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Kashmiri Lady and Son (14570772131).jpg
A Kashmiri woman with a child in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, c. 2014
Regions with significant populations
 India (Jammu and Kashmir)6,797,587 (2011)*[1]
 Pakistan (outside Azad Kashmir)353,064 (2017)*[2]
 Pakistan (Azad Kashmir)132,450 (as per 1998 census)[3]
Star and Crescent.svg
(Sunni majority, Shia minority)
Related ethnic groups
Other Indo-Aryan peoples

*The population figures are only for the number of speakers of the Kashmiri language. May not include ethnic Kashmiris who no longer speak the Kashmiri language.

Kashmiris are an Indo-Aryan ethnolinguistic group[4] speaking the Kashmiri language, living mostly, but not exclusively, in the Kashmir Valley in the portion of the disputed Kashmir region administered by India.[5][6]


Main article: History of Kashmir

For the 1954–2019 history, see Jammu and Kashmir (state) § History.

Earliest Neolithic sites in Kashmir valley are from c. 3000 BCE. Most important sites are at Burzahom.[7][8] During the later Vedic period, the Uttara–Kurus settled in Kashmir.[9][10] In 326 BCE, Abisares, the king of Kashmir,[a] aided Porus against Alexander the Great in the Battle of Hydaspes. After the battle, Abhisares submitted to Alexander by sending him treasure and elephants.[12][13]

During the reign of Ashoka (304–232 BCE), Kashmir became part of the Maurya Empire and the city of Srinagari (Srinagar) were built.[14] Kanishka (127–151 CE), an emperor of the Kushan dynasty, conquered Kashmir.[15] In the eighth century, during the rule of Karkota Empire, Kashmir grew as an imperial power.[16] Lalitaditya Muktapida defeated Yashovarman of Kanyakubja and conquered eastern kingdoms of Magadha, Kamarupa, Gauda, and Kalinga. He defeated Arabs at Sindh.[17][18][16] The Utpala dynasty founded by Avantivarman followed the Karkotas.[19] Queen Didda, who descended from the Hindu Shahis of Udabhandapura on her mother's side, took over as the ruler in second half of the 10th century.[16] After her death in 1003 CE, Lohara dynasty ruled the region.[20]

In 1339, Shah Mir became the ruler of Kashmir, establishing the Shah Mir dynasty. During the rule of Shah Mir dynasty Islam spread in Kashmir. From 1586 to 1751, Mughal Empire ruled the Kashmir. Afghan Durrani Empire, ruled from 1747 until 1819. The Sikhs, under Ranjit Singh, annexed Kashmir in 1819. In 1846, after the First Anglo-Sikh War, the Treaty of Lahore was signed and upon the purchase of the region from the British under the Treaty of Amritsar, the Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh, became the ruler of Kashmir. The rule of Dogra dynasty, under the British Crown, lasted until 1947, when the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir became part of India. It is now a disputed territory, administered by three countries: India, Pakistan, and the People's Republic of China.


Main article: Culture of Kashmir


Main articles: Kashmiri literature and Kashmiri language

See also: Sharda script

(left)An example of early Sharada script, in the Bakhshali manuscript; (right) Stone Slab in Verinag in Perso-Arabic script

Kashmiri is spoken primarily in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir. Although the language originates from Sanskrit it received a great deal of Persian influence during the Afghan and Persian rule evident in the language spoken today.[21] According to many linguists, the Kashmiri language is a northwest Dardic language of the Indo-Aryan family, descending from Middle Indo-Aryan languages. The label "Dardic" indicates a geographical label for the languages spoken in the northwest mountain regions, not a linguistic label.[22] UCLA estimates the number of speakers as being around 4.4 million, with a preponderance in the Kashmir Valley,[23] whereas the 2001 census of India records over 5.5 million speakers.[24] According to the 1998 Census there were 132,450 Kashmiri speakers in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan.[3] According to Professor Khawaja Abdul Rehman the Kashmiri language is on the verge of dying out in the Neelum Valley.[25]

Kashmiri is believed to be the only one among the Dardic languages that has a written literature.[22] Kashmiri literature dates back to over 750 years, comparable to that of most modern languages.[26] Some modern Kashmiri poets and writers are Mehjoor and Abdul Ahad Azad.[27]


Main article: Music of Jammu and Kashmir § Kashmir

Some traditional music of Kashmir are Chakri, Henzae, Ladishah. Rouf is a traditional dance form usually performed by women on occasions like marriage and functions.[28]


Main article: Kashmiri cuisine

Rice is the staple food of Kashmir.[29] Meat and rice are the popular food item in Kashmir.[30]

Noon Chai or Sheer Chai and Kahwah or Kehew are beverages of Kashmir. The Kashmir is also known for its bakery tradition. sheermal, baqerkhayn (puff pastry), lavas (unleavened bread) and kulcha are popular.[31]

Kashmiri Samovar and Noon Chai
Rogan Josh

See also


  1. ^ Formally, "Abisares" was the ruler of Abhisaras, the people of the Poonch and Rajouri districts. Historian P. N. K. Bamzai believes his domain included Kashmir.[11]


  1. ^ "Abstract Of Speakers' Strength of Languages And Mother Tongues – 2011" (PDF). Census India (.gov). 2011. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 August 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  2. ^ Kiani, Khaleeq (28 May 2018). "CCI defers approval of census results until elections". DAWN.COM. Archived from the original on 15 September 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Shakil, Mohsin (2012), Languages of Erstwhile State of Jammu Kashmir (A Preliminary Study)
  4. ^ Gupta, Jyoti Bhusan Das (6 December 2012). Jammu and Kashmir. Springer. p. 14. ISBN 978-94-011-9231-6.
  5. ^ (a) "Kashmir, region Indian subcontinent", Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannia, retrieved 15 August 2019 (subscription required) Quote: "Kashmir, region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent ... has been the subject of dispute between India and Pakistan since the partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. The northern and western portions are administered by Pakistan and comprise three areas: Azad Kashmir, Gilgit, and Baltistan, the last two being part of a territory called the Northern Areas. Administered by India are the southern and southeastern portions, which constitute the state of Jammu and Kashmir but are slated to be split into two union territories. China became active in the eastern area of Kashmir in the 1950s and has controlled the northeastern part of Ladakh (the easternmost portion of the region) since 1962.";
    (b) "Kashmir", Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006, p. 328, ISBN 978-0-7172-0139-6 C. E Bosworth, University of Manchester Quote: "KASHMIR, kash'mer, the northernmost region of the Indian subcontinent, administered partly by India, partly by Pakistan, and partly by China. The region has been the subject of a bitter dispute between India and Pakistan since they became independent in 1947";
  6. ^ Osmańczyk, Edmund Jan (2003), Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements: G to M, Taylor & Francis, pp. 1191–, ISBN 978-0-415-93922-5 Quote: "Jammu and Kashmir: Territory in northwestern India, subject to a dispute between India and Pakistan. It has borders with Pakistan and China."
  7. ^ Singh 2008, pp. 111–3.
  8. ^ Kennedy 2000, p. 259.
  9. ^ Rapson 1955, p. 118.
  10. ^ Sharma 1985, p. 44.
  11. ^ Bamzai 1974, p. 68.
  12. ^ Heckel 2003, p. 48.
  13. ^ Green 1970, p. 403.
  14. ^ Sastri 1988, p. 219.
  15. ^ Chatterjee 1998, p. 199.
  16. ^ a b c Singh 2008, p. 571.
  17. ^ Majumdar 1977, pp. 260–3.
  18. ^ Wink 1991, pp. 242–5.
  19. ^ Majumdar 1977, p. 357.
  20. ^ Khan 2008, p. 58.
  21. ^ Kaw, Kashmiri Pandits 2001, p. 34.
  22. ^ a b Munshi, S. (2010), "Kashmiri", Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World, Elsevier, pp. 582–, ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4
  23. ^ "UCLA Languages Project: Kashmiri". UCLA International Institute. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  24. ^ Abstract of speakers' strength of languages and mother tongues – 2000, Census of India, 2001
  25. ^ "Up north: Call for exploration of archaeological sites". 5 June 2015.
  26. ^ Ghulam Rasool Malik, Kashmiri Literature Archived 1 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Muse India, June 2006.
  27. ^ Poetry and renaissance: Kumaran Asan birth centenary volume, Sameeksha, 1974, retrieved 12 August 2015
  28. ^ "Folk Dances of Kashmir". Archived from the original on 13 May 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2022.
  29. ^ Bamzai, Prithivi Nath Kaul (1994). Culture and Political History of Kashmir. M.D. Publications Pvt. Ltd. p. 243. ISBN 9788185880310. Rice was, as now, the staple food of Kashmiris in ancient times.
  30. ^ Kaw, M.K. (2004). Kashmir and Its People: Studies in the Evolution of Kashmiri Society. APH Publishing. p. 98. ISBN 9788176485371. But perhaps the most popular items of the Kashmiri cuisine were meat and rice.
  31. ^ "Kashmir has special confectionary". 13 March 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2012.



Scholarly books[edit]


Journal articles[edit]

Primary sources[edit]

Media related to Kashmiri people at Wikimedia Commons