Jammu and Kashmir,
the land of snow clad mountains that shares a common boundary
with Afghanistan, China and Pakistan- is the northernmost
state of the Indian Union. Known for its extravagant natural beauty, this land
formed a major caravan route in the ancient times.
Trade relations through these
routes between China and Central Asia made it a land in-habited by various
religious and cultural groups. Kashyapa is said to have laid the foundation of
Kashmir, which was referred to as 'Kashyapamar'. Owing to the severe climatic
conditions during winter, people here lead a nomadic life with their cattle. The
slopes were inhabitable during the summer and these areas formed permanent
settlements. It was also during the reign of Kashyapa that the various wandering
groups led a settled life.
Buddhism influenced Kashmir during the rule of Ashoka
and the present town of Srinagar was founded by him. This place was earlier
called 'Srinagari' or Purandhisthan. The Brahmins who inhabited these areas
admired and adorned Buddhism too. From the regions of Kashmir, Buddhism spread of
Ladakh, Tiber, Central Asia and China. Various traditions co-existed till the
advent of the Muslims. The Mughal had a deep influence on this land and
introduced various reforms in the revenue industry and other areas that added to
the progress of Kashmir.
In 1820, Maharaj Gulab Singh got the Jagir of Jammu from
Maharaj Ranjit Sigh. He is said to have laid the foundation of the Dogra
dynasty. In 1846, Kashmir was sold to Maharaj Gulab Singh. Thus the two areas of
Kashmir and Jammu were integrated into a single political unit. A few chieftains
who formed part of the administration were of the Hunza, Kishtwar, Gilgit Ladakh. During the
reign of the Dogra dynasty, trade improved, along with the preservation
and promotion of forestry. Arts and crafts also developed through royal
patronage. After independence of India in 1947, this region formed a part of the Indian
territory and is an integral region that has contributed its part to preserve the
unity and integrity of India.