Culture of Jammu and Kashmir
The cultural blend of Jammu and Kashmir is different from the rest of the country which is multifaceted and multicolored. Being a little geographically isolated the state sports varied ethical and social entities that add to the beauty of this pristine land. The diversity of the various cultures that prosper in the state has created an over-reigning harmony among the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from being famous for its scenic beauty, Jammu and Kashmir is also abundant in art, culture and crafts that are specific to the state. The rich cultural heritage which is the result of the ancient history of the state blends in with the serenity and beauty of the region. During the Indo-Aryanic civilization, the state was the highest learning centre of Sanskrit and Persian. Even with so many diverse cultures, there is harmony among the people encouraging peaceful living in the state. Here is more about the cultural ethnicity of Jammu and Kashmir.
Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts of Jammu Kashmir are very classy. Some of the famous art and craft items are Woven carpets, Silver and copperware, silk carpets, rugs, woolen shawls, pottery and kurtas that have beautifully embroidered designs and patterns. Shikaras are exquisitely decorated traditional boats are made of wood. The woolen shawls are the most famous made from the fines quality Pashimina which are of two types the loom shawl and the embroidered shawls. Khatam-band is a kind of Kashmir woodwork that is used to decorate ceilings of rooms. It is made from thin panels of pine wood, designed into geometrical patterns.
The harvest season is an important time when the state resonates with the Dance, music and songs of Jammu and Kashmir. Kudd is the popular dance of the upland dwellers that is performed at night after the seeds are sowed and other irrigation work is done. Phummian is another type of folk dance which is performed during spring when the flowers are in full bloom. The Punjab folk dance Bhangra is the famous dance performed at weddings and harvest season. Another dance is the Hafiza which is common at wedding celebrations. Ruf is a form of group singing-dancing by men and women. The Dambaeli is danced to the tune of naghara and suranai. The Wuegi-nachun performed solely by Kashmiri pandit women at weddings in front of the bride. The Ladakhis celebrate the victory of the right over evil with the ‘devil dances’.
Songs are an important part of the traditions of Jammu and Kashmir. Songs are used to welcome the seasons and also at special occasions like weddings and other festivals. Dogri-Pahari music is one such music that is accompanied with a variety of wind instruments, string instruments and drums. Santoor which is called is the Sitar of Kashmir derives its name from Persian language where San means ‘hundred’ and toor means string. Bhanda paathar, is a form of folk opera-cum-ballet with very dramatized anecdotes. Another famous instrument in folk music is the Rabab, which was brought over by Zain-ul-Abidin from Turkistan.
Since there are many diverse cultures, it manifests into the ethnicity present in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the people being very cheerful and peace loving. The Dogras inhabit the hilly and mountainous of the Kashmir Valley in the south of the state. They speak Dogri language which is a blend of Sanskrit, Punjabi and Persian. Kashmiris were descendants from the Indo-Aryan race and had migrated to Jammu and Kashmir from ancient India. The descendants from Mangolian and Turanian race are called Ladakhis. Ladakh is known as the ‘land of the Lamas’. The hilly terrain of Kashmir is occupied by Gujjars who are the herdsman by profession. They are said to be from Rajput lineage from Rajasthan.
Traditional Kashmiri cooking is called ‘Wazhawan’ which is characterized by its rich taste and aromatic flavor. The cuisine has more of non-vegetarian dishes which are cooked in three different styles; the Kashmiri Pandit, the Muslims and the Rajput styles. Rice is the staple food with lamb, goat’s meat and chicken used in daily cooking recipes. The gravy dishes make use of cashew paste and curd to give it a thick and rich taste. Some of the famous dishes are yakhni, tabaq naat, haak, Kabarga, dum aloo, Ranith Gada, Walnut Chutney, rogan josh, Roath and gaustaba
The most popular religion in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is Islam with the maximum of Muslim population belonging to the Sunni sect and the rest are Shias. They constitute 90% of the total population. Apart from this, Buddhism and Hinduism are also followed by a large group of people in the state. The Hindu population is comprised of Kashmiri Pandits and Gujjars. The Ladakh region is dominated by Buddists even though the number is very few.
Fairs & Festivals
Because of the various religions and ethnicities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the state celebrates many festivals relating to each of the religions. The most important ones being Navroz and Id. During Navratri the pilgrim destination of Vaishna Devi mandir is very popular. Other festivals celebrated are Lohri, Diwali, Holi, Budhha Jayanti, Baisakhi, Gurpurab and Tihar. Tihar is a festival when the members of te family worship nagas or serpents in the months of March or April.
The varied culture and ethnic diversities has created a more united and culturally binding state which is rich in its heritage. And this Paradise on earth is a masterpiece on earth. The dance and music mingle with the moods and movements of the seasons. Jammu and Kashmir is also famous for its scenic beauty as well as its culture.