The state of Jammu and Kashmir is situated in the northern part of India. It has a long history of around 4,000 years. Tradition says that Kashmir was originally a lake which was drained by the sage Kashyap and thereafter the place was inhabited by
Brahmins. The name Kashmir is also mentioned in the epic Mahabharata. Jammu and Kashmir has been ruled by Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh rulers in past. It became a part of India in 1948.
The state is bounded by Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the states of Punjab and Himachal. There are several mountain ranges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir: Pir Panjal, Himalayas, Zanskar,
Karakoram. The state covers an area of 222,236 sq km, and has a population of 10 million. The climate of Jammu region is tropical while it is semi-arctic in Ladakh and temperate in Srinagar region. Srinagar serves as the capital in summer, and Jammu in winter. The other important towns are the district headquarters of Anantnag, Pulwama, Badgam, Baramulla, Kupwara,
Kathua, Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Leh and
Buddhism are the major religions, and
Hindi, Dogri, Pahari, and Ladakhi are the languages spoken.
Jammu is often called the 'City of Temples.' Some of the important temples are the Gauri Kund Temple, Sudh Mahadev Temple, Shiva Temple, Peer Badesar Temple, Ranbireshwar Temple, and those housed in the Parmandal Temple Complex. Sheesh Mahal,
Panch Peer, Amar Mahal Museum and Library,
Ziarat baba Roshan Shah Wali, Leh Palace, and
Ziarat Baba Buddan Shah are some of the other places to visit.
The majority of the people depend on agriculture. Paddy, wheat and maize are the major crops. Barley, bajra and jowar are cultivated in some parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Handicrafts are given top priority, and Kashmir products are much in demand both inside and outside India. Saffron is the most expensive spice cultivated here. The fauna includes leopard, cheetah, deer, wild sheep, bear, brown musk shrew, muskrat, varieties of snakes, snow partridge, and pheasants.
Shivratri, Tihar, Navroze,
Baisakhi, Bahu Mela, Chaitre Chaudash, Purmandal Mela, Jhiri Mela, and Mansar Mela are the main festivals celebrated. Hemis festival is held in July and Ladakh festival in September. The major performances are Rouf, Hafiz Nagma, Habba Khatun, Jagarna, Bakhan, and Dogri.