Kashmiris are an Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic group speaking the Kashmiri language, living mostly, but not exclusively, in the Kashmir Valley in the portion of the disputed Kashmir region administered by India.
|Regions with significant populations|
|India (Jammu and Kashmir)||6,797,587 (2011)*|
|Pakistan (outside Azad Kashmir)||353,064 (2017)*|
|Pakistan (Azad Kashmir)||132,450 (as per 1998 census)|
(Sunni majority, Shia minority)
|Related ethnic groups|
|Other Indo-Aryan peoples|
*The population figures are only for the number of speakers of the Kashmiri language. May not include ethnic Kashmiris who no longer speak the Kashmiri language.
Earliest Neolithic sites in Kashmir valley are from c. 3000 BCE. Most important sites are at Burzahom. During the later Vedic period, the Uttara–Kurus settled in Kashmir. In 326 BCE, Abisares, the king of Kashmir,[a] aided Porus against Alexander the Great in the Battle of Hydaspes. After the battle, Abhisares submitted to Alexander by sending him treasure and elephants.
During the reign of Ashoka (304–232 BCE), Kashmir became part of the Maurya Empire and the city of Srinagari (Srinagar) were built. Kanishka (127–151 CE), an emperor of the Kushan dynasty, conquered Kashmir. In the eighth century, during the rule of Karkota Empire, Kashmir grew as an imperial power. Lalitaditya Muktapida defeated Yashovarman of Kanyakubja and conquered eastern kingdoms of Magadha, Kamarupa, Gauda, and Kalinga. He defeated Arabs at Sindh. The Utpala dynasty founded by Avantivarman followed the Karkotas. Queen Didda, who descended from the Hindu Shahis of Udabhandapura on her mother's side, took over as the ruler in second half of the 10th century. After her death in 1003 CE, Lohara dynasty ruled the region.
In 1339, Shah Mir became the ruler of Kashmir, establishing the Shah Mir dynasty. During the rule of Shah Mir dynasty Islam spread in Kashmir. From 1586 to 1751, Mughal Empire ruled the Kashmir. Afghan Durrani Empire, ruled from 1747 until 1819. The Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir in 1819. In 1846, after the First Anglo-Sikh War, the Treaty of Lahore was signed and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the ruler of Kashmir. The rule of Dogra dynasty, under the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir became part of India. It is now a disputed territory, administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China.
Kashmiri is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the language originates from Sanskrit it received a great deal of Persian influence during the Afghan and Persian rule evident in the language spoken today. According to many linguists, the Kashmiri language is a northwest Dardic language of the Indo-Aryan family, descending from Middle Indo-Aryan languages. The label "Dardic" indicates a geographical label for the languages spoken in the northwest mountain regions, not a linguistic label. UCLA estimates the number of speakers as being around 4.4 million, with a preponderance in the Kashmir Valley, whereas the 2001 census of India records over 5.5 million speakers. According to the 1998 Census there were 132,450 Kashmiri speakers in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan. According to Professor Khawaja Abdul Rehman the Kashmiri language is on the verge of dying out in the Neelum Valley.
Kashmiri is believed to be the only one among the Dardic languages that has a written literature. Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, comparable to that of most modern languages. Some modern Kashmiri poets and writers are Mehjoor and Abdul Ahad Azad.
Noon Chai or Sheer Chai and Kahwah or Kehew are beverages of Kashmir. The Kashmir is also known for its bakery tradition. sheermal, baqerkhayn (puff pastry), lavas (unleavened bread) and kulcha are popular.
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But perhaps the most popular items of the Kashmiri cuisine were meat and rice.
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