Throughout its history, Karnataka has been the preferred sanctuary for a myriad of religions and faiths. Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism and Christianity are the major religions in Karnataka. In a fine example of communal harmony, all these religions of Karnataka have peacefully co-existed over the years.
Of all the Karnataka religions, Hinduism enjoys an omnipresent stature. The succession of Hindu dynasties in Karnataka has patronized religious activities to a great extent while emphasizing on the building of temples and shrines. Within the confines of Hinduism, there are sects worshipping the deities of Lord Shiva and Vishnu. Banavasi, Basavakalyan, Udupi and Sringeri are the prominent Hindu pilgrimages of Karnataka.
Islam flourished in Karnataka with the emergence of powerful Muslim kingdoms. Besides spawning a plethora of monuments and forts, these dynasties established some of the magnificent mosques of Karnataka. With the creation of Deccan Sultanates and the invasion of Mughal rulers, Islam became the predominant religion in regions like Gulbarga and Bijapur. The Khwaja Bande Nawaz Durgah in Gulbarga is regarded as one of the holiest Muslim pilgrimages in Karnataka.
Karnataka has been a hotbed for the religion of Jainism. Some of the most sacred Jain pilgrimages like Mudabidri and Shravanabelagola are located in Karnataka. The enormous statues of Lord Bahubali in Dharmasthala and Shravanabelagola attract Jain devotees in large numbers.
Sikhs are found in scattered locations of the state. The Gurudwara Nanak Jhira in Bidar is a prominent Sikh pilgrimage and this shrine was supposed to have been consecrated by Guru Nanak.
Christianity is very much prevalent in Karnataka and some of India’s most splendid churches are found in Mysore and Bangalore.