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Kashmairi People

Kashmir is a land of fabled beauty and eternal romance, blessed by nature with breath-taking scenery and a glorious climate. The Kashmir valley, a fertile well watered spot, surrounded by high mountains has been described with justification as a "heaven on earth", a produce rich oasis in an area not noted for its abundance. The valley of Kashmir is described as an emerald set in pearls, a land of lakes, clear streams, green turf, magnificent trees and mighty mountains. Although Kashmir has a rich heritage of poets, writers, philosophers, intellectuals and craftsmen it has basically established itself as an agricultural economy.


Kashmiris form a distinct cultural and ethnic group in the administrative unit of the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir, known as "Kashir" to the inhabitants of the valley and as Kashmir in the official circles. Perched securely among the Himalayas at an average height of 6,000 feet above the sea. North east and west, range after range of mountains guard the valley from the outer world while on the south it is cut off from the Punjab by rocky barriers fifty to seventy five miles in length. The valley is a resting place for adventurous traders from distant markets of Yarkand and Central Asia, and it furnished a base for military operations against the wild and turbulent tribes of Shinaki country to the north and north east. More to the east lie the peaceful valleys of Baltistan or Little Thibet, where gentle Baltis lead their harmless lives in a high, dry climate.

Between Kashmir and Skardu (8,873 feet), the chief stronghold of Baltis, are the great mountain plains of Devsai (13,400 feet), and to the east lies the high valley of Dras through which runs the road to Leh and Yarkand. A journey of a few days from Kashmir carries one into countries of new languages, customs and religions like the primitive Shins who live along the spurs of mighty Nanga Parbat, the Mongolian Baltis of little Thibet and the simple Ladakhis, Buddhists and polyandrists.
Kashmiris inhabit contiguous areas of Jammu region in Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Gool, Gulabgarh, Mahour, Dudu and Bani areas of Kathua district. Kashmiri language is spoken in all these areas of Jammu region and ethnically and culturally this forms a compact area along with the valley of Kashmir.

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