Similar in culture and diverse in faith

Story and Photos by Monica Maschak  |  Video by Jake Corcoran  |  Photo Gallery

Highlights

  • Hinduism is the largest religion in India and the third largest in the world.
  • Many Hindus create their own shrine in their home.

Christianity is to the United States as Hinduism is to India. Each is a predominant religion in its respective country. Known for the notions of karma, dharma and reincarnation, Hinduism provides its followers with moral, philosophical points of view rather than a common set of beliefs. Creation, preservation and destruction are believed to be personified by deities known as the Great Trinity: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.

The Laxmi Narayan Temple, a Birla Mandir temple located in Delhi, was built in honor of Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, and Vishnu, the Hindu deity known as the Preserver. The attached side temples are dedicated to Shiva, Krishna and Buddha.

The temple, ornate in its red and yellow colors and architectural structure, sits on more than 7.5 acres of gardens, fountains and shrines, all of which are open for the public’s use for leisure or worship. A symbol often decorated onto Hindu temples is the Swastika. Tainted by its appearance in World War II, the Swastika actually symbolizes auspiciousness or prosperity and future luck.

Although many go during festivals and holidays, Hindus are not obligated to seek worship at a temple; in fact, most create a shrine in their own home with icons dedicated to their god of choice. Flower garlands are commonly used as an offering when they are presented at public and private shrines.

Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world. Hindus make up 80% of India’s population of more than 1 billion; and with almost as many gods as there are followers, they are free to practice as they please.


Category: Faith, families and education