In a culturally vibrant country like India, religion plays a vital role in the lives of its people. Visitors are usually bewildered by the wide variety of religions practiced by Indians simultaneously, but the fact that all these religions have peacefully coexisted in our nation over the several decades never fails to amuse them. This very cultural unity is the primary factor that has successfully kept the Indian spirit alive.
Just like the rest of India, numerous religions are practiced in Rajasthan too. Even though Hindus form a majority here, there’s a vast population of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Jains too.
Hinduism is one of the most primitive religions in the world which traces its roots back to 1000 BC and beyond. As per the Hindu religion, it is believed that every individual goes through a series of reincarnations, wherein our karmas determine our rebirths until we reach the stage of moksha. According to the Hindu mythology, the central figure is the Hindu Trinity of Brahma-the creator, Vishnu-the preserver and Shiva-the destroyer. It is said that Vishnu, the preserver came to earth in ten incarnations- few popular ones of which are Rama from the famous folktale of Ramayana and Krishna from the famous folktale of Mahabharata. Based on the historical legends, myths and folklore, these make up the two primary sources of Hindu belief and observance. Along with these, the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Puranas are of great significance to the Hindus. These religious texts form the crux of the Hindu religion.
The state of Rajasthan has its own set of myths and folklore. The customs related to the social or societal welfare were promoted and kept alive in the form of rituals, and are till date religiously followed. One can easily spot hundreds of simple shrines in every village and witness people worshipping various folk heroes there. Several stones are painted and established under trees and near wells in the tiny village temples. People here devotedly worship nature in all forms, shapes and sizes.
Rajasthan is home to some major temples and important religious centres such as Pushkar, Nathdwara, Deshnok and Amber.
Jainism is one of the world’s oldest living religions. It was founded by Lord Rishabh and recognized by Lord Mahaveer (born in 599 B.C.). The foundation of Jainism is based on four fundamental principles namely: Ahinsa, Aparigraha, Anekant and the Law of Karma. Several exquisite temples have been built by the Jains in various parts of Rajasthan such as Ranakpur, Mount Abu, Osian, Chittorgarh, Shri Mahaveerji, Jaisalmer etc.
The followers of the religion Islam, Muslims are the largest minority in India. They worship Prophet Mohammad who was born during 570 AD in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Rajasthan houses the world’s greatest Sufi Shrine- that of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, located in Ajmer. Another important pilgrimage centre is the tomb of Himiuddin Nagori, called as Atrki Dargah, situated in Nagaur.
Sikhism & Christianity:
A large majority of Sikhs and Christians have also merged with other communities, thereby forming an integral part of the Rajasthan’s population and giving it a cosmopolitan flavour.
The followers of these religions and their respective rulers have played a significant role, over the centuries, in constructing numerous important mosques, temples, churches in different parts of Rajasthan. These elegant and astonishing carvings on marble, wood and stone were created by some vivid believers and to this day, exist as a living proof of the creative genius which continues to fascinate the world with its magnificence and sheer brilliance. Apart from the architectural beauty of these religious temples, the very surroundings of these divine places tend to leave a pilgrim with a sense of peace, tranquility and positivity.