History of Religious Tourism

India is the birth place of four of the world’s major religions traditions; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. Throughout its History,religion has been an important part of the country’s culture. A vast majority of Indians associate themselves with a religion.

According to the 2001 census, Hinduism accounted for 80.5% of the population of india. Islam (13.4%), Chiristainity (2.3%) and Sikhism (1.9%) are the other major religions followed by the people of India. This diversity of religious belief systems existing in India today is a result of, besides existence and birth of native religions, assimilation and social integration of religions brought to the region by traders, travelers, immigrants, and even invaders and conquerors.

Indian Diaspora in the West have popularized many aspects of Hindu Philosphy like yoga and meditation, Ayurvedic medicine, divination, vegiterian, karma and reincartion to a great extent. The influence of Indians abroad in spiritual matters has been significant as several organizations such as the Hare Krishna movement, the Brahma Kumaris, the Ananda Marga and others spread by Indian spiritual figures.

The Muslim population in India is the third largest in the world. The shrines of some of the most famous saints of Sufism like Moinuddin Chishti and Nizamuddin Auliya are in India and attract visitors from all over the world. India is also home to some of the most famous monuments of Islamic architecture like the Taj Mahal and the Qutub Minar. Civil matters related to the community are dealt with by the Muslim Personal Law, and constitutional amendments in 1985 established its primacy in family matters.

The Constitution of India declares the nation to be a secular republic that must uphold the right of citizens to freely worship and propagate any religion or faith (with activities subject to reasonable restrictions for the sake of morality, law and order, etc.) The Constitution of India also declares the right to freedom of religion as a fundamental right.

Citizens of India are generally tolerant of each other’s religions and retain a secular outlook, although inter-religious marriage is not widely practiced. Inter-community clashes have found little support in the social mainstream, and it is generally perceived that the causes of religious conflicts are political rather than ideological in nature.

The most exhilarating and ecstatic edifice, Dera Sacha Sauda is a confluence of all religions where every religion is honored. Beparawah Mastana Ji Maharaj founded Dera Sacha Sauda on April 29th, 1948 to encourage spiritual awakening among the masses, to uplift humanity, and to create a better world. HE hailed from Baluchistan, part of present-day Pakistan. With devotion and hard work, Maharaj Ji transmuted the barren land of Sirsa into a spiritual garden and imparted the glorious method of meditation to HIS followers. The slogan “Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera Hi Asra,” which Dera’s devotees chant at the Ashram, elucidates the kindness of God Almighty as our saviour. His Excellency Guruji preached about following the path of truth, humanity, and hard work. In 1960, HE handed over the reins of Dera to HIS spiritual successor, Param Pita Shah Satnam Singh Ji Maharaj. Mastana Ji Maharaj merged with the divine light on April 18th, 1960. Param Pita Shah Satnam Singh Ji Maharaj made the ground of Sri Jalalnana Sahib a holy site by incarnating Himself there on January 25th 1919. His Holiness served mankind for thirty years (1960-1990) and enlightened many people on the path to emancipation by showering the blessings of Gurumantra upon them. HE composed myriad hymns and wrote several holy books. At Dera Sacha Sauda, marriages without dowry are endorsed and solemnized with parental consent. Apart from this, people get inspired here to connect with the true Almighty God without any special arrangements, rituals or gimmicks. His Exalted Holiness passed the Divine apostleship of Dera Sacha Sauda to revered Saint Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan on September 23rd, 1990. Shah Satnam Singh Ji Maharaj shed His human attire and proceeded back to “Nij-Dham” (eternal abode) on December 13th 1991.

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