It has been rightly said , “If there is a heaven on this earth, it happens to be in Kashmir”. Kashmir is a region lying in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir comprising of 10 districts.

The state of Jammu & Kashmir came under the Indian Administration after the “Instrument of Accession” which was signed by Raja Hari Singh with Indian President. It remained under the administration till 2019 after which in 2020 it was granted the status of UT. Kashmir has always been main source of attraction for tourists with its offerings like Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Srinagar, Dal Lake & Jhelum River. The state has been constantly haunted with its western adversaries sometimes by terrorism and sometimes by conventional means of war. The history of this UT has been written a lot of times as currently to its 20 Districts in 2 divisions namely Jammu & Kashmir.

Kashmir remains bounded by China to the Northeast, Tibet to the east, Pakistan to the west, Afghanistan to the northwest and the state of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab to the south. The region is predominantly mountainous with deep and narrow valleys and high, barren plateaus. The relatively low-lying Jammu and Punch (Poonch) plains in the southwest are separated by the thickly forested Himalayan foothills and the PirPanjal Range of the Lesser Himalayas form the larger, more fertile, and more heavily populated Vale of Kashmir to the north. The vale, situated at an elevation of about 5300 feet (1600 meters), constitutes the basin of the upper Jhelum River and contains the city of Srinagar. Jammu and the vale lie in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, while the Punch lowlands are largely in POK Kashmir.

The region of J & K prevailed as a state till 2019 till the time NDA led govt scrapped away the article 370 giving it a title of Union Territory thus parting its way from Ladakh which was made another UT. The climate of the region ranges from subtropical in the south-western lowlands to alpine throughout the high mountain areas. Precipitation is variable; it is heavier in areas that can be reached by the monsoonal winds west and south of the great ranges and sparse to the north and east where continental conditions prevail. As per 2011 the region of J&K accounts the population of approximately 1.80 Crore as per comparison from 1.34 Crore from the census of 2011.

The culture of Kashmir encompasses the spoken language, written literature, cuisine, architecture, traditions, and history of the Kashmiri people native to the northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The culture of Kashmir was influenced by the Persian as well as Central Asian cultures after the Islamic invasion of Kashmir. Kashmiri culture is heavily influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism and later by Islam. The people in the region of J&K area are Muslim in the west and Hindu in the east and speak Hindi, Punjabi and Dogri. The inhabitants of the Vale of Kashmir and the Pakistani areas are mostly Muslim and speak Urdu and Kashmiri. The staple food of Kashmir remains rice. Kashmir draw its links with vedic art of ancient times. Kashmiri bakarkhani has special place in the Kashmiri cuisine. Kashmiri Hindus celebrate Herath (Shivratri), GaadBatt and Tikytsoram as their festivals & on the other hand Eid-al-fitr, Nouroz, Eid-al-adha remains the main festivals for Kashmiri Muslims. Music has always been into the heart of people here and Sufiana Kalam & Chakri remains the primary music styles here. The economy of Jammu and Kashmir was predominantly dependent on agriculture and related activities. Horticulture played a vital role in the economic development of the state; produce included apples, apricots, cherries, pears, plums, almonds and walnuts. The Doda district, rich in high-grade sapphire, had active mines until the 1989 insurgency: in 1998, the government discovered that smugglers had occupied these mines and stolen much of the resource. Industrial development was constrained by the extreme mountainous landscape and power shortage. Jammu and Kashmir was one of the largest recipients of grants from India: in 2004, this amounted to US$812 million. Tourism, which was integral to the economy, witnessed a decline owing to the insurgency, but foreign tourism later rebounded and in 2009, the state was one among the top tourist destination in India. The economy was also benefited by Hindu pilgrims who visited the shrines of Vaishno Devi and Amarnath Temple annually.

Kashmir as it signifies has a wide spectrum of domain to develop and grow in itself in terms of secondary and tertiary sectors like industries, education, civil services and of course in politics. However, the sanctity of this holy land dwells home to bit negativities but as hope and optimism eliminates these out, undoubtedly Kashmir remains the Pride of India.

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