The Vedic period religions laid the foundation of the religious practices that are continued till date in modern India. These religions arose from the sacred scriptures that were composed during the Vedic period. These scriptures founded the very base of Hinduism in India. The scriptures that talk of the various religious practices are basically the four Vedas namely Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. The Upanishads are also considered to be a part of the Vedas and contain valuable information regarding the rituals and religions of Vedic Age.
The principles of religions in Vedic Era were basically laid down by the priests, who were the highest class of people in the society. They were the ones who performed the rituals, chanted hymns and read out holy texts in temples and functions. The texts recorded in the Vedas were supposed to have divine power and were to be chanted perfectly with the right tone, pronunciation and emphasis. This was believed to make the hymns effective to the hilt and gain the maximum power out of it.
Religion in Early Vedic Period: Religion in early Vedic period revolved around crude forms of worshipping which basically includes nature worship. This means that people in the early Vedic period worshipped different forms of nature as god like sun, earth, moon, wind, rain, and other natural phenomena. Since there were no scientific explanations for natural phenomena like rain, thunder, wind, etc. people feared them and thus worshipped them. Chanting of prayers and hymns were a common practice to invoke the Gods and it was normal to sacrifice animals in the name of religion.
Religion in Later Vedic Period: The later Vedic age saw the increase in powers of the priests and they formed the highest class in the society. Religious practices were refined and worship of Gods in the form of idols gained importance. Animal sacrifice also increased during this period. With rituals and hymns taking center stage, the evolution of Hindu religion took place. Nature worship gave rise to new beliefs and new Gods. The duty of imparting the religious know how to people was the duty of the priests.