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 (consisting of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan) and the Chinese territory of Aksai Chin.
The culture of Kashmir 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 involved composite culture based on the values of humanism and tolerance.
The most important part of the cultural identity of the Kashmiri people is the Kashmiri(Koshur) language. This language is spoken only in the Valley of Kashmir by the Kashmiri Pandits and Kashmiri Muslims. Besides language, the Kashmiri cuisine and culture has been greatly influenced by Central Asian and Persian cultures for both communities. Cultural music and dance like Wanvun, Rouf, carpet/shawl weaving and Koshur Sufiana forms a very important part of kashmiri identity. It is important to note that Kashmiri culture is predominantly only in the Valley of Kashmir. The other regions of the Larger J&K state, such as Jammu and Ladakh are very different from Kashmir.
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. Kehwa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilled winter climate of Kashmir.
Culture of 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.
Jammu's Dogra culture and tradition is very different from the Kashmiri culture. The Dogra culture is instead 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. 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 outskirts of 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.
The culture of in 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, which are dialects of the larger Punjabi language. The Pothohar Plateau in Punjab and western Azad Kashmir is an extension of Punjabi culture. The people of Azad Kashmir do not speak in Kashmiri language. They speak in languages that are similar to various Punjabi dialects.
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 Kasare known as Kashmiri Pandits.
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.
- Kashmiri Culture
- "J-K Accession Day to be celebrated as Diwali: BJP". Rediff. Retrieved 2007-12-31.