India Religious Records

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Prevailing Religions of the British Indian Empire, 1909

Buddhist Records[edit | edit source]

Buddhist temples keep records of death and cremations performed by and for the temple, and names of pilgrims visiting the temple. These records are kept at each temple. Death and cremation records may contain additional information on the deceased's family members.

Christian Records[edit | edit source]

For information about how to obtain records of Christian denominations see India Church Records.

Hindu Records[edit | edit source]

Prevailing Religions of the British Indian Empire, 1909: Hindus

Hindu Pilgrimage (Bahi)[edit | edit source]

These documents record the names of Hindus who make pilgrimages to sacred centers in India where certain religious rituals or ordinances are performed. They can be used to establishes individual identity and linkage back many generations. Some records date back as far as the 15th Century. However, the great majority are of the 18th Century to the present.

Generally these records include the name of the pilgrim, caste/occupation, birthplace, or family origin, present residence, father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc., sometimes going back many generations on both the maternal and paternal sides. Often names of sons, brothers, nephews, and cousins are given, each relationship being carefully and precisely indicated. Date of visit or register entry is given.

Records can be located in the homes and “offices” of the Panda (Hindu combination priest-businessman) in cities and towns scattered all over India but primarily in the North. The sacred centers are located in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. Most of the centers are in Uttar Pradesh. There is one site in the south in the area of the city of Madura in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Islamic Records[edit | edit source]

Prevailing Religions of the British Indian Empire, 1909: Muslims

Muslim Pilgrimage (Vahi)[edit | edit source]

These documents record the names of Muslim pilgrims who visit certain centers in India where rituals are performed. They are used primarily to establish individual identity and linkage back many generations. Records date from about 1400 to present and can be found in homes and “offices” of Muslim family bards in Northern India.

Islamic Marriages (Kadi)[edit | edit source]

Records of Islamic marriage contracts. They are used to establish individual identity and linkage back two generations. Theoretically generations could be identified back to when the keeping of the record started. Records date from about 1500 to present. Generally these records contain names, ages, and residences of bride and bridegroom. Names and sometimes occupation of father and grandfather. Date of event. Signature of bridegroom. Names and residences of witnesses and names of witnesses fathers. Amount of dower money. They can be found in Mosques and in the houses of the Kazi who is the marriage registrar and judge.

Jainism Records[edit | edit source]

Prevailing Religions of the British Indian Empire, 1909: Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains

Sikhs Records[edit | edit source]