Kashmir, known for its pristine beauty, snow-clad Himalayan peaks, flushing meadows, gurgling brooks, and cascading waterfalls, besides being an attraction for tourists world over, has been an adobe of Sufi saints for centuries.
The valley of kashmir is known or being the pir vaer or the Alcove of Sufis and saints. The Sufi shrines dotting Kashmir’s landscape explain their importance to Kashmir’s culture, social fabric and rich tradition of spirituality.
The great religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam, all flourished in kashmir. Buddhists of Ladakh, Hindus of Jammu and Muslims of the Kashmir Valley besides Sikhs and Christians have lived in co-existence over the years.
Mughal Emperor Jahangir o his deathbed was asked whether he wanted anything, his reply was… “Only kashmir”. The centuries-old passion for kashmir valley has made it most desired destination among Indian and foreign tourists. It has been an escape from the scorching heat of Indian plain for Mughals and domestic travelers, Whereas for the international travelers right fro British Rule the trekking, camping, mountaineering, angling, cycling and mere leisure has been the source of attraction. Growing holidaying culture among Indian tourists has opened new vistas for the tourism industry. Today domestic tourist markets like Maharastra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and northern states are targeted for generation of round the year business by both private and government sector. The international visitor mostly prefers to travel during summer (June to August) which is suitable for trekking in higher reaches of valley and winter is equally fancied for Skiing in Gulmarg and other new ski destinations. The fascinating four season’s spring, summer, autumn, and winter offer breathtaking environs that are said to rejuvenate even a roasted chicken.
The word Kashmir is said to imply the land desiccated from the water where Ka means water and shimeera mean desiccate. It is believed that this country was split into various little kingdoms known as Kutraj, which indicates that the vast areas were spread towards north and south as part of the vale of kashmir. The Greeks called it ‘Kasperia’ and Chinese traveler Huin Stang entitled it “Kash Mi Lo”, termed as “Cachemir” by Benier, natively called “Kasheer” and most popular as Kashmir across the nations. According to Hindu Mythology, in a huge lake called Satisar, the pleasure lake of goddess Parwati a water demon “Jalodbhava” destroyed all life on shores. The saint by the name of Kashyap Rishi, supposed to be grandson of Brahma was distressed to see the havoc and set on to fight the demon, aided by Hindu Triad, Brahma, Visnu, and Shiva, he drained the water off the lake near Baramula with his prayers and devotion to the lord, the demon was overpowered and entrenched himself underground, goddess Parvati dropped the mountain “Hari Parbat” over demon crushed him to death.
People of Kashmir
People of Kashmir: Robust and hardworking with the acumen to lead almost in every field, education, business, cultivation, handicrafts and now also IT industry. While men are most hospitable, chivalrous ) and good-looking, women are fair complexioned, agile and conscientious. George faster (1783) says that “women of kashmir would be called brunettes in the south of France or Spain”. Bernier wrote Kashmiri’s are celebrated for wit, and considered much more intelligent and ingenious than the Indians. In poetry and science, they are not inferior to Persians. They are also very active and industrious. The traveler G.T Vigne calls Kashmiri the Neapolitan of the east. People in the valley speak mostly a common kashmir language in different dialects, Gojri in higher reaches, Urdu by most of the population with atypical Kashmiri accent and English is spoken with ease by young and old educated ones while all the people in tourism trade are quite familiar with it.
William Moorcroft wrote in 1824 AC “The natives of kashmir have been always considered as among the most lively and ingenious people of Asia, and deservedly so. With a liberal and wise government, they might assume an equally high scale as a moral and intellectual people.