Culture of Kashmir


Culture of Kashmir

The culture of Kashmir refers to the culture and traditions of Kashmir, a region in northern India (consisting of Jammu and Kashmir), northeast Pakistan (Pakistan-administered Kashmir consisting of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan) and the Chinese territory of Aksai Chin.

The culture of Kashmiri is a diverse blend and highly influenced by northern South Asian as well as Central Asian culture. Along with its scenic beauty, Kashmir is famous for its cultural heritage; it amalgamates Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies and has envolved s composite culture based on the values of humanism and tolerance.[1]


Contents

History

Background

India

Ladakh is famous for its unique Indo-Tibetan culture. Chanting in Sanskrit and Tibetan language forms an integral part of Ladakh's Buddhist lifestyle. Annual masked dance festivals, weaving and archery are an important part of traditional life in Ladakh. Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa, noodle soup; and tsampa, known in Ladakhi as Ngampe, roasted barley flour. Typical garb includes gonchas of velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots, and gonads or hats. People, adorned with gold and silver ornaments and turquoise headgears throng the streets during various Ladakhi festivals.

The Dumhal is a famous dance in the Kashmir valley, performed by men of the Wattal region. The women perform the Rouff, another traditional folk dance. Kashmir has been noted for its fine arts for centuries, including poetry and handicrafts. Shikaras, traditional small wooden boats, and houseboats are a common feature in various lakes and rivers across the Valley.

The Constitution of India does not allow people from regions other than Jammu and Kashmir to purchase land in the state. As a consequence, houseboats became popular among those who were unable to purchase land in the Valley and has now become an integral part of the Kashmiri lifestyle.

Kawa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilled winter climate of Kashmir. Most of the buildings in the Valley and Ladakh are made from softwood and is influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and Islamic architecture.

Jammu's Dogra culture and tradition is much similar to that of neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. Traditional Punjabi festivals such as Lohri and Vaisakhi are celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm throughout the region, along with Accession Day, an annual holiday which commemorates the accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the Dominion of India.[2] After Dogras, Gujjars form the second-largest ethnic group in Jammu. Known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle, Gujjars are also found in large numbers in the Kashmir valley. Similar to Gujjars, Gaddis are primarily herdsmen who hail from the Chamba region in Himachal Pradesh. Gaddis are generally associated with emotive music played on the flute. The Bakkarwalas found both in Jammu and the Vale of Kashmir are wholly nomadic pastoral people who move along the Himalayan slopes in search for pastures for their huge flocks of goats and sheep.

Pakistan

The culture of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan bears many similarities and resemblances to Northern Punjab (Potohari) culture in Punjab province. Many natives of Pakistani Kashmir speak Potwari and the Pahari languages. The Pothohar Plateau in Punjab and western Azad Kashmir has a rich, ancient local culture. There is a sizable Kashmiri diaspora throughout Punjab and other countries worldwide, mainly of Pakistani origin.

Art

The Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages is a Government of Jammu and Kashmir department dedicated to the promotion of Kashmiri arts.

Ethnic groups

Kashmiri people are predominantly Muslim (see Islam in Kashmir) although there are sizeable minorities which follow a variety of religions and beliefs, including Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism. The Hindus of Kashmir are known as Kashmiri Pandits.

Cuisine

Festivals and observances

Language and literature

The Kashmiri language is the main language spoken in Kashmir, although many other Indo-Aryan languages are also prevalent. Kashmiri literature has a rich history stretching back to hundreds of years.

Music

Philosophy

References


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