Lately, my children have been expressing curiosity about Hinduism and asking me questions about this rich and diverse religion. From North to South, East to West, and within different communities, Hinduism manifests itself in diverse ways. Growing up in the western culture, my children did not get much exposure. As a mother, I decided to educate them as much as I can by writing this article covering important aspects which they have been exposed to so far. Hence, I kept it very simple.

This article has following sections.

Click on the blue text to jump to that section.👇


👉Origin and history

👉Sacred texts and scriptures

  • Four Vedas
  • Bhagvad Gita
  • Ramayan
  • Mahabharat

👉Beliefs and philosophy

  • Karma
  • Dharma
  • Reincarnation
  • Moksha
  • Yuga
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Ayurveda
  • Jyotish
  • Vastu Shastra
  • Varna and Caste system

👉Gods and Goddesses

  • Brahma
  • Vishnu
  • Mahesh
  • 33 koti Gods and Goddesses
  • Dashavatara


  • Pooja
  • Aarti
  • Havan or Homa
  • Breaking coconut
  • Chanting mantras and hymns
  • Lighting diyas
  • Namaskar/Namaste
  • Touching the feet
  • Tilak


  • Om
  • Swastika
  • Rangoli
  • Bell

👉Hindu temples

  • Temples
  • Chaar dham

👉Traditions, ceremonies & sanskaras

  • Solah sanskaras
  • Mundan
  • Marriage
    • Mangalsutra
    • Bindi
    • Kajal
    • Bnagles
    • Anklets
    • Toe rings
    • Sindoor
    • Mehendi
    • Saree
  • Final ritual


  • Gudipadwa/Ugadi
  • Holi
  • Raksha Bandhan
  • Ganesh Chaturthi
  • Navratri
  • Dasara
  • Diwali
  • Makar Sankranti

Introduction: Hinduism is the oldest and the third largest of the world’s major religions, after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism is a diverse religion, with a rich cultural heritage, and encompasses a wide range of beliefs, rituals, and traditions. Hinduism is believed to have originated more than 4,000 years back in the Indus Valley civilization.

Origin and history:

Sanatana Dharma is an endonym used to refer to Hinduism. Sanatana dharma meaning “immemorial way of right living”. The term ‘Sanatana-dharma’ finds reference in Vedas, which are a collection of sacred texts written in Sanskrit. The term Hindu has been coined by Persians to mean people living beside the river Sindhu (meaning of Sindhu in Sanskrit is river). When Greek conqueror Alexander the Great invaded this part of the world, they used the term Indu instead of Hindu to denote people living in this territory. This ‘Indu’ later became India. 

India is known as Bharat. According to Hindu mythology, Bharat was an emperor and the son of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala. He ruled a vast kingdom in ancient India and was known for his wisdom, bravery, and compassion. The name “Bharat” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Bharata,” which means “one who is devoted to light”. It is believed that Bharat was named after the legendary king because of his contributions to the society and his devotion to knowledge and wisdom.

Over time, the name “Bharat” became synonymous with the entire Indian subcontinent, and it was officially adopted as the country’s name when India gained independence from British colonial rule in 1947.

Sacred texts and scriptures:

The Vedas are the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism and are considered to be the foundation of philosophy and spiritual knowledge. There are four primary Vedas: the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda, and the Atharvaveda. Here is a brief overview of each of the four Vedas:

  • Rigveda: The Rigveda is the oldest and most important of the four Vedas. It is considered one of the oldest texts in any Indo-European language. It contains 1,028 hymns divided into ten books, called Mandalas. The hymns are primarily focused on praising the gods and goddesses of Hinduism.
  • Yajurveda is a collection of hymns and mantras used during Vedic rituals and sacrifices. It is divided into two parts: the Shukla Yajurveda and the Krishna Yajurveda. The hymns in the Shukla Yajurveda are dedicated to various gods and goddesses, while Krishna Yajurveda contains instructions and explanations of the rituals and sacrifices.
  • Samaveda: The Samaveda is a collection of melodies and chants that are used during Vedic rituals and sacrifices. It places a special emphasis on the musical aspect of Vedic chanting. It is said that the music of the Samaveda has the ability to uplift the spirit and bring about a sense of inner peace and harmony.
  • Atharvaveda: The Atharvaveda is a collection of hymns and spells that are used for various purposes, including healing, protection, and purification. It is considered to be the newest of the four Vedas and contains 730 hymns divided into twenty books.

Bhagavad Gita is a sacred Hindu scripture that is widely regarded as one of the most important texts in the world of spirituality and philosophy. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna (an incarnation of God), and Arjuna (a warrior prince). The conversation takes place on a battlefield, just before a great war. The Bhagavad Gita contains teachings on a wide range of topics including spirituality, morality, and the nature of reality, which are applicable to people of all backgrounds and beliefs. They are relevant to the challenges that we face in our daily lives. It is composed of 700 Shlokas (verses) arranged in 18 chapters.

Ramayana is one of the two great Hindu epics, the other being the Mahabharata. The Ramayana is divided into seven books, each called a kanda. The story of the Ramayana is set in the legendary kingdom of Ayodhya, and it begins with the birth of Rama, the son of King Dasharatha. Rama is married to Sita, but she is kidnapped by Ravana, the king of Lanka. Rama then embarks on a journey to rescue Sita, aided by his loyal brother Lakshmana and the monkey-God Hanuman. The Ramayana is not just a story, but also a source of spiritual teachings and moral values. It provides valuable lessons on topics such as family relationships, love, and the power of devotion.

Mahabharata is a Hindu scripture that narrates the story of the Kuru dynasty and the great war of Kurukshetra, which took place between the hundred Kauravas and the five Pandavas. It covers a wide range of topics, including politics, philosophy, religion, and morality. The Mahabharata is a massive text that contains over 100,000 couplets and is divided into 18 books. It contains the famous Bhagavad Gita, a conversation between the warrior prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna.

Beliefs and philosophy

  • Karma: It is the idea that every action has a consequence, and that one’s present life is a result of their past actions.
  • Dharma: Dharma refers to the moral and ethical duties of a person. It is believed that following dharma leads to a good life and helps one to achieve moksha (liberation).
  • Reincarnation: Hinduism believes in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. It is believed that a person’s soul is reborn after death, based on their karma in their previous life.
  • Moksha: Moksha is the ultimate goal of Hinduism. It is the liberation of the soul from the cycle of birth and death.
  • Yuga: As per Hinduism, there are 4 Yugas into which the lifetime of the Universe is divided. Each cycle lasts for 4,320,000 years (12,000 divine years). The four yugas are: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapar Yuga, and Kali Yuga. Each yuga is progressively shorter than the preceding one, corresponding to a decline in the moral and physical state of humanity.
  • Yoga and Meditation: Yoga is based on the concept of the mind-body connection and involves physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation to promote physical and mental health. They are believed to help one connect with their inner self and achieve spiritual growth.
  • Ayurveda: Ayurveda is a science-based system of medicine that originated in ancient India and is still practiced today. Ayurveda focuses on the holistic approach to health and wellbeing, considering factors such as diet, lifestyle, and environment in addition to physical symptoms.
  • Jyotish, also known as Vedic astrology, which uses planetary movements and positions to predict future events and provide guidance for decision-making.
  • Vastu Shastra: It is a system of architecture and design that originated in ancient India. Vastu Shastra considers factors such as orientation, location, and materials to promote harmony and balance in living spaces.
  • Varna and Caste system: Varna system was the traditional division of Hindu society into four main varnas or social classes. These varnas are based on occupation and are considered to have emerged from the ancient Hindu scriptures known as the Vedas. The four varnas are:
    • Brahmins: Vedic scholars, priests or teachers
    • Kshatriyas: Rulers, administrators or warriors
    • Vaishyas: Agriculturalists, farmers or merchants
    • Shudras: Artisans, laborers or servants

Over the time, caste system has developed. It is a complex social structure that developed from the varna system and encompasses numerous hereditary social groups with their own rules and restrictions. The caste system also includes the concept of untouchability, where certain castes are considered impure and subjected to social discrimination and exclusion. The caste system has been the subject of much controversy and criticism, and many Hindus today reject it as an outdated and unjust practice.

Gods and goddesses: Hinduism is a religion with an extensive array of gods and goddesses. The Hindu gods are often depicted with multiple arms and are associated with different aspects of the universe and human experience.

Trimurti refers to the three main Hindu gods: Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. They represent the three fundamental aspects of the universe.

  • Brahma: Brahma is the creator god and is often depicted with four heads, each facing a different direction. He is associated with knowledge, creation, and wisdom.
  • Vishnu: Vishnu is the preserver god and is often depicted with four arms holding a conch shell, a discus, a mace, and a lotus. He is associated with protection, preservation, and order.
  • Shiva or Mahesh: Shiva is the destroyer god and is often depicted with a third eye on his forehead and a snake around his neck. He is associated with destruction, transformation, and regeneration.

Other Gods and Goddesses: According to vedas, there are 33 koti gods. It does not refer to 33 crore (330 million) individual deities as is sometimes misinterpreted. In Sanskrit, koti means “types” or “categories” which signifies different classifications or aspects of gods rather than a specific numerical value. The 33 vedic Gods include 12 Adityas, 8 Vasu, 11 Rudra and 2 Ashwins. Adityas are the protectors and maintain law. Vasu are the deities of elements like earth, fire, wind, water, sky, sun, moon, star. Rudra is the God of Gods, lord of the universe. Ashwini kumars are the saviors. 

Dashavatara: Dasha=ten and avatara=incarnation. It is believed that when things are going badly with the world, the special help is needed. Then, lord Vishnu comes down in special avatara. Ten of his avataras are regarded as more important. They are: Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha, and Kalki. The 4 of them took place in the Satya Yuga, 3 in Treta Yuga, 1 in Dvapara Yuga, 1 in Kali Yuga and 1 is yet to take place in Kali Yuga.

  • Ganesh: Ganesh is the elephant-headed god and is associated with wisdom, knowledge, and new beginnings. He is often invoked at the start of new ventures and important ceremonies.
  • Hanuman: Hanuman is the monkey god and is associated with strength, devotion, and loyalty. He is often worshiped for protection and success.
  • Durga: Durga is the mother goddess and is often depicted riding a lion or tiger. She is associated with power, strength, and protection and is worshiped during the festival of Navratri.
  • Kali: Kali is the goddess of death and is often depicted with a necklace of skulls and a tongue sticking out. She is associated with destruction, liberation, and transformation.
  • Lakshmi: Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, prosperity, and abundance.
  • Saraswati: Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, and learning.


  • Pooja is a form of worship. It is considered an important aspect of the religion. The purpose of pooja is to establish a connection with the divine and to seek blessings from the gods and goddesses. Pooja can be performed at home or in a temple. There are many different ways to perform the ritual. It includes chanting mantras, offering prayers, lighting the lamp, offerings including flowers, fruit, sweets.
  • Aarti: The lamp is usually filled with oil or ghee. It is lit, and then it is waved in front of the deity.
  • Havan or homa. It is a fire ceremony involving the lighting of a sacred fire in a specially constructed pit or vessel, chanting of mantras and the offering of various items into the fire, such as ghee, grains, and herbs. The fire is seen as a purifying agent that transforms the offerings into an offering to the divine. The smoke that arises from the havan is considered to be a form of purifying energy that spreads positivity and removes negativity from the environment. It is believed to have a cleansing effect on the mind and body, and to help create a more harmonious and peaceful atmosphere.
  • Breaking a coconut is considered to be a significant ritual in Hinduism. It is often performed during auspicious occasions, such as weddings, temple ceremonies, and other religious rituals. Coconut is considered to be a symbol of purity, fertility, and prosperity in Hinduism. It is also believed to represent the human ego, which must be broken in order to attain spiritual enlightenment. The three dots on the coconut are considered to represent the three eyes of Lord Shiva, and breaking the coconut is considered to be an offering to the deity. The broken coconut is distributed as prasad, a sacred offering
  • Chanting mantras & hymns: The science behind chanting mantras is not fully understood. Many people report feeling calmer, more focused, and more spiritually connected when they engage in this practice. When a person chants a mantra, it can help to slow down their breathing and heart rate, which can promote relaxation and reduce stress. Additionally, the repetition of the mantra can help to quiet the mind and focus the attention, which can promote a sense of inner peace and well-being. Some examples of popular mantras are:
    • Om (Aum) Mantra-the most sacred and powerful mantra.
    • Gayatri Mantra-it is from the Rigveda, dedicated to the deity Savitur, a representation of the Sun.
    • Mahamrityunjaya Mantra-is associated with Lord Shiva and is chanted for protection and healing. It is believed to have the power to conquer death.
    • Om Namah Shivaya– This mantra is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is considered a powerful mantra for spiritual transformation, purification, and seeking the blessings of Lord Shiva.
    • Om Shanti Shanti Shanti: The word “Shanti” means peace, and the repetition of it three times represents peace in the body, mind, and spirit.
    • Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha– This mantra is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the remover of obstacles and the lord of wisdom.
  • Hymns (bhajan) are poetic expressions of devotion and are often sung or recited to praise and connect with the divine. Some examples:
    • Hanuman Chalisa“: Chalisa means 40 verses. It is a devotional hymn dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the monkey deity known for his strength, devotion, and loyalty.
    • Vishnu Sahasranama“: it is a hymn containing a thousand names of Lord Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hinduism.
    • Durga Chalisa“: it is a devotional hymn dedicated to Goddess Durga, the divine feminine power.
    • Shiva Tandava Stotram“: it describes Lord Shiva’s cosmic dance, known as the Tandava.
    • Lalita Sahasranama“: it is a hymn comprising a thousand (sahastra=1000) names of Goddess Lalita Tripurasundari, a form of the Divine Mother
  • Lighting diyas: Lighting a diya is believed to purify the air and create a positive and healthy environment. The flame of the diya burns the impurities in the air, such as bacteria and viruses, and creates a cleaner atmosphere. Aromatic oils such as coconut oil, sesame oil, or ghee, are used which release a pleasant fragrance when they burn. They work as aromatherapy and are believed to have a calming and soothing effect on the mind and body. Lighting a diya is also symbolic of the triumph of good over evil and the victory of light over darkness. The light of the diya is said to represent knowledge and wisdom. It helps to dispel darkness and ignorance.

  • Namaskar/Namaste: Namaste or Namaskar or Pranam is a traditional greeting, commonly used as a respectful salutation when people meet. The word “Namaste” is derived from Sanskrit and is a combination of two words: “namah,” which means “bow” and “te,” which means “to you.” Together, it can be translated as “I bow to you” or “I bow to the divine in you.” The gesture involves bringing the palms of the hands together and held close to the heart.

  • Touching the feet is a traditional gesture to show gratitude, respect and seek blessings. Person bends down and touches the feet of a person he is paying respect to. The person whose feet are being touched may be an elder family member, a teacher, a religious leader, or someone held in high regard for their wisdom, knowledge, or accomplishments.

  • Tilak is a dot or mark applied on the forehead. It is made using Kumkum (red colored powder), or sandalwood or turmeric powder or paste. It is usually applied in the center of the forehead, between the eyebrows, which is believed to be the location of the ajna chakra, associated with intuition and spiritual insight. It is used either daily or in various religious rituals and ceremonies. It has religious identification, and is considered an auspicious act. It is believed to protect from negative energies or evil forces. It is believed to awaken the spiritual third eye, enhance concentration, and facilitate a connection with the divine.


  • Om (also spelled Aum) is one of the most important symbols of Hinduism. It is a sacred sound and a symbol that represents the essence of the universe. The symbol of Om is made up of three Sanskrit letters – A, U, and M – which represent the three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. The sound of Om is often chanted during meditation and other spiritual practices to help focus the mind and connect with the divine energies of the universe.
  • Swastika is a geometrical shape made up of four arms that are bent at right angles and arranged in a clockwise pattern. It has been used as a symbol of good fortune in many cultures around the world, but in Hinduism, it represents good luck, prosperity, and auspiciousness. It is often used in religious ceremonies, as well as in decoration and design, to represent the positive and auspicious forces of the universe. The Swastika has been misappropriated by certain groups and used as a symbol of hate and intolerance, particularly in the context of Nazi Germany. It is important to remember that in Hinduism, the Swastika has a completely different meaning and is a symbol of positivity and auspiciousness.

  • Rangoli is a traditional art form and is typically created on the floor or ground using colored powder, rice, or flower petals. Rangoli is believed to be a symbol of good luck. It is thought to bring prosperity and positive energy to the home.
  • Bell: It is considered an important part of religious rituals and practices. They are rung to awaken and invite the deities during worship or ritual ceremonies. The sound of the bell is believed to create a spiritual vibration and attract divine presence. The sound waves produced by the bell are said to activate all seven chakras in the body, which can lead to a state of calmness and clarity. Ringing a bell is said to create a positive aura and drive away any negative forces present in the surroundings.

Hindu temples:

Hindu temples are structures designed to bring human beings and gods together through worship, sacrifice, and devotion. They are designed and built based on a combination of religious and scientific principles. The science behind Hindu temples is rooted in the ancient Vedic texts, which describe the design and construction of sacred spaces for worship and meditation. They are often characterized by intricate designs, ornate carvings, and colorful decorations. Each temple is dedicated to a particular deity or a group of deities, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Devi (Goddess), or Ganesh. Devotees visit temples to offer prayers, perform rituals, and seek blessings. Offerings of flowers, fruits, incense, and lamps are commonly made to the deity. Priests play a significant role in conducting the religious ceremonies and facilitating the worship of the deities.

There are countless Hindu temples in India, many of which are considered to be highly significant for their historical, religious, and cultural importance. Here is a list of some of the most important Hindu temples in India:

  1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
  2. Badrinath Temple, Uttarakhand
  3. Somnath Temple, Gujarat
  4. Tirupati Balaji Temple, Andhra Pradesh
  5. Vaishno Devi Temple, Jammu and Kashmir
  6. Jagannath Temple, Puri
  7. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
  8. Kedarnath Temple, Uttarakhand
  9. Konark Sun Temple, Odisha
  10. Brihadeeswarar Temple, Thanjavur
  11. Ramanathaswamy Temple, Rameswaram
  12. Dwarkadhish Temple, Gujarat
  13. Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain
  14. Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Maharashtra
  15. Siddhivinayak Temple, Mumbai
  16. Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram
  17. Akshardham Temple, Delhi
  18. Chidambaram Nataraja Temple, Tamil Nadu
  19. Someshwara Temple, Bangalore
  • Chaar dhams: The term “Chaar Dhams” refers to a set of four sacred pilgrimage sites located in four corners of India. It is believed that visiting these sites helps achieve moksha (salvation). The four Dhams are: Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameswaram. It is believed that every Hindu should visit the Char Dhams during one’s lifetime. Another small circuit in Uttarakhand of four pilgrimage sites-Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath is referred to as Chota (=small) Char Dham which is locally popular in North India.

Traditions, ceremonies & sanskaras:

In Hinduism, the solah (16) Sanskaras, also known as Shodasha Sanskaras, are a set of important rituals which represent the various stages and milestones in an individual’s life.

  1. Garbhadhana: The ritual of conception, performed by the couple before conceiving a child, seeking divine blessings for a healthy and virtuous child.
  2. Punsavana: A ceremony performed during pregnancy to ensure the well-being and proper development of the fetus, particularly for the birth of a male child.
  3. Simantonnayana: A baby shower ritual performed during the seventh month of pregnancy, involving prayers, blessings, and rituals to protect the mother and child.
  4. Jatakarma: The birth ceremony performed immediately after the child’s birth, involving various rituals to bless the child, protect them from negative influences, and ensure a prosperous life.
  5. Namakarana: The naming ceremony, where the child is formally given a name. Prayers and rituals are performed, and the child’s name is announced.
  6. Nishkramana: The first outing of the child, typically performed in the third or fourth month after birth. It symbolizes the child’s introduction to the external world and nature.
  7. Annaprashana: The first feeding of solid food to the child, marking the transition from breastfeeding to solid food. It is usually performed when the child is around six months old.
  8. Chudakarana: The first haircut ceremony, where a portion of the child’s hair is shaved off. It is believed to cleanse the child of any impurities from past lives.
  9. Karnavedha: The ear-piercing ceremony, typically performed in the child’s first or third year, to promote spiritual and intellectual development. Both males and females can have their ears pierced. For females, it is common to have the earlobe pierced, while males may choose to have a single piercing on one ear or both ears. It is believed that, ear piercing ensures proper brain development, improves eye sight, improves hearing, can prevent OCD, anxiety due to activation of acupressure points on ear lobes. In females, it is thought to improve reproductive health.
  10. Upanayana: The sacred thread ceremony or initiation into formal education. It is traditionally performed for boys and marks their entry into the study of the Vedas and the guidance of a spiritual guru.
  11. Vedarambha: The commencement of Vedic studies, where the student begins the learning of Vedic scriptures under the guidance of a teacher.
  12. Samavartana: The completion of formal education, usually after the study of Vedic texts, marking the end of the student stage and entry into the next phase of life.
  13. Vivaha: The marriage ceremony, considered one of the most important sanskaras. It is the union of two individuals in a sacred bond of matrimony.
  14. Vanaprastha: The stage of gradual withdrawal from worldly affairs and responsibilities, where individuals transition to a more contemplative and spiritual life. It marks the beginning of the preparatory phase for Sannyasa. 
  15. Sannyasa: The renunciation of worldly attachments and responsibilities, undertaken by individuals who wish to lead an ascetic and contemplative life. It involves formal initiation into the monastic order.
  16. Antyeshti: The funeral or cremation rites performed after a person’s death. It involves the final farewell to the departed soul and the completion of their earthly journey.

1. Mundan: shaving a baby’s head is known as mundan. According to Hindu tradition, a baby is born with the influence of the planets and stars, which can have both positive and negative effects on the child’s life. The Mundan ceremony is believed to help counteract the negative influences and protect the child from harm. Timing of mundan can vary depending on the family’s customs and beliefs, but typically performed within first six months of life. Prayers and mantras are recited during the ceremony to bless the child. Some people believe that there is a scientific reason behind removing the hair as child was in the womb for nine months and there is a possibility of scalp contamination with germs and bacteria.

2. Marriage or Vivaah: Hindu marriages are considered to be a sacred union between not just two individuals, but also between two families. It is believed to be a lifelong commitment. There are several pre-wedding rituals including the engagement ceremony, known as the “Sagai”, and the haldi ceremony, in which a paste made of turmeric is applied to the bride and groom’s body.

The “Vivaah Sanskar” is a complex wedding ceremony which is typically performed in front of a sacred fire, known as the “Havan Kund”. It involves several rituals, including the exchange of garlands, known as the “Jaimala ceremony”, and the tying of the sacred thread, known as the “Mangalsutra”. The couple also takes seven vows, known as the “Saat Phere or saptapadi”, which are meant to symbolize their commitment to each other and their new life together.

  • Mangalsutra: The word is derived from two Sanskrit words, “mangal” which means auspicious or holy, and “sutra” which means thread. It is typically made of gold and black beads. It is tied around the neck of the bride by the groom during the wedding ceremony. It is believed to represent husband and wife’s commitment to each other and their union. The black beads are believed to represent the power and strength of the goddess Shakti and also to ward off evil spirits.

  • Bangles are traditional ornaments worn by women. They come in a variety of materials, including gold, silver, glass, plastic, and wood. Bangles are believed to symbolize the energy of life and are said to promote the flow of positive energy in the body. It is also believed that the sound of bangles is auspicious. In some Hindu traditions, newlywed brides are required to wear a specific type of bangle called “chooda” for a certain period of time after the wedding as a symbol of their marriage.
  • Toe ring by married Hindu women is a cultural practice. It is considered a sign of a married woman. In some Hindu traditions, it is believed that the toe ring is worn on the second toe, which is connected to the uterus and passes through the heart. It is also believed that the slight pressure exerted by the toe ring on certain nerves and acupressure points helps regulate the menstrual cycle, keep the reproductive system healthy and enhance fertility.
  • Bindi is a small dot or mark worn on the forehead between the eyebrows, usually by women. The word “bindi” is derived from the Sanskrit word “bindu,” which means dot or point. Religiously, the bindi is considered to be a symbol of the third eye, which is believed to represent spiritual enlightenment and wisdom in Hinduism. It is also believed to be a symbol of the goddess Parvati, who is often depicted wearing a red dot on her forehead. It is also believed to represent the energy of the Ajna chakra, which is located in the forehead and is associated with intuition, clarity, and spiritual awareness.
  • Kajal or kohl is a traditional eye makeup that has been used for thousands of years. It is believed to have several benefits and is considered an essential cosmetic product for many women. One of the most important benefits of kajal is its ability to protect the eyes from harmful rays of the sun and dust particles. According to some beliefs, applying kajal on the eyes can ward off evil eye or negative energies and promote good luck and prosperity. It is also believed to have antimicrobial properties that can prevent eye infections and soothe irritation and inflammation.
  • Anklets are traditional ornaments worn around the ankle, particularly by women. They are usually made of silver. The sound of anklets is considered to be auspicious and is believed to bring joy and happiness. In some Hindu traditions, anklets are worn during dance performances.
  • Sindoor, also known as Kumkum or Vermilion. It holds significant cultural and religious significance in Hinduism. It is a red-orange powder that is applied on the parting of a married woman’s hair, often referred to as the “maang”. It symbolizes love, commitment, and marital bliss. Application of sindoor is primarily a personal choice.
  • Henna or Mehendi, has a significant cultural and religious significance in Hinduism. Henna is believed to bring blessings, good luck. Applying henna is also associated with fertility, love, and marital harmony. It is considered a way to enhance the bride’s beauty and protect her from negative energies during the wedding ceremony. It is often applied during weddings, festivals, and other celebratory events.
  • Saree is a traditional garment worn by women in many parts of India and is an important aspect of Hindu culture. Sarees come in many different colors, patterns, and styles. In Hindu culture, the saree is often associated with femininity, grace, and elegance. It is considered to be a symbol of Indian heritage and is often worn as a way of expressing cultural identity and pride.
  • Traditional Hindu men’s attire typically includes a dhoti or lungi, kurta, and a dupatta or scarf.

3. Antim Sanskar or Antyesti, which is the funeral rites performed after the death of a person. According to Hindu belief, the body is considered to be a temporary vessel for the soul, and death is seen as a transition from one stage of existence to another. The funeral rites are therefore performed to help the soul of the deceased move on to its next stage of existence. The body is cremated and the ashes are immersed in a sacred river such as Ganges.


In Hinduism, the lunar calendar is followed for observing religious festivals and auspicious timings. The lunar month starts with the New Moon Day or Amavasya and ends with the Full Moon Day or Poornima.

  1. Chaitra
  2. Vaishakha
  3. Jyeshtha
  4. Ashadha
  5. Shravana
  6. Bhadrapada
  7. Ashwin
  8. Kartik
  9. Margashirsha
  10. Pausha
  11. Magha
  12. Phalguna

These months correspond to the various seasons and astronomical events throughout the year. They are used to determine the dates of various Hindu festivals and auspicious times for religious ceremonies. Many Indian festivals have religious significance and are celebrated to honor gods and goddesses. Festivals provide an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate their shared traditions and values.

  • Gudipadwa/Ugadi-The world “gudi” means flag and “padwa” means the first day of lunar month. The word “Ugadi” is derived from two words, “yug” meaning age and “adi” meaning beginning. This festival marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, a special preparation is made which is known as Ugadi pachadi and it is a mixture of tamarind, jaggery, green mango pieces, salt, chili powder and neem flowers. It teaches us that life is not just sweet or sour but a mixture of various elements. Bitterness of neem represents sad feelings, sweetness of jaggery represents happy feelings, salt represents fear, tamarind represents disgust, chili represents anger and green mango represents surprises. It is believed that Ugadi pachadi helps to cleanse the system and prevents many diseases. 

  • Holi also known as the “Festival of Colors” is a popular Hindu festival. The festival is celebrated with a lot of color, music, dance, and food. On the first day of the festival, people light a bonfire to symbolize the burning of the demon Holika, who tried to kill the god Prahlad but was herself burnt to ashes. This day is known as Holika Dahan, and it is celebrated with prayers, singing, and dancing around the bonfire. On the second day of the festival, people play with colors and water, and this is the main day of Holi. It is also a time for people to forgive and forget, and to renew their relationships with friends, family, and loved ones.

  • Raksha Bandhan is a popular festival that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. “Raksha” means “protection,” and “Bandhan” means “bond,” so the name of the festival literally means “bond of protection.” It is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana, which usually falls in August. On this day, sisters tie a rakhi, which is a sacred thread, on their brothers’ wrists as a symbol of their love and affection. The rakhi represents the sister’s prayer for her brother’s well-being and protection. In return, the brother vows to protect his sister from any harm and offers her gifts.

  • Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated is celebrated on the fourth day (Chaturthi) of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, which usually falls between August and September. It is dedicated to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity who symbolizes wisdom, prosperity, and good fortune. It is the birth anniversary of Ganesh and celebrated over ten days. The idol is worshiped with prayers and offerings of 21 modak (sweet dumplings). On the tenth day, the idol is immersed in rivers or lakes.

  • Navratri is a nine-day festival where people worship the goddess Durga, who represents the feminine energy of the universe. It is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy by people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Dasara, Dussehra also known as Vijayadashami, is celebrated on tenth day after Navratri. According to Hindu mythology, demon Mahishasura had been granted a boon by the gods, which made him invincible. Goddess Durga, who represents the feminine energy of the universe, was able to defeat him after a fierce battle that lasted for nine days. The tenth day, which is known as Vijayadashami, marks the victory of Durga and the triumph of good over evil. According to Ramayana, Ravana was a powerful and ten-headed demon king who had abducted Lord Rama’s wife, Sita. After a fierce battle, Lord Rama ultimately defeated Ravana and rescued Sita. To celebrate this victory of good over evil, Ravan Dahan is performed. An effigy of Ravana, made of bamboo and cloth, is constructed and filled with firecrackers. The effigy is set on fire in a public gathering.

  • Diwali, Deepavali also known as festival of lights, is one of the most important festivals. The festival is celebrated for five days, with each day having its own significance and rituals. 

Day 1: Dhanteras-on this day, people worship Lord Kubera, the treasurer of wealth.

Day 2: Naraka Chaturdashi or Choti Diwali – It commemorates Lord Krishna’s victory over the demon Narakasura. People take a special bath known as “abhyangsnan” early in the morning by applying fragrant oils and aromatic scrub known as “sugandhi utane”. They wear new clothes, light diyas and burst firecrackers.

Day 3: Diwali (Laxmipoojan) -The main day of the festival, which is usually the third day, is celebrated as the day of Diwali. On this day, people light diyas (oil lamps) and candles to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance. People decorate their homes with rangoli (colorful patterns made of rice flour), flowers, and lights. Fireworks are also a popular part of the celebration. There are many different stories and legends associated with the origin of Diwali. One of the most popular stories is the return of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana to their kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and their victory over the demon king Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lit diyas to welcome their return and celebrate their victory, and this tradition is still followed today.

Diwali is also celebrated to honor the goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. It is believed that by lighting diyas and performing puja (prayers) to Lakshmi, people invite her blessings into their homes and lives.

Day 4: Diwali Padwa or Bali pratipada- The word “Padwa” refers to the Pratipada tithi (the first day of the lunar fortnight), and it is believed that on this day, Lord Vishnu rescued Goddess Lakshmi from the captivity of the demon King Bali. Diwali Padwa is considered a special day for married couples. Husbands and wives exchange gifts, express love and appreciation for each other. They seek blessings for a harmonious and prosperous married life.

Day 5: Bhau bij or Bhai Dooj -this is the fifth and final day of Diwali. It celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. Sisters pray for the well-being and long life of their brothers and perform aarti to seek their blessings. Brothers, in turn, give gifts to their sisters and express their love and protection.

  • Makar Sankranti, also known as Uttarayan, is a widely celebrated Hindu festival that marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn (Makar Rashi). It typically falls on January 14th or 15th, depending on the solar calendar. People exchange tilgul (a sweet made from sesame seeds and jaggery) and offer prayers. Til (sesame) is a key ingredient in many dishes, such as tilgul ladoo, tilgul pili, chikki (brittle made with jaggery and sesame seeds), and various sweets. Women invite married women from the neighborhood and family members to their homes for the Haldi-Kumkum ceremony. They exchange haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion), offer sweets, and give small gifts as a symbol of goodwill and blessings. Girls and married women offer 13-14 tilgul ladoo and 13-14 items (known as vaan) to the goddess.

Thank you for reading! 🙏

6 Replies to “Hinduism”

  1. खुप सोप्या भाषेत खुप जास्त माहिती दिली.
    Hinduism is very big topic. You have very nicely covered many bullet points and explained briefly which helps NRI as well as Foreigner to understand the basics of Hinduism as well Indians.

    I appreciate your efforts for collection of this information and very neatly presentation of it.

  2. very detailed explanation of Hinduism…nice article…savi you are all rounder….sakshat sarswati…

  3. Excellent info about ”Vaidic Sanatana Hindu Dharma”, well explained by my lovely sister😊👏🏻

  4. U narrated all the topics of Hinduism very simply, greatfully. Essential subject for our children. Very good.

  5. All the topics about Hinduism explained very nicely in short .Kids will get all the details at one place. Thanks for this write up..

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