Hinduism in Iran

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Hinduism in Iran has a history stretching back to the Middle Ages.


Traces of Historical Vedic religion have been discovered in Iran since about 2nd millennium BCE. During the 1st millennium BCE, Zoroastrianism descended from the Vedic elements, including the Brahminical traditions.[1] Numerous evidences were discovered during the excavation of the temples that were built during the Sasanian Empire's period.[2]

In 1993, a metal plate depiction of an elephant-headed figure, interpreted as Ganesha, was discovered in Lorestan Province, Iran, dating back to 1,200 BCE.[3][4]

Hindu based Organisations in Iran prior to 1979[edit]

Prior to the Iranian Revolution of 1979, many Hindu-based missions that proselytize such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and Transcendental meditation, had locations in Iran. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada traveled to Tehran in March 1975 and August 1976. After 1979, these said locations have been abandoned.

Although some Hindu converts in Iran have allegedly stayed since 1979, it is important to note that since conversion from Islam to another religion is apostasy punishable by death sentence in Iran, these remaining converts, if any, will most likely have fled the country to other countries in the past 3 decades (most notably India and Western countries).

Iran's fastest-growing faith seems to be Hinduism of the New-Age guru variety. (Buddhism comes a close second). Sathya Sai Baba, Rajneesh, Mahesh Yogi and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are familiar figures in middle class drawing rooms. For many in the elite, Yoga is far more important than Haj.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roshel Dalal. The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths. Penguin books. p. 405-406. 
  2. ^ "Discover Countries - Afghanistan", by By Facts On File, Inc. p. 5
  3. ^ Nanditha Krishna. Sacred Animals of India. Penguin UK. p. 164. 
  4. ^ "Loving Ganeśa: Hinduism's Endearing Elephant-faced God", by Subramuniya, p. 268
  5. ^ "Many hues of a rainbow". The Hindu. 11 June 2006. 

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