Hinduism is a universal religion that is centered in India and Nepal. Overall Hinduism has over 900 million adherents worldwide.
Hinduism is very unique universal religion as it has no known founder, but in some ways is considered the oldest religion in the world because elements have stretched back thousands of years. The religion itself is hard to track because of the vast array of parcatices and beliefs found in it.
Hinduism originated in the Indus Valley region of India and thiurhgout time has mainly remained in India, however it has spread all over the world. One of the first places it spread was Southeast Asia and arrived there through trade. It than diffused to African countries through relocation diffusion because of the British Empire taking Hindus to the region. It eventually reached the US in the mid-1800s and now the US has the 8th largest Hindu population.
There are 4 main branches of Hinduism including; Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Smartism.
Saivite Hindus worship the supreme god Siva, the Compassionate One. Shaktas worship the Supreme as the Divine Mother, Shakti, or Devi. Vaishnivites worship Lord Vishnu and His incarnations. Smartas worship Ganesha, Siva, Sakti, Vishnu, Surya, and Skanda.
Hinduism has a ton of symbols, more than many other religions. Some of the big symbols include Om (or Aum), Swatstika, Tilak, Lingam, and Bindi.
Major Beliefs of the Hindu faith are that there is a cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that is governed by Karma. They believe that the soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and it's next incarnation is dependent on how the previous life was led. There are a number of deities associated with Hinduism but most Hindus believe in a Supreme God that is represented by the deities.
Hindus sacred scripture is a volume called the Veda in which they draw on a belief system known as dharma.
Hindus worship is called Puja and is most commonly done in their own home at a small alter or shrine. This is done as an indivuadual act and not communal. There are Hindu temples and each part of the building has a spiritual importance.
A Hindu temple during a festival