A “Kashmirian” refers to the Dardic speaking people coming from Kashmir which is a former British India state. Most of them had become on big ethnic group residing around Upper Punjab Pakistan and Potohar. The state, however, is a disputed territory since there are lots of governments administering around this state. For example, Jammu and Kashmir are under Indian administration Azad Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltisan are under Pakistan administration while Aksai Chin and Trans-Karakoram Tract are under China administration.

With its varieties of culture, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is one of the many states in India that is getting more attention. The states including Ladakh comprised of resident with different background of culture and traditions.

The state can be divided into three main religions that are practiced by a majority of people living there, where Hinduism is dominating in Jammu, Islam in Kashmir and Buddhism in Ladakh. Although different in religions, they all share a common world view which is to give affection, love and be tolerance to everyone disregarding their background. And, this is not only applicable to those living there but also to anyone visiting the state. Their hospitality did not only limit to simple welcoming smile, but it goes a long way. The locals are more than happy to offer you a place to stay in their house and even their traditional clothes for any visitors going there. This warm hospitality shows how simple and genuine their personality is compared to other state in this world. From the food, the dress to their language, all of them are showing the unique quality in this state despite the fact that the Tibetan culture is clearly seen in this Ladakh region.

Even in Jammu and Kashmir, visitors can expect a warm welcome there as they are also known for their great hospitality. In fact, it is a common to get an invitation to a wedding ceremony or into their house just for a cup of tea.

Their Language

The origin of the language spoken in Kashmir is not very clear. However, the researcher in International Institute of UCLA had agreed that it originates from Indo-Aryan which is under the Indo-Iranian, which is a subfamily language of Indo-European. A survey by UCLA revealed an estimation of 4.4 million people use the language with a majority in Kashmir Valley while in 2001, census of India revealed their finding that 5,362,349 people in India is speaking in Dardic language.

Conversion to Islam

Rincana who is the first king for the new dynasty in Ladakh had converted to Islam and changes his name to Malik Sadur-ud-Din making him as the first Muslim ruler there. This conversion happened in 1323 and was done by Bulbul Shah. Starting from there, Islam had been growing rapidly that, by 14th century CE, it had surpassed the dominant religion in Kashmir during that time which is Hinduism. However, Malik Sadur-ud-Din’s ruling did not last long as he was killed by the Kashmiris. There were other Muslim rulers of Kashmir after that including Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin who can be compared to Akbar for his tolerance to all religions. Most of the Muslims residing here originated from Hindu Brahmins. These Brahmins were also known as Kashmiri Pandits who had converted to Islam long time ago. There are a few Muslims from Iran and Afghanistan who had migrated to Kashmir, but they still kept their identity. The devotees of this two religions Islam under Sufi and Hindu under Reshi live together in a harmony community. Lots of people started converting into Islam during the rule of Emperor Alamgir in the late 18th century, and until today Muslims are the majority people in Kashmir while there are still few Kashmiri Pandits practicing Hinduism.

Kashmiri Pandits

Living a simple life, the Kashmiri Pandits are individualistic but also intelligent hence they usually work in professional or administrative field. However, because of the increase in terrorist activity lots of them have been relocated here from their original state. One unique feature of the Kashmiri Pandits is that they do not practice the caste system like other Hindus in India.

Migration by People

Drought of 1800

A major drought crisis had struck Kashmir in 1800 forcing residents there along with those in the south area of Jhelum River to move out to Punjab area. There, they did lots of farming activity until they moved back to Kashmir Valley when the drought is over in 1820s. However, not all of them moved back as some of them had settled with a good life there. Others continue their journey southwards until the old city of Lahore where they build their life around the Delhi and Bhatti gate.

Their Culture

The people here pay a close attention to their family including the extended family that make up their social structure. This big network of the family which is referred as biraderi is very important in as they have a substantial impact on their relation. This is because this family institution will influence their decision making in lots of things beside others in the community. The term Biraderi which can be translated into brotherhood act as a guideline for them to earn a collective well-being. This, along with good economic, politic and social institution helps to strengthen the sense of unity in the community. 

They Wear

Most of the people in the state of Jammu and Kashmir wear their traditional clothing except for the teen and working executive who would normally wear something like what you would wear. For men, the traditional clothes known as Kurta Pyjama will be wear during the summer while woolen clothes during the winter.  This woolen clothing known as Pheran will be wear over Kurta and act as an overcoat. Although it is not fit to the body, wearer will put a kangri which is a warm pot inside the Pheran. While for women, their usual attire during the summer is Burqha which is a veil while the same Pheran will be wear during the cold season.

Here, you can be sure to rekindle your spirituals self through its lovely people. You can be sure to learn a lot just by watching the way they are living their life. This is because they manage to stay positive under all situation and at the same time able to teach other a thing or two about life.

They Eat

The main food here is the rice which is cooked together with meat and other good spices. Their main sidedish is the vegetables dish called Karam Sag, lotus stalk called nadru and also turnips. These vegetables are so important to them that they even carry it around as a gift to others. The real dish that set apart Kashmiris from others is their varieties of delicious lamb dishes. Besides the dish, Kashmiri also like to drink a special tea called Kahva which is brewed in samovar together with cardamom seed, almonds and cinnamon stalk. This tea will be put a lot of sugar and drink without any milk in it. Another option of that is also served here is known as Shirchai which is a pink colored tea with milk in it and plenty of cream above it.

A True Holiday Destination

With lots of difference culture to be immersed in, these three regions is surely the best tourist destination out there. Their friendly hospitality with no returning favor expected will surely win anybody’s heart. Every tourist should teach themselves how to speak a few Dardic words as the best souvenir to bring back home. Trekking along the route around the hill areas all the way to the steep slope, one can surely found the Gujjars in their hutment. Be quick to visit this state which is filled with celestial beauty, amazing environment and friendly residents. After visiting this place, one would come to know why it is known as ‘Paradise on Earth’.

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