthan in India. The Jain religion is traced to Vardhamana Mahavira (The Great Hero 599-527 B.C.).
Lord Mahavira plays a vital role in spreading Jainism in India. However, Jainism came into being before Lord Mahavira was born. He is supposed to be the twenty-fourth (last) Tirthankara according to the Jain philosophy. A Tirthankara is an enlightened soul who is born as a human being and attains perfection through intense meditation.
Sikhs constitute about 2 per cent of India’s total population. As compared to other religions, Sikhism is very new. The word 'Sikh' means a disciple and thus Sikhism is essentially the path of discipleship. The true Sikh remains unattached to worldly things.
Sikhism which preached of simple living and no rituals or superstitions, promotes values of duty, hard work and unity among its followers. The important Gurudwaras (Sikh shrimes) include Anandpur Sahib, Golden Temple and Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.
Guru Nanak Dev :
Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is the founder of Sikhism. He was the first Guru of the Sikhs and is worshipped next to God. He devoted his life in uniting Hindus and Muslims and he wanted to form a universal religion of brotherhood and compassion. According to him true salvation could be achieved only by devotion of thought and excellence of conduct.
As far as Indian population is concerned Zoroastrians are very less in number still they continue to be one of the important religious communities of India. According to the 2001 census, there were around 70,000 Zoroastrian in India. Most of the Parsis (Zoroastrians) live in Maharashtra (mainly in Mumbai) and the rest in Gujarat.
AdiShankaracharya is one of the greatest philosophers of India, Adi Shankaracharya founded one of the sub-schools of Vedanta known as Advaita Vedanta. AdiShankaracharya believed in the concept of the Vedas. He devoted his life in working against the rituals and religious practices that were over exaggerated.