KASHMIR-Heaven On Earth
The name Kashmir is derived from two words ka (the
water) and shimeera (to desiccate), so the word
Kashmir implies land desiccated from water.
It is also called and known as the Heaven on
Earth because of its natural widespread beauty.
The population living in the Valley of Kashmir is primarily
homogeneous, despite the religious divide between
Muslims (94%), Hindus (4%), and Sikhs (2%).
The people living in Jammu that profess Hindu and Muslim
faiths are ethnically different from those living in the Valley
in terms of ethnicity, language and culture.
The people living in Ladakh are primarily Buddhist and are
of Tibetan origins. The Muslim minority in Ladakh belongs
to the Shia sect.
Kashmir’s culture is interlinked with its geography: cut off
from the rest of India by high mountains, it lies along the
once fabled Silk Route.
For centuries it has thus been open to influences from
Persia and the countries of the Central Asia.
Distinct from the rest of the country, Jammu and Kashmir
sports a multifaceted, multicolored and unique cultural blend.
Not only the geographical conditions of the state are different
but it can also be set apart demographically with varied ethical
and social entities, diversity of religions flourishing in the area,
different language and cultural forms and heritage albeit with
an over-reigning harmony that blends in with the serenity and
beauty of the region.
Kashmir has been the highest learning centre of Sanskrit and
Persian as Indo-Aryanic civilization has originated and
The people of the Valley, share common ethnicity, culture,
language and customs, which is no doubt the basis of
Kashmiri Culture – Multifaceted ,Multicolored and
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.
Kashmiri, popularly known as Koshur, is an Indo-Aryan
The Kangri ("Kanger") is a clay pot surrounded by a
willow basket with a handle.
In the cold months of the year, glowing embers of
charocoal fill the clay pot, and this marvel of invention is
carried around under the cloak-like pheran.
They have their uses in the summer months too, when
lighted charocoal required for bookah smoking is stored in
No jacket or blazer can
compare with the comfort or
convenience of the pheran.
Knee-length and baggy, the
sleeves are loose enough for
the arms to be retracted into it.
Pheran are made of tweed;
dark browns and blues being
the most favoured colors of
this distinctive Kashmiri
Every man, woman and child
wears a pheran during the
cold winter months.
Even during the rest of the
year, a sudden drop in the
temperature bring pheran out
from store cupboards.
Women wear a modified version of this pheran throughout the year. While there are many
materials to choose from, the most poised will always remain velvet.
Women’s pheran are knee length, and the velvet ones are profusely embroidered in real silver
thread at the throat, cuffs and hem.
There are a few standard designs for the embroidery, the most lavish being
stylized Chinar leaves around the neckline.
Silver embroidery on a velvet pheran is a status symbol
Wazwan is a multi-course meal in the
Kashmiri Muslim tradition.
The preparation is traditionally done by a
vasta waza, or head chef, with the
assistance of a court of wazas, or chefs.
The essential Wazwan dishes include:
Sheekh kabab: spicy ground lamb on skewers
Gushtaab: Chopped lamb with spices cooked in
oil, milk and curds
Noon Chai or Sheer Chai
Kashmiris are heavy tea drinkers. The word "noon" in Kashmiri language means
Salt. The most popular drink is a pinkish colored salted tea called “noon Chai”.
It is made with green tea, milk ,salt.
Noon Chai or Sheer Chai is a common breakfast tea in Kashmiri households and is
taken with breads like bagerkhani brought fresh from the Sufi, or bakers. Often, this
tea is served in large Samovars.
At marriage feasts, festivals, and religious places, it is customary to serve Kahwah,
or Qahwah (originates from a 14th-century Arab coffee, which, in turn, was named
after an ancient beverage of the Sufis) - a green tea made with saffron, spices, and
almonds or walnuts
Over 20 varieties of Kahwah are prepared in different households. Some people also
put milk in kahwah (half milk + half kahwah). This chai is also known as "Maugal
Chai" by some Kashmiri Pandits from the smaller villages of Kashmir.
There is no home in Kashmir that
does not have a samovar. Each family
has one or two samovars
A samovar is a traditional Kashmiri
kettle used to brew, boil and serve tea
Kashmiri samovars are made of
copperware with engraved or
embossed calligraphic motifs. Inside
a samovar there is a fire-container in
which charcoal and live coals are
placed. Around the fire-container
there is a space for water to boil.
In addition to Kashmir, the samovar
is also found in Russia and Persia.
Kashmiri Valley music is closer to Central Asian Music using traditional Central Asian
instruments while music from Jammu is similar to that of North India and Ladakhi music is
similar to the music of Tibet.
Chakri is played with musical instruments like the Harmonium ,the rubab ,the sarangi and
the nout. Chakri ends with the rouf,
Rouf is a traditional dance form usually performed by girls on certain important occasions
like Eid, marriage and other functions.Rouf includes dancing and singing simultaneously.
No musical instrument is required for this. Girls arrange themselves in two or three rows,
each row has four to six girls. Each row of girls then moves one step forward and then back
in swaying motion while singing the Rouf song or Wanwun
Rural Buildings in Kashmir
Rural buildings constructed in Kashmir are in a traditional way by the
people (often referred to as vernacular buildings) become an integral
part of the local cultural heritage.
These buildings often reflect the strength of the
community to house itself independent of any outside intervention.
They are a manifestation of architectural systems optimized over time
for a particular context with regard to climate, soil or the threat of
Constructed from local materials with local skills and a deep
understanding of local social andeconomic constraints, traditional
architecture is in many aspects sustainable architecture
Rural Residential House in Kashmir
A number of
in various parts of
over time to
The buildings have depended completely upon
stone, mud, bricks and wood for roofing as well as
walling. Until very recently, non-local materials did
not represent a valid option for local constructions.
Winter is cold which is common in kashmir, Thick
walls of brick and stone with mud plaster provide
excellent protection against this, as does a thick mud-
The lighter, pitched roof made of timber and CGI
sheets in combination with the attic floor also ensures
livable conditions inside the house in winter and
The steep pitch of the light roof permits little
accumulation of snow and prevents any water
The urban areas of the Valley have
architecture that is distinct from all
The main factor determining this
architecture is the high density of
development. This calls for vertical
into three to four-storey structures.
The two most common walling
systems observed are
Timber frame and infill
consisting of baked or
. The timber frames in the
Dhajji walls are generally well
laid out with a system of
diagonal bracings that provide
a distinct path to the ground
for the stresses caused by
lateral seismic forces.
consisting of brick masonry
interlaced with heavy timber
bands supported on large
masonry piers made of
The Taaq type of construction
has a large number of
windows (“Taaq” means
window), one in each gap
between the piers. The roofs
are two- and four-sided
Wood-burning stoves are made from
mud by the lady of the house. An
ingeniously efficient water heating
system used to be incorporated in the
construction of the kitchen wall just
to one side of the stove.
The system consisted of a copper
vessel embedded in the masonry wall
with openings for a water inlet and
outlet. A cavity is made in the wall
such that the hot gases from the stove
go round the tank and heat its
content. While cooking is in progress
the water is heated continuously
HEATING AND COOKING SYSTEM IN HOUSE
Traditionally the houses had fireplaces. But today, the simple
wood-burning space heating stoves called Bukhari, made out
of galvanized iron sheets, have become very popular since they
do not involve additional expense in construction.
CULTURAL HERITAGE SITES IN
AZAD KASHMIR, PAKISTAN.
Bagh Fort Fort In the town of Bagh, Bagh District
Baghsar Fort Fort Near the town of Baghsar Bhimber District
Mughal Mosque Mosque In the town on Bhimber Bhimber
Haathi gate (Mughal Elephant gate) Historical site Near purani kacheri in the town on
Sarai Saadabad Historical site Samahni Bhimber
Darbar Baba Shadi Shaheed Shrine In Jandi ChontraBhimber
Ali Baig Gurdwara Gurdwara In the village of Ali Baig near Khalsa Middle School
Darbar Haji Pir Shrine Located near Aliabad Haveli District
Throchi Fort Fort Located in Gulpur at end of Gulpur-Throchi Road on top of the hill
Bhrund Fort Fort Located in SehnsaKotli
Darbar Mai Toti Sahiba Shrine In Pandli Sharif, 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) from Khuiratta
Fountains and gardens at Khuiratta Historical site In the town of Khuiratta38 kilometres
(24 mi) from Kotli cityKotli
Ramkot Fort Fort Across the Mangla lake from Sukhian (travel via boat) Mirpur District
Shrines of Khari Shareef Shrine located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) south of Mirpur city on
Darbaar Road Mirpur
Mangla Fort Fort Next to Mangla Dam (possibly off-limits) Mirpur
Burjun Fort Fort In Burjun,Mirpur
Pir Chinasi (Pir Shah Hussain Bukhari's shrine) Shrine At the end of Pir Chinasi Road
Red Fort (Muzaffarabad Fort, Rutta Qila, Chak Fort) Fort In Muzaffarabad city, near
Challah Bridge on Neelam Road Muzaffarabad
Black Fort (Gojra Fort) Fort Police Line Road, in Muzaffarabad city (possibly off-limits)
Kohala Bridge Historical site On Kohala-Muzaffarabad Road Muzaffarabad
Quaid-e-Azam tourist lodge, Barsala Historical site On Kohala-Muzaffarabad Road 3
kilometres (1.9 mi) from Kohala Bridge on the way to Muzaffarabad,Muzaffarabad
Sain Saheli Sarkar Darbar Shrine in District Headquarter office complex, Muzaffarabad
Sharda Peeth (Sharda Fort) Ruins, Archaeological site Located in the town of Sharda near
the Main Bazaar Neelum Valley
Sharda Buddhist University Archaeological site Located in the town of Sharda, nearly
half kilometers north of Sharda Peeth Neelum Valley
Baral Fort Fort 12 miles (19 km) south of Pallandri in the town of Baral Sudhanoti District
Rani Bowli (Pallandri bowli) Historical site On outskirts of Pallandritown Sudhanoti
Barnad Fort Fort
Aion Fort Fort
Ranbir Singh Baradari Historical site