India is a blend of many religions. Many of major world religions had their origin in India. Here is a compilation of Mind Blowing and Interesting Facts about Major Religions of India.
1. India has almost as many Muslims as Pakistan. It has more Christians than the population of Australia, more Buddhists than Tibet, more Sikhs, Jains, and Parsis than any country in the world.
2. The last three Vedas (Yajur, Sama & Atharva) gave much importance to Ganga; however, the oldest Veda (Rigveda) revered Indus and Saraswati as the holiest of Indian rivers.
3. Beyond India, Hinduism is the dominant religion of many exotic regions such as Nepal, Mauritius, Bali, second biggest religion of Fiji & Sri Lanka and at one point covered most of Southeast Asia – including Indonesia, Cambodia and Malaysia.
4. The Romani people (Gypsies) that were originally Hindus trace their origins to Medieval India and the first Romani conference was funded in part by the Government of India.
5. Sushruta is the father of surgery, 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted surgeries like cesareans, cataract, fractures and urinary stones. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India.
6. The Hindu epic of Mahabharata – that is often used to teach the principles of Hinduism – is written in 1.8 million words and is the long poem in the world (10X the combined length of the Illiad and Odyssey)
7. The Vishnu Temple in the city of Tirupathi built in the 10th century, is the world’s largest religious pilgrimage destination. Larger than either Rome or Mecca, an average of 30,000 visitors donate $6 million (US) to the temple every day.
8. India’s Muslim population is estimated to be third largest in the world after Indonesia and only a bit behind Pakistan.
9. There are 3,00,000 active mosques in India, more than in any other country, including the Muslim world.
10. There are more Muslims in India than the combined population of Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.
11. The first purpose built Masjid is claimed to be in Woking (South of England) with money provided by the ruler of Bhopal, in India (the Shah Jahan Masjid was built in 1889).
12. Christians in India make up 2.3% of the population. That alone is more than the entire Australian population. In facts, the population of Australia is less than the number of children born in India annually.
13. There is a sect of Christianity indigenous to India since the 1st century A.D.
14. The Last Supper painting by Da Vinci has an orange depicted, which were brought to Europe by Portuguese traders from India in the 15th century and were unknown at the time and place of the Last Supper
15. The oldest European church and synagogue in India are in the city of Cochin. They were built in 1503 and 1568 respectively.
16. Golden temple in India feeds thousands of people who show up randomly regardless of race, religion and class.
17. Sikhism originated in the Holy city of Amritsar in Punjab. Famous for housing the Golden Temple, the city was founded in 1577.
18. Sikhs hold the world record for blood donations in a single day created on 13/03/2009 on the occasion of Hola Muhalla, a Sikh festival.
19. Sikhs were among first significant wave of Indian immigrants to America
20. Belgian Jains originating from the Gujarati city of Palanpur control roughly 60% of the diamond trade.
21. Jain clergy have the propensity to go to extreme lengths to avoid harming living beings. They go barefoot and carry a small broom to avoid crushing insects in their path. Many will wear pieces of cloth called muhapattis over their mouth while speaking so that the warm air of their breath doesn’t disturb surrounding microorganisms in the air.
22. Jains are the most educated religious group in India, and among the richest in America.
23. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, runs his government in exile from Dharamshala in India.
24. Nalanda library used to be so huge that it burned for 6 months when it was attacked and smoke from the burning manuscripts hung for days like a dark pall over the low hills. There used to be Buddha statues in corners which used to be lit up by prisms strategically placed to refract light.
25. There are between 1 crore to 3 crore followers of Buddhism in India.
26. Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was visited by Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
27. Jews arrived in India 2500 years ago and unlike many parts of the world, Jews have historically lived in India without any instances of antisemitism from the local majority populace. Most of them arrived in Cochin and settled down in Kerala as traders.
28. There was a headhunting tribe of feral Jews discovered in the jungles if Mizoram state in India, who claim to be the Lost Tribes of Israel.
29. The Bene Israel Jews arrived in the state of Maharashtra 2,100 years ago.
30. The Parsis (numbering about 75,000) are concentrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat states, especially in Bombay.
31. To avoid contaminating fire, earth, or water, the Parsis dispose of their dead by exposing the bodies in “towers of silence” (circular structures some 20 ft/6 m high surrounding a stone courtyard) where vultures devour them
32. The huge Tata industrial empire bears the name of one of India’s most famous Parsi families.
33. In 1968, an experimental community named Auroville was founded in India by a French woman known as “The Mother”. It now has over 2000 international citizens and its own sustainable economy. Politics and religion are not supposed to be in Auroville.
34. The first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru was an atheist.
35. An atheist charity institution was created in 1940 in India called the Atheist Centre of India. It promotes social change and atheism as a way of life in India.