Religion

Religion Assam was once upon a time the original home of Tantricism in India. The Shakti temples like Kamakhya in Guwahati and Kechaikhati near Sadiya are proof to this. While veneration to Shiva largely prevailed in the early pe-riod, the Mother Goddess cult gained ground subsequently. In fact, at one time, Assam came to be identified with Tantrik Shaktism, especially centering around the Kamakhya Temple. Even today, Shiva and the Mother Goddess are venerated in i various forms at the folk level in large segments of the Assamese society, both tribal and non-tribal. Vaishnavism, another form of Hinduism, also had made a fairly early entry into Assam, but in the beginning it was nothing more than a cult. It was Mahapurush Srimanta Sankardeva who gave a new definition to this cult through hig neo-Vaishnavite movement, and this left untouched prac-tically no aspect of Assamese society. So strong was this movement that it has pervaded the entire range of Assamese life and culture, cutting across religious and sectarian beliiefs and practices.

Population by Religion   2001 .                                                    2011

Religion                                                                                                Nos. % Nos.

% Hindus    1,72,96,455                   64.89                                    1,91,80,759 ‘                       61.06

 Muslims        82,40,611                   30.92                                     1,06,79,345                        34.22

Christians         9,86,589                   3.70                                        11,65,867                             3.63

Sikhs                     22,519                  0.08                                          20,672                                    0.06

 Buddhists           51,029                   0.19                                        54,993                                  0.17

 Jains                    23,957 0.09        25,949                        0.08                                      

Other Religions  22,999                      0.09                                    27,118                                    0.62

& Persuasions  

Religion                 11,369                      0.04                                    50,873                                   0.16

not stated  

Total                      2,66,55,528            100.00                                3,12,05,576                         100.00

Sankardeva’s neo-Vaishnavite bhakti movement was the harbinger of a renaissance with many-sided ramifications – spiritual, social, humanistic, .artistic and literary. The entry of Islam as a religion to Assam came through neighbouring Bengal which already had Muslim rulers a few decades after the Mughal dynasty was established in India, and Islam to-day, is an important religion here. Islamic shrines of the State include Poa-Mecca of Hajo (Poa – meaning one-fourth) and the Ajan Pir Dargah near Sivasagar, among others. Buddhism, on the other hand, first came•clown from Bhutan in the north, and then from Myanmar in ttie east. In fact, the Hayagriba Madhava Temple of Hajo is a place of worship for both Hin-dus and Buddhist alike.

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