Kashmir is situated in the northern precincts of the two neighbouring countries that are Pakistan and India. It is authoritatively it is known as Jammu and Kashmir. The state of Kashmir is world famous for its spectacular beauty. People at home and outside have christened Kashmir as the ‘Switzerland of the East’.
The core of the region is a very fertile in the state of Kashmir. This area is called The Valley, or The Valley of Kashmir. One will notice that the valley is a sandwich between the Himalayas and the Pir Panjal range.
The climate is considered mild over here and the region gets a generous amount of water from the fast, flowing rivers of the valley. The Kashmir valley spreads over a region of about 222,237 square kilometres, or 85,800 square mile. There are two peaks, namely Mount Godwin Austen/K2 and Nanga Parbat. Both are at an altitude of 8,611 metres, or 28,250 feet and 8,123 metres, or 26,650 feet, respectively. Both exist in North of Kashmir.
The River Indus flows via the state of Kashmir. The River Jhelum flows past the valley of Kashmir. The mountains have a huge treasure of valuable timber forests. The residents of this region of Jammu and Kashmir lead a life of simplicity and a genuine feeling. The practice of dishonesty is missing from the lives of the locals. Life here is very much varied, than the other neighbouring states. Food and dress habits and language are totally different, yet distinctive. However, the region of Ladakh is in sync with Tibet.
The population of Kashmir is made up of about 12 million people. About 70% of the census comprises of Muslims. The remaining part is made up of Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus. The Hindus concentrate chiefly on the regions to the south and around the city of Jammu.
The east houses the Ladakh area. Here, one will find that the main people are Buddhists, and they are Tibetans. A large number of people are engaged in agriculture. Others indulge in small industries. The industries provide exotic shawls carpets and rugs. It is to be noted that the wool of Kashmir is very famous. It is used in the making of shawls and carpets. A peculiar trend prevails in Jammu and Kashmir.
The culture, ethnicity and the language vary from region to the region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Two-thirds of the population practise the religion of Islam, a greater number of practitioners compared to other Indian states. The Hindus fill up the other portion. There exist other minorities of people. They are the Buddhists and the Sikhs. The state’s certified language is Urdu.
The people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir are simple, amiable and a happy lot. The people of this region are from diverse background. They adorn the valley of Kashmir with pulsating, and colourful distinction mingled with a diversity of characteristics.
The valley is well known for its practice of Tantryan Buddhism. This region is the only place in the entire globe believes Tantryan plays a very important role in one’s life.
The priceless inheritance and the ethnicity, found in the Dogra people are depicted in the art work of the people. The Dogras are a race of people. Most of the land falls under agriculture. The produce of the land, are saffron wheat, corn and rice. The gardens provide fruit and nuts. One can get the taste of walnuts pears and apples. All said and done one cannot miss out the regions share a deep love tolerance and affection. The visitors to this valley are taken to be a part of the family.
The Kashmiri people have contributed their expertise in sciences, philosophy, poetry, storytelling and others. The Kashmiri handicrafts come in the form of the Pashmina shawls, papier- mache items, woodwork and silk carpets. These articles have gained international recognition.
Celebrations and festivities of this valley play a very important role. They bring a new lease of life into the valley. It is during this time of the year that monotony, tiredness and the dull, daily chores of life are stored away. The festivals are very much celebrated in grandeur Some of the festivals are, Id-ul-fitr, Hemis festival, Diwali, Loshar festival and Navratras.
The tourists, while on tour of the valley, will witness the Indian culture, with an aura of secularism. People participate in each other’s festivities with passion and zeal. The local residences show off excellent form of carpentry. Consequently, the inside of these houses are warm and cosy. Houses that are brick built have pagoda –like roof tops.
Agriculture plays an important role. Most of the people of the valley practise survival agriculture. They are different types grown in terraced slopes. The crops grown are modified to suit the home conditions. Rice is the common and staple crop of the people. It is planted in the month of May and harvested sometime at the end of September. Apart from rice, other crops are also grown.
They are corn, pulses, millet, peas, and beans. Cotton and tobacco are also grown along with rice, are summer crops. Wheat and barley are the main spring crops. Many temperate fruits and vegetables are seen in the market. These are grown on well-drained, rich organic soil.
Sericulture is of importance here silk is manufactured in large quantity. The large orchards in the valley of Kashmir produce apples peaches, pears almonds cherries and walnut. These are cash crops that are exported. Saffron is grown only in this part of India.
Lakes play a good part in the cultivation of vegetables and flowers. They grow in reclaimed marshland. One will see artificial floating vegetable and flower gardens. The lakes also feed the valley with fish and water chestnut.
Cultivation in Ladakh mainly revolved around the principal valleys of the rivers Indus, Shyok and Suru. In the year 1970, seeds of fruit and vegetables, were planted. They over the years they grew to be orchards and fields respectively. Pastoral activity like yak breeding and herding became a main player in the economy of Ladakh. Side by side cattle, sheep and goats were reared. It is to be known that the Kashmiri goat is bred for its cashmere for fine textiles.
The Gujjar and Gaddi are tribal people who trade in livestock. They are also familiar with the practice of seasonal migration of their animals in the steep mountains. The mountains provide fodder to the livestock and rich timber for export.
The tourism industry is a very important means of livelihood in this region of Jammu and Kashmir. The state is internationally acclaimed as one of the top tourist spots in the world, and many individuals have indulged in the tourism business, a booming market, catering to the livelihood of the people. People play guides, transporters and hoteliers.
Apart from the major occupations mentioned, the people of the valley also indulge in the production exquisite art and craft items such as carpets, silverware, silks, namdas, papier mache, chain stitch and crewel furnishing copperware, walnut wood carving, basketry, phirans and shawls. There also exist in Jammu and Kashmir, the minerals, gems and jewellery industries.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is also famous for its horticulture, floriculture and electronic industries. The people of this state show the people of the rest of India, the path to achieve happiness in life despite all odds.
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