Hinduism in Sri Lanka

Overview of the presence, role and impact of Hinduism in Sri Lanka / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Hinduism is one of Sri Lanka's oldest religions, with temples dating back over 2,000 years.[2] As of 2011, Hindus made up 12.6% of the Sri Lankan population.[3] They are almost exclusively Tamils, except for small immigrant communities from India and Pakistan (including the Sindhis, Telugus and Malayalis).

Quick facts: Total population, Religions, Scriptures, Lang...
Sri Lankan Hindus
Hindu temple festival in Colombo in 1900s.
Total population
2,561,299 (2012)[1]
12.6% of its total population
Shaivism (majority)
Vaishnavism and Shaktism (minority)
Ramayana and Vedas
Old Tamil and Sanskrit (sacred)
Tamil (majority) and Sinhala (minority)

According to the 1915 census, Hindus made up about 25% of the Sri Lankan population (including indentured labourers brought by the British).[4] Hinduism predominates in the Northern and Eastern Provinces (where Tamils remain the largest demographic), the central regions and Colombo, the capital. According to the 2011 census, there are 2,554,606 Hindus in Sri Lanka (12.6% of the country's population). During the Sri Lankan Civil War, many Tamils emigrated; Hindu temples, built by the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, maintain their religion, tradition, and culture.[5][6]

Most Sri Lankan Hindus follow the Shaiva Siddhanta school of Shaivism, and some follow Shaktism. Sri Lanka is home to the five abodes of Shiva: Pancha Ishwarams, holy places believed to have been built by King Ravana. Murugan is one of the country's most popular Hindu deities, venerated by Hindu Tamils. The Buddhist Sinhalese and Aboriginal Veddas venerate the local rendition of the deity, Katharagama deviyo.[7][8]

Yogaswami of Jaffna is a significant modern Hindu religious figure in Sri Lankan history. A 20th-century mystic, he was the Satguru and counselling sage of the country's Tamil Hindu population. The Ramakrishna Mission is active in the Amparai and Batticaloa districts, and the Shaiva Siddhanta school is prevalent in the north.[9] Yogaswami was the 161st head of the Nandinatha Sampradaya, and was succeeded by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.[10]

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