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Dance, drama, music and fine arts date back to hoary antiquity in the state as amply evidenced in the ancient historical records. The synthesising cult of Sufism favoured dance and music, and thus the classical dance forms prevalent in Kashmir absorb the influences from the dance techniques of Persia and central Asia. In the process, Kashmiri music developed affinities with both Indian and Persian prototypes and evolved  Sufiana Kalam  with fifty-four maqams (modes) which have Indian as well as Persian names . 

As in the rest of India, classical dancing in Kashmir  had a religious back ground. One of the last Hindu kings of Kashmir,  Harsha (AD.1089-1101) was a lover of music and arts,  patronised  dance and drama. King Kalasa (AD 1063-89) introduced ballet dancing and choral music.  

King and commoner alike cultivated music as a  fine art in ancient Kashmir. Music was played in Buddhist Viharas in the reign of Jalauka. Music was a must at religious ceremonies particularly those connected with tantric worship. It was King Kalasa who popularised light operatic songs.

The instruments most in favour were the flute, the lute and the drum. The temple music accompaniments were the conch, a big drum  and cymbals. There is also a hudukka  which can be compared to a bagpipe. Folk music also existed in  ancient Kashmir  as distinct genre, not in competition with classical music.

 

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Last Updated on : 21 June 2014