By Keshav Chhabra
Hindu population is estimated to be over one billion. Hindus make up almost 15 per cent of the total world’s population, making it one of the four major religions in the world. While over 90% of Hindu population resides in India, here is a list of countries which have significant Hindu population other than India.
Nepal: A “Hindu state” till January 15 2007, Nepal was declared a secular state in 2007. Almost 81 per cent of the population is Hindu followed by Buddhism (9.04%), Islam (4.38%), Kirat (3.04%) and other religious groups including Christians. Home to the largest mountain peak in the world, the state observes many festivals like Dashain (Vijay Dashmi, a 15-day long festival here), Khicha Puja/ Gai Puja and Bhai Tika along with others.
Mauritius: Famous for its tourist attractions, around 48.5 per cent of the total population of the nation follows Hinduism. Other significant religions are Christianity (32.7%), Islam (17.3%) and Buddhism (0.4%). Though the most famous festival is Maha Shivaratri celebrated around February and March, others like Thaipusam, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali and Holi mark the annual calendar with zest and celebrations.
Fiji: With around one third of its population following Hinduism, the religion flourished here during the colonial expansion of Britishers. Most of the Hindus were brought as cheap labour. Though the country has observed several instances of communal unrest, the beautiful island continues to house around 2,61,000 Hindus according to a 2004 estimate.
Guyana: A nation known for its rich flora and fauna, it has more than 2,00,000 Hindus. Hinduism accounts for around 30 per cent of the total population of the South American nation. Though the majority of population consists of Christianity (around 57%), Muslims and Buddhists account for significant minorities in the state.
Bhutan: A part of the Indian subcontinent, around one fourth of the country’s population follows Hinduism, mostly practiced by Nepalese ethnic groups. The first Hindu temple was established in Thimpu by His Holiness The Je Khenpo, Chief Abbot of Bhutan in 2012. Though a majority follows Buddhism, Hinduism continues to be practiced in the southern parts of Bhutan.