Harmony of the Religion
Jammu Kashmir is a place where everything is attractive. While the landscape of the place is heavenly, the people are hospitable, the handicrafts are unique, culture is interesting and the buildings are simple and beautiful. Among all this the religion of the place also becomes interesting, given the fervour with which the local population perform their religious duties. The religion of the valley is also diverse. The difference between the three divisions of the state is not merely demographical, but they differ almost in all respects. The predominant religion in the entire state is Islam, which comprises almost 60% of the total population. However, there are different religions dominant in different divisions. Islam is the main religion of valley, Hinduism of Jammu and Buddhism forms the prime faith in Ladakh.
A peep into the religious practices of all the three divisions will be interesting. Visit to Muslim shrines, Hindu temples and Buddhist monasteries are a delight.
Islam in Kashmir came through many Sufi saints, who came to the region during 14th century AD. Many shrines have been made in Kashmir dedicated to these Sufi saints. The shrines are located throughout Kashmir valley. The most important and famous Shrine is the Hazratbal Shrine, located on the banks of the Dal Lake. The sacred hair of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) is preserved in the shrine. Among other important shrines include the Chrar-i-Shareef Shrine, MukhdoomSahab Shrine, Khanqah, Dastgeer sahib Shrine.The valley practices a pure form of Sufism, which came here from Iran with the Sufi saints.
Buddhism is the predominant religion in Ladakh, which is very close to Tibetan Buddhism. Ladakh has carefully preserved the purest form of Tibetan Buddhism. Buddha is worshipped as a deity who has attained Nirvana (freedom from the cycle of birth and death). Various incarnates of Buddha, known as Bodhisattvas, are also worshipped in Monasteries in Ladakh. Dalai Lama is considered to be the supreme spiritual leader of the Buddhists. The religion here is very old and people are extremely passionate about it. Numerous monasteries and shrines to Buddhist Gods have been set here even in the remotest areas. Some of the areas in Ladakh remain cut off from other areas for most part of the year and thus preserving their heritage without any interference. People in Ladakh celebrate many religious festivals during the year, which are celebrated according to the Tibetan Lunar Calendar.
In Jammu, Hinduism prevails. The city is known as the city of temples. Some of the most important temples and pilgrimage centres of Hindus are located in district. Thousands of people from all over India come for pilgrimage to Jammu every year. Like in other parts, people in Jammu are also passionate and conservative about their religion.
Different religions are predominant in different divisions, however, the religions are not exclusive to particular places and the religions practised do not end here. Considerable numbers of Hindus reside in Kashmir as well and many areas in Jammu are predominantly Muslim. Many important temples and Hindu pilgrimage centres are placed in Kashmir valley. Many areas in Ladakh are also Muslim majority. Besides Sikhism is also practised in the state with many important Gurduwaras located here. Religion in Jammu Kashmir
is central to the lives of the people here.