A great Persian poet Amir Khusroo has described the beauty of Jammu and Kashmir by his own word he said "Gar Firdaus, Ruhe Zamin Ast, Hamin Asto, Hamin Asto, Hamin Ast." It means If there is ever a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here. Kashmir is a jewel crown on the map of India. Jammu and Kashmir surround by two major Himalayan ranges, the Great Himalayan and The Pir Panjal. It is also known as a Paradise of the earth.
The capital of Kashmir is Jammu and the summer capital is Sri Nagar. This state consists three regions Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh. The Kashmir valley is one of renowned destination for its glorious mountainous and beautiful landscape and Jammu is famous for numerous shrines attract tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year, although Ladakh is known as "Little Tibet", is famous for its Buddhist culture and traditions and isolated mountain beauty, Jammu region is pass through by the Shivalik hills, temples and quenched by the rivers Ravi, Tawi and Chenab. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India with a Muslim-majority population.
Fairs and Festivals in Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir is very famous for its rich tradition and cultural heritage besides of its beautiful landscape. Almost all major festivals are celebrated in Jammu & Kashmir. But some of the significant festivals of Jammu and Kashmir state as per given below:-
Amarnath Yatra ( June – JULY) :-
It is one of the most impotent pilgrim for Hindu religion. It is organized by government every year during the months of June and July when the area is accessible. Amarnath is located 141 kilometres away from Srinagar. The cave temple site is situated at a height of approximately 12756 feet from the sea level. The Yatra stars from either Pahalgam or Baltal.
Bahu Mela (March-April & September-October) :-
Bahu mela is held at Bahu Fort where the idol of Goddess Kali is worshipped and it celebrated twice in a year. The Mela in Jammu express the rich tradition and culture of India and the immaculateness of Indian traditions. People join hands and they together celebrate the Bahu carnival to brighten it up and make it more brilliant.
Chaitre Chandesh in Jammu (March - April):-
Chaitre Chandesh is celebrated in the Hindi month of “Chaitra” which usually falls in March and April. It celebrates the New Year as per Hindu calendar and is celebrated at Uttar Behni in Jammu division.
Kheer Bhawani Srinagar (June):-
This festival held in Jun as a birthday of the Goddess Kheer Bhawani . The festival take place at Kheer Bhawani Temple which is dedicated to Goddess Ragnya Devi which is located in the village of Tulla Mulla, at a distance of 27 kilometers from Srinagar.
Mansar Food and Craft Mela (April) :-
This is one of the most important festival of Jammu and Kashmir. This three days long festival held in April every year. This fair is organised by Jammu and Kashmir Travel and Tourism section. This festival is famous for its finest handicrafts and food of the Jammu & Kashmir.
Ramzan (JUN – JUL):-
Ramzaan is most important festival in Islam. There is a daily fasting even without (morning to evening) for the whole month of Ramzaan. During evening there is grand feast with lot of mouth-watering delicacies.
Tulip Festival (April):-
This is the one of the most famous festival of Jammu & Kashmir which held every year in April at Srinagar. The tulip garden of Srinagar is Asia’s largest garden for Tulips. The festival displays a huge range of tulips. Apart from Tulip is also feature sale of local handicrafts, cultural programmes along with Kashmiri folk songs and other forms of arts and also traditional cultural Kashmiri cuisine.
Ladakh Festival ( September) :-
Ladakh festival is celebrated every year in the mouth of September usually from 01 September to 15th September, its basically 15 days festival. The main reason behind to the celebration is to promote the rich folk heritage of culture and tradition of the Ladakh region. The Highlights of the festival are such as local arts and craft, folk dances, mask, music etc.
Sindhu Darshan (Visit Indus) Festival (June):-
Sindhu Darshan festival is held every year in the mount of June, this festival is celebrates on 3 days from 01st June to 3rd June. It is festival organised at Shey Manla on the bank of Indus River which is 8 kilometres away from Leh. This festival celebrated to promote tourism in Ladakh and signifies communal harmony in the region. The festival is also dedicated to Indian Army who not only have been protecting borders but also helping out the people in the region.
Losar Celebration (December or January) :-
Losar festival is known as Ladakhi and Tibetan New Year celebration, which is held every in December or January for two weeks as per lunar calendar. The festival signifies the age old fight between good and evil, and is celebrated by chants warding off evil and fire torches.
Yuru Kabgyat (JULY) :-
Every year in the mouth July this festival take place, it celebrates for two days at Lamayuru monastery which is around 125 kilometres from Leh. During the festival the Buddhist monks perform rituals, prayer and mask dances.
Phyang Tsedup ( July-August) :-
This festival held in July or August every year. During the festival the Buddhist monks perform rituals, prayer and mask dances.
Stok Guru Tsechu (February):-
The monks of Stok and Spituk monasteries celebrates Stok Guru Tsechu festival as other celebration it is also the same as like the Buddhist monks perform rituals, prayer and mask dances.
Hemis Festival ( JUNE ) :-
This is one of the most impotent monastic festival of Ladakh which held in the month of June to pay tribute to the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava. Hemis Gompa is where the monks perform a unique dance known as Mask Dance.
Dosmochey (February) :-
This festival held in Leh such as the monasteries located at Leh Palace, Liker on the Lower Ladakh and at Deskit in Nubra valley , it take place in February. The most kwon and favourite celebration among them is the celebration of the courtyards of the Leh palace, it 02 days festival.
Winter Sports, Kashmir (December- March):-
It is one of the most famous attraction of Jammu Kashmir which is very popular among the adventure sports lovers , This event held at Gulmarg and Khilanmarg most popular winter sport activities in Kashmir are heli-skiing, skiing, snowboarding and ice-skating. Gulmarg is well known for its best ski resort in the Himalayas.
Cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir
The cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir is very famous, which offers the variety of exotic recipes along with the special Kashmiri spices, Kashmiri chilies and Saffron are common spices in the cuisine of Jammu and Kashmir. The staple food of Jammu and Kashmir is rice.
Brahmins used the curd along with ginger and asafoetida in their cuisine and Muslims use garlic, egg and onions their foods. The essential ingredients in Kashmiri foods are Meat - Mutton, chicken and fish. The green tea is a traditional drink and it is made with almond and spices known as Kawa.
Kashmiri Pulao is one of the unique dish, some of the other famous dishes are Kashmiri Kebab, Rogan Josh, Methi Keema, Hak, Rajmah, Ladyar Tsaman, Shree Pulao, Mutton Pulao, Tursh and Zarda and Kulcha (bread made dish).
Traditions and Culture of Jammu & Kashmir
The culture of Jammu and Kashmir are inhabits diversified. It enclose the various lifestyles and habits of the citizens that inhabit in regions of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from its demographical differences, the specific cultural diversions is one of the most significant element of the Jammu & Kashmir’s culture and tradition. It is the remarkable heritage of culture and tradition such as cuisine, songs, dance, and lifestyle. The music of Kashmir is divided into three distinct forms such as Ghazals, Choral Music and Sufi. During wedding ceremonies in Kashmir ‘’Wanawun’’is sung and played which is another form of music.
There are two most distinct dances to the region Hafiza dance, which is done during the marraiges and Bacha Nagma dance, which is used for celebration of harvesting season. Other well known folk dances of Jammu and Kashmir state are Wuegi-Nachun, Ruf, Dogri and Roul.
This is one of those state in India which is famous for its multisided culture. Its three regions namely Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh have different people with their diverse culture and traditions. Kashmir has dominated by Muslim population, Jammu has majority of Hindu population and in Ladakh is dominated by Buddhist.
The well spoken language of Kashmir state is Kashmiri, it has been influenced by Persian and Sanskrit language considerably. The other widely spoken languages are important languages include Gojri, Pashto, Urdu, Balti and Ladakh.