The region of Jammu & Kashmir is India’s northernmost state. Over the years, several rulers, empires and dynasties have contributed to making the Kashmir the cultural melting pot that it is today. However, most travellers today are reluctant to visit Kashmir owing to the political volatility of the area. While this is a fair enough judgement to make, it is saddening to see that not many people are entirely aware of the history of the Kashmir region, which also happens to be one of India’s – and possibly the world’s – most beautiful mountainous landscapes. Thus, here are a few things about Kashmir that you aren’t likely to discover through one of those Kashmir packages that are so abundant in the tourism industry. |
For one, the word Kashmir is believed to have come from a combination of the Sanskrit words ‘ka’ (meaning water) and ‘shimeera’ (meaning dried up). The Valley of Kashmir was once purportedly a lake, which was then drained by the grandson of Brahma, and the son of Marichi, the great sage Kashyapa, who did so as a means of creating a new habitat for the Brahmins. The lake which he drained was known as the ‘Satisar’, after Goddess Sati, who is famous in mythology for being Lord Shiva’s partner. Jammu on the other handed is believed to have been founded sometime around the 13th or 14th Century B.C by the king Jamboolochan. According to legend, Jamboolochan, when out hunting one day, came across a water body where he witnessed the sight of a lion and a goat drinking water. Profoundly affected by this harmony, the king established the city of Jamboo around the spot of the Tawi River, and this town has since become known by its modern name of Jammu.
There exists a book called the ‘Rajatarangini’, which roughly translated means ‘The River of Kings’, which chronicles the history of Kashmir and surrounding parts of the Indian sub-continent. The book was written in the 12th Century B.C. by the Brahmin Kalhana, and describes both the heritage and politics of Kashmir, as set in verse by the author. Through this book, Kalhana reveals that the first king of Kashmir was Gonanda I, a royal man with important connections in the Magadha.
In the modern history of Kashmir, the figures of Lord Mountbatten and Maharaja Hari Singh play a pivotal role. During the Partition of India, the province of Kashmir was allowed to internally decide whether it wanted to remain autonomous or to accede to India or Pakistan. Due to militant insurgency from Pakistani forces, the Maharaja appealed to Lord Mountbatten for military assistance. Mountbatten was quick to exploit this opportunity, and agreed to provide Hari Singh with his resources only if Kashmir would accede to India. And so it was that the Valley of Kashmir came to be recognised as Indian Territory.
Hopefully, this little glimpse into Kashmir’s past will encourage you to delve further into the history of whichever place it is you choose to visit. Now go book those holiday packages!
Ninad Chaudhari works as a Web UI Designer / Developer with Cox & Kings. In his spare time, Ninad is an ardent photographer and loves the opportunities that holiday packages to various destinations give him time to pursue his passion. His visited kashmir on packages from Cox and Kings and his albums are replete with pictures of this tour.
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