India travel note: Vegetarian restaurants are everywhere, and you will have no problem finding them. Instead of listing everyone of them possible, we, at HappyCow, are listing only the places that either we have dined at, or have been recommended to us by our visitors, or ones that are more popular.
Vegans should be aware that most Indian vegetarian recipes include dairy in the form of either ghee, curd, and/or paneer. Being a vegan in India is not so easy, but being vegetarian is.
In India, with a population of over 1.1 billion, more people are vegetarians than anywhere else on earth.
The majority of Indian vegetarians are vegetarian because of tradition or religious beliefs. Food plays a major role in the practice of religion in India.
During the ancient Aryan Vedic period, meat was consumed after animal sacrifice to the Gods. This slowly changed with the rise of Jainism and Buddhism, since their founders advocated the principle of ahimsa, the practice of non-violence.
The Brahman priests, who advocated animal sacrifices as offerings in the name of religion, also began to preach vegetarianism since it was increasing becoming so popular. The priests eventually began to follow a vegetarian diet themselves. Rural Indian food in the village and small towns is often vegetarian. Food like roots, cereals, pulses, wheat, and rice are the main ingredients of the rural people's diets.
Many Indians, being farmers, find it economical to eat to a vegetarian diet.
In major cities, wealthier Indians tend to be the main consumers of non-vegetarian foods.
Also read about: PETA's report on Indian Milk "business"