Baharistan-i-Shahi is an ancient Persian manuscript by an anonymous author, which scrupulously describes the political history of medieval Jammu and Kashmir
up to 1614. It also throws light over some aspects of the Kashmiri society of that time like its feudalistic character, group and factional alignments, communal tensions and recurrent internal power struggles. A detailed topographical description of the state can also be viewed in this manuscript.
The Chronicle begins with a legendary account of the creation of Kashmir and a synopsis on the Hindu rule. A detailed description on the Shahmiri and Chak Sultans of Kashmir follows, down to the year 1614. The historical document also gives a deep insight into the lives of Baihaqi Sayyids, a group of Sayyids of Iranian origin who played a major role in the affairs of the kingdom. Relations between the ruling Chak Sultans of Kashmir and the Mughals had been mentioned in the concluding part of the text. It also has a rather bleak description of the final annexation of Kashmir by Akbar in 1587.
Baharistan-i-Shahi has been a major reference material for historians from the 17th century to the present day. Since written in Persian, it remained a tough nut to crack for the non-Persian scholars and historians, until an English translation was made from a collated text of the two surviving manuscripts preserved in the India Office Library and the British Museum. Exhaustive footnotes have been provided to enhance its clarity and readability.