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The term “KASHMIR”, until the mid 19th century, only denoted the area of the Valley of Kashmir that lies between the Himalayas and Pir Panjal Range, in present times, the term denotes a larger area, that includes;
Indian administrated JAMMU AND KASHMIR
Indian administrated territory of LADAKH
Pakistani administrated AZAD KASHMIR
Chinese administrated territory of AKSAI CHIN
The word KASHMIR has derived from the Sanskrit language, in Sanskrit, the word ‘ka’ means water and ‘shimira’ means desiccate, hence meaning “a desiccated land”. a popular local belief is that the land of Kashmir is desiccated from water and geologists agree with that the land was formerly a lake and that lake drained through the gap of BARAMULLA/VARAHAMULA. And the word CASHMERE was the spelling, that was used for the valley during the seventeenth century and in present times, is still spelled this way in some countries. To sort out this confusion we have a separate article titled KASHMIR VS CASHMERE, you can check it out.
The word Kashmir can be found in various hindu scriptures like- Mahabharata, Matsya Purana, and Vayu Purana.
Kashmir itself is called/known as Kasheer in local/kashmiri language.
During the ancient and medieval periods, Valley was highly dominated by Hinduism and Buddhism. The Buddhist Mauryan Emperor ASHOKA is often credited as the founder of the old capital of Kashmir, called back then – Shrinagari, now known as the summer capital of the Kashmir valley – Srinagar.
The last ruler of the Hindu Lohara Dynasty in Kashmir, a notable and mention-worthy name of the QUEEN KOTA RANI, a ruler who is often credited for saving the Srinagar city by getting a canal constructed, the canal named after her is known as “kutte kol”. The canal saves the city from frequent floods by receiving the water at the entry poin of the city, from the river JHELUM and then merges again with the river, beyond the city limits.
SHAH MIR DYNASTY
Shams-ud-din shah mir, arrived in Valley in 1313, and ruled (1339-42) as the first Muslim ruler of Valley. The shah mir dynasty, established in 1339 by Shah Mir, introduced the PERSIAN language in Valley.
Akbar conquered The Valley, then it became the northernmost region of India as well as the summertime pleasure ground for the Mughals.
After the Mughals, the AFGHAN DURRANI EMPIRE ruled Kashmir, until the 1820 Sikh triumph.
After four centuries of Muslim rule under the MUGHAL and the AFGHAN regime, Valley was conquered by the SIKHS leaded by RANJIT SINGH OF PUNJAB.
GULAB SINGH AND PRINCELY STATE
Gulab Singh, a youngster in the house of Jammu, during the rule of Ranjit Singh, rose in power and influence and get appointed as the RAJA OF JAMMU in 1822, after that he conquered RAJOURI, KISHTWAR, KARGIL, LADAKH, and BALTISTAN and surrounded the Valley with the help of his able and powerful general – ZORAWAR SINGH KAHLURIA.
When the first ANGLO-SIKH WAR (war fought between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company, in and around the districts of Punjab) was happening, Gulab Singh proved himself as a mediator and advisor for Sir Henry Lawrence, two treaties were introduced, by the first – THE STATE OF LAHORE\WEST PUNJAB WAS HANDED OVER TO THE BRITISH EMPIRE, and by the second – BRITISH HANDED OVER ALL THE HILLY AND MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY SITUATED ON THE EAST OF THE INDUS AND THE WEST OF THE RAVI MEANS THE VALLEY OF KASHMIR TO GULAB SINGH. Thus the princely state of Kashmir and Jammu came in to existence with combined regions, religions and ethnicities.
Ranbir Singh’s grandson who ascended the throne in 1925, in 1947, when the British empire ended and the situation of the partition of the newly independent India happened, Hari Singh had to choose between the domino of India and the domino of Pakistan, he hesitates to do this and because of the delay in the decision,
In 1947 the former princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, became a disputed territory and in present times, is administrated by three countries – INDIA, PAKISTAN, AND CHINA.
JAMMU AND KASHMIR – a land surrounded with Himalayan mountains, enriched with environmental beauty, decorated with an amazing variety of flora and fauna, wonderful wildlife, blessed with beautiful and different weathers , filled with people of different religions, beliefs, ideologies and cultures, have it’s own menu of different delicacies, is worthy of it’s title of THE PARADISE OF EARTH, as the land itself had seen enormous and devastated situations, despite all that had happened, the chinars are still standing tall in pure glory with proud, the rivers of the valley are still flowing with smoothness and the roads are still taking the walkers to the beautiful destinations, and people of the land are still having this curve on their lips – smile. And when KHUSRO said that “if there is heaven on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this” for Valley, he was for sure were not making a mistake.
For any mistake/feedback/comment/suggestion/advice, pour your heart out in the comment section and let us know your thoughts. And for any other queries/information about Valley, or you are planning a trip to Valley, do check out our other posts as well, so you don’t miss out on any opportunity of making your memories of Valley more memorable.
Written by Muba Noor
Feature Image Photographer : Zaheen Guna