Kishtwari written in Takri and Urdu Script.png
Native toJammu and Kashmir
Native speakers
39,748[1][2] (2011 census)
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Kishtwari or Kashtwari is a northern Indo-Aryan language closely related to the Kashmiri language, with strong influences from neighboring Western Pahari varieties, spoken in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir, India. Kishtwari has historically been classified as a dialect of Kashmiri by scholars such as George Abraham Grierson, and is partially intelligible with Kashmiri, but Kishtwari speakers maintain a separate identity from Kashmiri people, culturally identifying more closely with neighboring Pahari populations of Paddar, Doda-Bhadarwah and the rest of the Chenab Valley. For those that consider Kishtwari as a divergent dialect of Kashmiri (discounting speaker sensibilities), it is one of the two Kashmiri varieties are spoken outside of the Kashmir Valley (the other being Poguli, which is even more distinct and not intelligible with either Kashmiri or Kishtwari).[3][4]


Grierson, in his Linguistic Survey of India, classified Kishtwari as a highly divergent variety of Kashmiri that had been profoundly influenced by neighbouring Punjabi and Pahari languages.[5] Grierson noted that Kishtwari is more conservative in certain aspects than other Kashmiri dialects, as evidenced by the retention of subject pronoun thu, in addition to the present participle an, features that have disappeared in Standard Kashmiri. A wordlist and preliminary grammatical sketch of Kishtwari were compiled in The Languages of the Northern Himalayas.[6]

The 1911 Census of India recorded 7,464 speakers of Kishtwari.


Grierson remarks that an idiosyncratic variant of Takri is used to write the Kishtwari language; as well as observing that there does not appear to be standard spelling nor a consistent orthography.

Specimen in Kashtwari language from Grierson's LSI Vol. VIII, Pt. II, page 386
Specimen in Kashtwari language from Grierson's LSI Vol. VIII, Pt. II, page 386


  1. ^ CENSUS OF INDIA 2011. "LANGUAGE" (PDF). Government of India. p. 7.
  2. ^ "C-16 Population By Mother Tongue". Census of India 2011. Office of the Registrar General.
  3. ^ Sheikh, Aejaz Mohammed; Kuchey, Sameer Ahmad (2014). "Kishtwari". Indian Linguistics. 75 (3–4): 55–66. ISSN 0378-0759.
  4. ^ Mahapatra, B. P. (1989). Constitutional languages. Presses Université Laval. p. 270. ISBN 978-2-7637-7186-1.
  5. ^ Grierson, George Abraham Grierson. Linguistic Survey of India. Vol. 8. pp. 344–383.
  6. ^ Bailey, Thomas Grahame. Languages of the Northern Himalayas. pp. 61–70.