|State||Jammu and Kashmir|
|Time zone||IST (UTC+5:30)|
|PIN||193101 (New City), 193102 (Old City), 193103 (Khawajabagh area)|
|Vehicle registration||JK 05|
|Sex ratio||873 ♂/♀|
Baramulla (ˌbærəˈmʊlə) (Urdu; بارہ مولہ Kashmiri; وُرمول, Punjabi, Pahadi) is a city and a municipality in the Baramulla district in the Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir. It is on the bank of the Jhelum River downstream from Srinagar, the state capital. The city was earlier known as Varahamula which is Sanskrit for "boar's molar".
The name Baramulla is derived from the Sanskrit Varahamula (वराहमूल), a combination of varaha (boar) and mul (root or deep) meaning "boar's molar."
According to Hindu teachings, the Kashmir Valley was once a lake known as Satisaras (Parvati's Lake in Sanskrit). Ancient Hindu texts relate that the lake was occupied by the demon Jalodbhava (meaning "originated from water") until Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and struck the mountain at Varahamula. This created an opening for the water to flow out of the lake.
The modern Baramulla was called Varahamulaksetra or Varahaksetra in the ancient days. Originally, it was a suburb of Huviskapura (modern Ushkur). Associated with the Adivaraha, the boar incarnation of Visnu, it was considered very sacred. Consequently many temples and monasteries weren built in the 9th and 10th centuries, during the region of Lalitaditya Muktapida, (Queen) Sugandha, and Ksemagupta, when the cult of Visnu flourished there.
Ancient and medieval
The city of Baramulla was founded by Raja Bhimsina in 2306 B.C. A number of visitors have traveled to Baramulla, including Xuanzang from China and a British historian named Moorcraft. Additionally, Mughal emperors were fascinated by Baramulla. Gateway of the Kashmir Valley, Baramulla was a way station during their visits to the valley. In 1508 A.D., Emperor Akbar, who entered the valley via Pakhil, spent several days at Baramulla. According to Tarikh-e-Hassan, the city was decorated during Akbar's stay. Emperor Jahangir stayed at Baramulla during his visit to Kashmir in 1620.
From the beginning, Baramulla has had religious importance. Hindu Teertha and Buddhist Vihars (monasteries) made the city sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists. During the 15th century, it became important to Muslims as well. Syed Janbaz Wali, who visited the valley with his companions in 1421, chose Baramulla as the center of his mission and was later buried there. His shrine attracts pilgrims from throughout the valley.
Baramulla was the oldest and most-important town in northern Kashmir and Jammu and "Gateway to the Kashmir Valley" (by the Rawalpindi-Murree-Muzaffarabad-Baramulla Road) until 27 October 1947. It was ceded to India when the Maharajah signed the instrument of accession on 26 October 1947. The city is the headquarters of the Baramulla district.
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah addressed a public meeting at Hazuri Bagh, Srinagar, on 1 October 1947 and said, "Till the last drop of my blood, I will not believe in two-nation theory." On 2 October, the Working Committee of the National Conference met under Abdullah's presidency and decided to support accession to India. However, Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to remain independent.
Tribal forces from Pakistan attacked under the code name "Operation Gulmarg" intending to seize Kashmir. They moved along the Rawalpindi-Murree-Muzaffarabad-Baramulla Road on 22 October 1947; the Pakistani soldiers were in civilian clothes. Muzaffarabad fell on 24 October 1947, and the soldiers captured Baramulla the following day. They looted, raped, killed, burned and vandalized shrines and temples. They raped and killed European nuns and nurses. According to Tariq Ali, the local cinema became a "rape center", with atrocities continuing for several days.
Alastair Lamb wrote in Incomplete Partition, Roxford 1997, pp. 186–187:
The (tribal) leaders completely lost control over their men, an orgy of killing was the result. This was certainly the case at St. Joseph's College, Convent and Hospital, the site of what was to become one of the most publicised incidents of the entire Kashmir conflict. Here nuns, priests and congregation, including patients in the hospital, were slaughtered; and at the same time a small number of Europeans, notably Lt. Colonel D.O. Dykes and his wife, an Englishwoman preparing to leave the hospital that day with her new-born baby, Mother Teresalina, a twenty-nine-year-old Spanish nun who had been in Baramulla only a few weeks, as well as Mother Aldertrude, the Assistant Mother Superior, and one Mr. Jose Barretto, husband of the doctor, met their deaths at tribal hands.
Sam Manekshaw (later a field marshal) was a colonel in the Directorate of Military Operations who went to Srinagar with V. P. Menon to assess the situation on 26 October 1947. He later told a journalist:
Fortunately for Kashmir, the tribals were busy raiding, raping all along. In Baramulla they killed Colonel D.O.T. Dykes. Dykes and I were of the same seniority. We did our first year's attachment with the Royal Scots in Lahore, way back in 1934-5. Tom went to the Sikh regiment. I went to the Frontier Force regiment. We'd lost contact with each other. He'd become a lieutenant colonel. I'd become a full colonel. Tom and his wife were holidaying in Baramulla when the tribesmen killed them...
Charles Chevenix Trench wrote in The Frontier Scouts (1985):
In October 1947... tribal lashkars hastened in lorries – undoubtedly with official logistic support – into Kashmir... at least one British Officer, Harvey-Kelly took part in the campaign. It seemed that nothing could stop these hordes of tribesmen taking Srinagar with its vital airfield. Indeed nothing did, but their own greed. The Mahsuds in particular stopped to loot, rape and murder; Indian troops were flown in and the lashkars pushed out of the Vale of Kashmir into the mountains. The Mahsuds returned home in a savage mood, having muffed an easy chance, lost the loot of Srinagar and made fools of themselves.
Tom Cooper of the Air Combat Information Group wrote, "The Pathans appeared foremost interested in looting, killing, ransacking and other crimes against the inhabitants instead of a serious military action."
Biju Patnaik (later Chief Minister of Odisha) piloted the first plane to land at Srinagar airport that morning. He brought 17 soldiers from the 1st Sikh Regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. Dewan Ranjit Rai. The pilot flew low over the airstrip twice to ensure that no raiders were around. Instructions from Prime Minister Nehru’s office were clear: If the airport was taken over by the enemy, they were not to land. Taking a full circle, the DC-3 flew at ground level. Soldiers peered from the aircraft and found the airstrip empty. The raiders were too busy distributing the war booty among themselves in Baramulla. According to Mohammad Akbar Khan (Brigadier-in-Charge, Pakistan) in his War for Kashmir in 1947, "The uncouth raiders delayed in Baramulla for two (whole) days for some unknown reason." It took two weeks for the Indian army to evict the raiders (who had been joined by Pakistani regulars and were well-entrenched) from Baramulla on 9 November 1947. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah spoke to the UN Security Council on 5 February 1948: "The raiders came to our land, massacred thousands of people — mostly Hindus and Sikhs, but Muslims, too — abducted thousands of girls, Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims alike, looted our property and almost reached the gates of our summer capital, Srinagar."
The road network has been improved in Baramulla since 1947, and better educational facilities have been created. Bridges on the Jhelum River have been built (or are planned) to connect the old town on the north bank of the river with the new town on the south bank. Urban renewal in the old town has been attempted by moving residents to the new town. Baramulla is connected by rail with Srinagar, Anantnag, Qazigund and Banihal.
Baramulla is on the Jhelum River, at its highest point. The old town is on the north bank of the river, and the new town is on the south bank. They are connected by five bridges, including a suspension bridge connecting Gulnar Park and Dewan Bagh. Five more bridges are being built or are planned. A bridge will connect the Khanpora and Drangbal areas of the city.
The old town is densely populated and smaller than the new town. Government offices, hospitals, the bus station and most other facilities are in the new town. The railway station is on the eastern end of the new town, on the river. Beyond the old town, the river divides into two channels at Khadanyar (near police headquarters), forming an island known as Eco Park.
Baramulla has cold, snowy winters and mild summers.
|Climate data for Baramulla (1971–1986)|
|Average high °C (°F)||7.0
|Average low °C (°F)||−2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||48
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)||6.6||7.3||10.2||8.8||8.1||5.7||7.9||6.8||3.5||2.8||2.8||5.1||75.6|
The city's population was slightly less than 200,000 in the 2011 census. Baramulla's old town is known as Sher-e-Khas, and its new town as Greater Baramulla. According to the 2011 census, the city's population was 167,986, behind Srinagar, Jammu and Anantnag. Baramulla has an average 66.93 percent literacy rate (61 percent for males and 49 percent for females) higher than the national average. Eleven percent of the population was under age six. Baramulla district and city alike have a majority Muslim and minority Sikh and Hindu population.
Baramulla is the largest grower in the state, with apples being one of the major crops.
St. Joseph's School is the oldest missionary school in the Kashmir valley. It is seen as a pioneer of education for the whole of north Kashmir. Other notable schools include Delhi Public School, Baramulla Public School, Beacon House School, Hanfia School, Noor-ul-Islam School, Guru Nanak Dev School, among others.
Baramulla has a number of government-run schools. Higher secondary schools are known as intermediate colleges. Baramulla has a Kendriya Vidyalaya (central school, a novodaya Vidayala in Shahkot and a Sainik (military) school, both affiliated with the Central Board of Secondary Education.
Baramulla has separate government degree colleges for men and women, and a nursing college associated with the district hospital. The north campus of the University of Kashmir is in Baramulla, and an engineering college has been established.
Baramulla has the government Baramulla Polytechnic College, which was established in 2012. It is in the Kanispora area of Baramulla city. The polytechnic teaches three-year diploma courses in electrical engineering and architecture. The government has approved the project of constructing a medical college in Baramulla which will be named Government Medical College Baramulla.
Baramulla has district, civic, and veterinary hospitals, with radiology (x-ray) and ultrasonography facilities. A new building for the veterinary hospital, costing approximately INR 10 million, is 60 percent completed.
Baramulla has a privately run facility for mothers and children called St Joseph's Hospital. It was started in 1921 when Franciscan Roman Catholic sisters of Mary came to Baramulla from Rawalpindi on a Tonga (carriage). They were invited by the Mill Hill Fathers of London who had established St Joseph’s school Baramulla.
Eco Park is on the island in the middle of Jhelum river on the road from Baramulla town to Uri. It is approached by a wooden bridge. In was developed by J&K Tourism Development Corporation with a blend of modern substructure and natural exquisiteness. This ecological tourism park offers a view with mountains in the background, Jhelum river flowing along the island, and lush, green, well-maintained gardens with some beautifully designed wooden huts. It is one of the best places to visit in the Baramulla and is a popular destination for locals particularly on summer evenings; it is developing into a major tourist attraction as well.
A cable car project and expansion of Eco Park are planned.
Baramulla is about 55 km (34 mi) from Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. National Highway NH-1A connects the city with the rest of the country, and taxi and bus service is available from Srinagar and Jammu. The nearest railway terminus is Jammu Tawi, about 360 km (220 mi) south. The road from Srinagar to Baramulla is regarded as the best motorable and best maintained road in the valley. It is a boulevard surrounded by breathtaking rice fields and meadows.
From Uri and Muzaffarabad
The 123-kilometre (76 mi) road from Muzaffarabad to Baramulla runs along the Jhelum River. It crosses the Line of Control and passes through Uri, 45 km (28 mi) west of Baramulla. The first 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) of the road from Uri to Baramulla does not run along the river, but the remaining 40 km (25 mi) is scenic, passing wooded mountainsides and cliffs.
Srinagar Airport is the nearest airport, 50 km (31 mi) southeast; Jammu, the winter capital of the state, also has an airport.
Baramulla is connected to rest of India by National Highway (NH1). Baramulla is connected to Sangrama, Wagoora, Hygam, Pattan, Zainakot to Srinagar and other towns in Kashmir by road. It is connected to Muzaffarabad across the Line of Control by a 123-kilometre (76 mi) road which was closed in October 1947. The road was reopened in 2005, but travel across the line is controlled.
Baramulla is the last station on the 119-kilometre (74 mi)-long Kashmir railway, opened in October 2009, connecting with Srinagar, Qazigund and Banihal across the Pir Panjal mountains through the 11.2-kilometre (7.0 mi)-long Banihal railway tunnel. The Kashmir railway is planned to connect with the Indian rail network.
- The economy of Jammu & Kashmir. Radha Krishan Anand & Co., 2004. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
... meaning in Sanskrit a boar's molar place. Foreigners who visited this place pronounced ... The place was thus named as Baramulla meaning 12 bores.
- Kashmir and its people: studies in the evolution of Kashmiri society. A.P.H. Publishing Corporation. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
That the valley of Kashmir was once a vast lake, known as "Satisaras", the lake of Parvati (consort of Shiva), is enshrined in our traditions. There are many mythological stories connected with the desiccation of the lake, before the valley was fit for habitation. The narratives make it out that it was occupied by a demon 'Jalodbhava', till Lord Vishnu assumed the form of a boar and struck the mountain at Baramulla (ancient Varahamula) boring an opening in it for the water to flow out.
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As most of these Hindi albeit Gujari speakers have been shown as concentrated in Baramulla, Kupwara, Punch, Rajouri and Doda districts, their Gujar identity becomes obvious. The number of Punjabi speakers in 1961, 1971 and 1981 Census Reports, actually reflects the number of Sikhs who have maintained their language and culture, and who are concentrated mainly in Srinagar, Badgam, Tral, Baramulla (all in Kashmir region), Udhampur and Jammu.
- Directory of Statistics, Jammu and Kashmir (2009)