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RELIGION
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“RELIGION IS NOT A BURDEN OR NOT A WEIGHT :

IT IS WINGS”

 

Religions In Gujarat

 

Religion brings to man an inner strength, spiritual light & ineffable peace”

 

Like all other states of India, Gujarat is also inhabited by people of different religions, castes and creeds. It is one of the most industrialized states of India and provides employment opportunities for the youth. As a result, people from across the country have settled in the state. People in Gujarat mainly follow Hinduism and about 89.1% of the population is formed by the Hindus. They are mostly conservative and strictly adhere to vegetarian diet.

The main deity of the Hindus of Gujarat is Lord Krishna. He is worshipped throughout the state, in the form of Shrinathji. Besides Hindus, Gujarat is also home to a considerable number of Muslims and Jains. Muslims constitute about 9.1% of the population, while Jains form nearly 1.0%. Sikhs are quite small in number and just constitute 0.1% of the population. This confirms the reason for cultural diversity of Gujarat.

Gujarat is the birthplace of Gandhiji and the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism. This has significantly contributed to the fact that Hinduism is widely followed in the state. Lord Krishna also built his terrestrial kingdom here, which has contributed significantly to the religious beliefs of the people. As major trade practices were carried out in Gujarat during the ancient times, a significant number of Parsi Zoroastrians are found in Gujarat.

The people of Gujarat are divided into three major groups in terms of religion – the Hindus, Jains and the Muslims, with the size of the communities divided in that order.

 

HINDUISM

The major population of Gujarat comprises of Hindus. From earlier times, ‘Vedic Dharma’ was popular and from the remains found from the Indus Valley Civilization, it is believed that worship of goddesses, Sun and Shiva was followed. The temple of Somnath, one of the twelve ‘jyotirlingas’ of Shiva; the eleventh-century Sun-Temple, at Modhera; and the oldest temple of Dwarkadhish are some of the places sacred to the Hindus.

 

JAINISM

Jainism is widely followed in Gujarat for years. The oldest temple is believed to be of Shankheshwar Parshvanath in North Gujarat. Taranga temples were built during the Solanki period and they are better preserved than the temples of Mount Abu, Girnar and Shatrunjay. Palitana, is India’s principal Jain pilgrimage site housing temples antedating 5th century.

 

ISLAM

Through the sea-route, which was open for trade, the people from Iran and Arabic countries started coming to Gujarat. The trade system was established and the Indo-Islamic culture flourished. The famous mosques are built during Mughal times. These include Sidi Sayyid’s mosque, Jami Masjid, of Ahmedabad , Alif Khan’s Mosque in Dholka, Jama Masjid of Bharuch, etc.

 

BUDDHISM

Buddhism also became popular about the same time as Jainism. There were Buddhist temples also and the remains of the same are found all over Gujarat. Ashokan Buddhist edicts engraved on a rock, dating back to 3rd century BC, are near Junagadh.

 

CHRISTIANITY

Christianity is a minority religion in Gujarat, a state of India. Hindus form the majority in the state. A Diocese of Gujarat of the Church of North India exists. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Ahmedabad, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Gandhinagar, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baroda, the Syro-Malabar Catholic Diocese of Rajkot and the Orthodox Diocese of Ahmedabad have their seat in the state. The Indian National Full Gospel Churches Federation of India is present there.The state has anti-conversion legislation. Christian missionaries occasionally face threats of physical violence

 

SIKHISM

Sikhism is based on the teachings of 10gurus who lived between 15th and 17th century in India. These gurus are believed to have directly received the word of God. The founder of Sikhism was Guru Nanak, who was born in 1469 and preached god’ message of love and understanding.

Unlike other religions, Sikhism does not aim at salvation. But instead teaches that people should live a life of duty and learn to control anger. The Sikh population in Gujarat is very small and consists of recent migrants to the state. Two historical gurudwaras can be found in Gujarat, at Lakhpat in Kutch and The Chadar Saheb in Bharuch.

 

ZOROASTRIANISM

The Zoroastrians, also known in India as Parsi and Irani, are believed to have migrated to Gujarat to maintain their traditions. They have also played an instrumental role in economic development with several of the best-known business conglomerates of India run by Parsi-Zoroastrians.

These people light fires in their temples to represent God. Parsis mark the village of Udvada in Gujarat as the holiest place and their holy language is called Avesta.

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