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Kashmir: A Paradise on Earth

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The fourth Mughal Emperor, His Majesty Jahangir, had said this about Kashmir, “If there’s a paradise on Earth, it is this, it is this, it is this.” Kashmir is widely known for its natural beauty and rich culture. Inhabitants of diverse religious backgrounds including Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Christianity coexist amicably and form their own distinct and harmonious community. This melting pot of cultures is based on the centuries-old indigenous tradition, Kashmiriyat, which values tolerance, peace, and cultural harmony.

Kashmir is a land of many legends and famous residents. From Emperors, such as Alexander the Great and Ashoka, to scholars, such as Adi Sankaracharya and the mystic Abhinavagupta, Kashmir is indeed home to some incredible individuals.

Kashmir’s ancient monuments tell fascinating stories about the region’s history. In the 8th century CE, the Martand Sun Temple shrine was built in honor of the deity, Surya. This monument is one of the largest temples ever built in Kashmir. It has a colonnaded courtyard and a primary shrine in its center that is surrounded by 84 smaller shrines.

Nature’s artistic work in Kashmir can best be appreciated in spring, when almond trees blossom together with multi-colored tulips. Kashmir’s alpine meadows also feature an extensive variety of wildflowers. The Himalayan region is referred to as a beauty spot for medicinal and herbaceous flora.

The Kashmiri people have splendid and attractive costumes. A Khan dress or Pathani suit with a skull cap is common attire for men. As for women, the Pheran (a loose, knee-length type of cloak) and Shalwar (pants) with the traditional Kasaba (headgear) comprise their popular outfit. With their diverse history and cultural heritage, the Kashmiri people have forged a unique sense of identity that can be explored through their festivals, dances, music, literature, handicrafts, and cuisine.

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