Culture of Kashmir
The culture of Kashmir is a diverse blend and highly influenced by Indian, Persian as well as Central Asian cultures. Kashmiri culture is heavily influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism and later by Islam. Dominated by Hindu-Buddhist culture in the past, Kashmir was heavily influenced by Islam after Muslim influx in the Valley.
The Vedic art and culture grew in Kashmir, and some early Vedic hymns were composed in Kashmir. The Bharata Natya Shastra is notable as an ancient encyclopedic treatise on the arts one which has influenced dance, music and literary traditions in Indian culture, originated in Kashmir. Patanjali of 2nd century BC compiled his compendium on Yoga in Kashmir. The Panchatantra is also said to be originated in Kashmir. At the time when Pali was primary language for Buddhist literature in rest of India, all the Buddhist literature produced in Kashmir was in Sanskrit. Kashmiri women hold high status in society as Bilhana records that Kashmiri women were fluent both in Sanskrit and Pali. Kosh Shastra, a work on science of sex, second to Kamasutra was developed in Kashmir. Some of the major texts that originated in Kashmir were Vigyan Bharaiv Tantra, Yoga Sutras, Sapndi Karkika, Tantra Loka Para-Trisika-Vivarana and many more.
Rice is the staple food of Kashmiris and has been so since ancient times. Meat, along with rice, is the most popular food item in Kashmir. Kashmiris consume meat voraciously. Despite being Brahmins, most Kashmiri Hindus are meat eaters. Kashmiri beverages include Noon Chai or Sheer Chai and Kahwah or Kehew.
The Kashmir Valley is noted for its bakery tradition. Bakers sell various kinds of breads with golden brown crusts topped with sesame and poppy seeds. Tsot and tsochvor are small round breads topped with poppy and sesame seeds, which are crisp and flaky, sheermal, baqerkhayn (puff pastry), lavas (unleavened bread) and kulcha are also popular. Girdas and lavas are served with butter. Kashmiri bakerkhani has a special place in Kashmiri cuisine. It is similar to a round naan in appearance, but crisp and layered, and sprinkled with sesame seeds. It is typically consumed hot during breakfast.
Primary festivals of Kashmiri Hindus include:
- Herath (Shivaratri)
- Zyeth Atham
- Tiky Tsoram
- Gaad Batt
Primary festivals of Kashmiri Muslims include:
Language and literatureEdit
Kashmiri (English: //) or Koshur (Kashmiri pronunciation: [/kəːʃur/]; كٲشُر,कॉशुर,𑆑𑆳𑆯𑆶𑆫𑇀), is a language from the Dardic subgroup of Indo-Aryan languages, spoken by around 7 million Kashmiris, primarily in the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir. There are also speakers in parts of the neighbouring Pakistani territory of Azad Kashmir.
The official languages of Jammu and Kashmir are Koshur, Dogri, Hindi-Urdu and English. Kashmiri is recognised as a regional language in the state and is also among the 22 scheduled languages of India.
The Perso-Arabic script is recognised as the official script of Kashmiri language by the Jammu and Kashmir government and the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages.
Nowadays, the Perso-Arabic script has come to be associated with Kashmiri Muslims, while the Devanagari script has come to be associated with the Kashmiri Hindu community.
The Bharata Natya Shastra is notable as an ancient encyclopedic treatise on the arts one which has influenced dance, music and literary traditions in India, originated in Kashmir.
Kashmiri Music primarily includes:
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- Toshakhānī, Śaśiśekhara (2010). Rites and Rituals of Kashmiri Brahmins. Pentagon Press. ISBN 978-81-8274-475-2.
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Rice was, as now, the staple food of Kashmiris in ancient times.
- Kaw, M.K. (2004). Kashmir and Its People: Studies in the Evolution of Kashmiri Society. APH Publishing. p. 98. ISBN 9788176485371.
But perhaps the most popular items of the Kashmiri cuisine were meat and rice.
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Since Kashmiris consume meat voraciously and statistics reveals that on an average 3.5 million sheep and goat are slaughtered annually for our consumption, the skin can be utilised for production.
- Dar, P Krishna (2000). Kashmiri Cooking. Penguin UK. ISBN 9789351181699.
Though Brahmins, Kashmiri Pandits have generally been great meat eaters.
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