Hinduism,as per the historians, exists since before 5000 or more years.The word "Hindu" is derived from the name of the river "Indus" in northern India. In ancient times the river was called 'Sindhu', but it was called as river "Hindhu", by the Persians who migrated to India.The names Hinduastan and Hindus, was derived from it.Thus the religion followed by the Hindus came to be known as 'Hinduism'.
As per the experts,the evolution of Hinduism is divided into three periods like-The Ancient (6500 BCE-1000 AD), The Medieval (1000-1800 AD), and The Modern (1800 AD to present).Hinduism means "Sanatan Dharma" which is a Sanskrit word meaning,'An Eternal Law'.Hinduism is the world's third largest and oldest religion after Christianity and Islam.Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder.
Hinduism is a religion with various gods and goddesses.It is also believed that there is only one Power(God),with various versions and faces.Before Hinduism there existed another religion in India called Brahmanism,which was followed by Brahmans who were the spiritual and moral guides of the Indian society. Brahman was a close sect but they gradually started accepting others into their sect and so was created Hinduism.The Brahmans even accepted Buddha as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
According to Hinduism, three Gods rule the world. Brahma-the creator,Vishnu-the preserver and Shiva-the destroyer.Respectively.their consorts are Goddess Sarasvati(Art and Inteligence), Goddess Lakshmi(Prosperity and wealth)and Goddess Parvati who is worshipped as Kali or Durga.
The other main Gods and Goddesses are-Elephant God,Ganesha,the son of Shiva-Parvati.Monkey God,Hanuman,the son of Wind God,Shakti, Goddess of power.Goddesses are referred to as 'Ma' means Mother.
Hindus do not follow all the Gods. Some worship Vishnu(Vaishnaites) . Shiva(Shaivites),Ganesha, Lakshmimata,Saraswatimata,Suryadev etc.Some worship Parvati as Kalimata or Durgamata.However,shri. Ganesha,Ram and Krishna are worshipped all over India.There are four main castes in Hinduism,like-Brahmin,Kshatriya,Vaishya and Shudra and also there exist many sub castes as per the geological range.
Hindus worship gods as per their personal professions.Like,the wrestlers worship Lord Hanuman, the symbol of physical strength.Businessmen worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth.The artists worship the goddess Saraswati.While begining a new venture,Ganesha is worshipped,who removes the obstacles.
Hinduism believes that a person's fate is determined according to his 'Karmas'(deeds).which decides the quality of life in the next incarnation.The good souls will get 'Moksha'(liberationfrom life and no further incarnation). After the death,the Hindus cremate the body so that the soul should not have any attachment behind.The Hindu sacred books are Scriptures,Vedas and Puran.
Ramayana and Mahabharta are the most popular Hindu books.The chapters in the Mahabharat which are Krishna's philosophy are called "Bhagvad Gita",which the Major sacred book for Hindus.
The main Holy places for Hindus are Rameshwaram,Dwarka,Puri and Badrinath,whereas other holy places are Kashi,Banaras,Varanasi, Rishikesh, Nasik, Ujjain and many other places.The holy rivers are Saraswati, Godavri, Yamuna,while the river Ganges which is called as GangaMa is the holiest and worshipped by all Hindus.
Hindus holy animals are peacocks,cobra(Naag) and cow.Tulsi plant is worshipped by Hindus.
Hinduism came in to existance after the historical meeting between the Aryans and Dravidians.Some claim that Hinduism is an Aryan culture whereas the others beleive it to be a Dravidian culture.