Kashmir is rather a mysterious place to a lot of people in the world. Neither the World wide web nor any decent travel guide will tell you the truth about this really very special place. Kashmir is the most northern state of the Indian country. It’s nestled between Pakistan to the west and China to its east.
The capital is called Srinagar and offers everything what a city does. The whole country of India lies to its south where Kashmir belongs to. It covers an area of 222.236 km² and holds a population of 11 million people. In comparison to the rest of India, Kashmir is really different. The unemployment rate is the lowest of all Indian states. It´s very clean and pretty much in an order. Still, expect some chaotic and exciting Indian traffic and road conditions.By Indians it’s also known as the “paradise on earth” and this is asbolutely true. The untouched beauty of nature is overwhelming.
Kashmir hardly has any industries, and you will desperately look for any Mc Donald´s, KFC or big supermarket. Besides the tourism, agriculture is the biggest industry. But the agriculture is not industrialized at all. Still, nearly everything is harvested by hand. It has a huge variety of orchards like cherries, walnuts and apples just to give you an idea. The very expensive and worldwide known Kashmir silk does originally come from the Himalayan mountain goat which lives on high terrain in the northern Himalayas.
The climate in this state is quite extrem due to the largely varying altitude. Four extreme seasons destine whether you can enjoy one of the best powder snow conditions in the world (during the winter) or go hiking throughout the highest mountains in the world (during the summer). For example: some of the highest peaks on this globe like K2 and Nanga Prabat are located in the Pakistan administered area of Kashmir.
The Kashmiri cuisine is very much tending to the Indian kitchen. For sure there’s a huge difference: here you’ll get a lot of meat and also beef which you’ll hardly find in the rest of India.
Culture and Language
The culture here in Kashmir is certainly very special. You have a lot of religions like Hindus, Sikh’s, Christian’s, Bhuddist’s and Moslem’s peacefully living beside each other. People here speak Hindi, Urdu and of course English (the official language all over India). The main language spoken here is Kashmiri. Kashmiri people have an indo-aryian influence in general. However it’s a very special place. As soon as you start going through the different valleys in the Himalayas you will find different tribes speaking completely different languages, not dialects! They all have a diverse look and mostly they live in shepherd huts or have tents which they’re moving with their herds.
When the British left India in 1947 they couldn’t take off quick enough. Therefore the state of Jammu & Kashmir was left in an unsolved situation. It was a princess-state back then. The Maharaja of Kashmir (King) asked India to help him to claim back his land from the occupation of Pakistan and China. The solution in the end was (and still is) that parts of the state are administered by Pakistan and China. The biggest part of Kashmir nowadays is governed by India.