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
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.