One can find people of different faiths in
Andhra Pradesh -
Hindus, Muslims (around Hyderabad and Secunderabad), Buddhists and
Christians. But the principal religious groups are the Hindus, Christians,
The Hindus consists of 'Brahmins', 'Kshatriyas', 'Vaishyas' and 'Shudras'. There are also tribes who cannot be categorised with these but are nevertheless an integral part of the Hindu Community. There are also "Virashaivas" who are the followers of the religious reformers 'Sri Basaveswara'.
Tribal Religious Beliefs & Customs
The religion of the hill tribes is based on superstition and animism, for being forest-dwellers, living in close association with nature, they are in need of protection from the elements all the time. All their deities such as 'Jakara', 'Takaurani', 'Pinerani', 'Baripennu', 'Dharavipennu' etc, bear a close resemblence to the Andhra 'Gramadevas', and their shrines are situated in remote places such as isolated trees, a high hill peak, or an inaccessible pool.
The worship to these deities generally demands sacrifices, and buffaloes, goats, pigs, and fowls are slaughtered for the occasion. Witchcraft is also widely believed in, the witches being credited with powers to transform themselves into tigers who can plague their victims by causing their limbs to wither away, or sucking their blood by means of a string attached to their persons.
Islam & Christianity
Even though Christianity does not recognise any caste system, but still they are found in large number. Most of them are converted Christians. Muslims are found in almost all the places in Andhra Pradesh. The important groups among them are 'Shaik', 'Syed', 'Mughal' and 'Pathan'.
Buddhism is the fourth largest religion of the world after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. It is known to have flourished during the 1st century AD in Andhra Pradesh. The Buddhist pilgrims, Fahiyan and Hieun t`sang have made references to the Sriparvata hill, which is in the Nagarjunakonda valley of the same river Krishna. After the decline of Buddhism, the Hindu religion would appear to have re-established its authority.