Friday, August 17, 2018
Himachal Pradesh

Himachal People

Religion

The bulk population of Himachal Pradesh is Hindus, 95.77%  of the total population (1981 census).

The Muslims occupy the second position 1.63%. They have some concentration in Chamba, Kangra and Sirmur. The Buddhists constitute a little more than 1% of the population and live in the trans-himalayan areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Kinnaur and Kulu while the Sikhs (1.2%) are found here and there with some concentration in Kangra, Shimla, Mandi and Sirmur districts. The Christian population is 0.1%.

The people are deeply religious and god fearing. The grandeur of the natural features, the Himalayas and the magnitude of physical forces, has led the inhabitants to assign supernatural powers to natural environments. To the children of the mountains, the' Himalayas are the Gods'. Along with the Gods represented in the 'Thakardwara's' and the 'Shivalas', people worship the village deities, the Deotas, the Rishis, the Munis, the Siddhas, the Pandavas, the hill tops, the trees, the joginis or wood fairies, the Kali, the Shakti, the Nagas (snakes) and even a host of devils and deities of the aborigines. They believe that water courses, the sprouting seeds, the ripening corn ear are all in charge of separate spirits. Animals sacrifice is a major religious rite and is performed at weddings, funerals, festivals, harvest time, on the beginning of the thanksgiving.

Lamaistic Buddhism is practiced in the trans-himalayan areas.Lord Buddha The great Padma Sambhava who was responsible for the spread of Buddhism in Tibet in the 8th century, lived for sometime at Riwalsar near Mandi. There is a temple in his name. Lamaistic Buddhism assimilates the mysticism of the northern school of Buddhism, the 'Vajra-yana' with the magic and devil worship of the Tantras and the cult of the Shakti, Tara. The priest or the Lama is the friend, philosopher and guide of the Buddhists. He guides them in spiritual matters, foretells events, determines lucky and unlucky days, practices medicine, exorcises evil spirits, performs magic and regulates the destiny of the living and the dead.

The Muslims in the villages follow Saint Pir Lakh Data and also pray and light earthen lamps at the shrines of other saints.

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