Kashmir Origins

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The word “Kashmir” is beautiful and is defined as “a region located on the Indian subcontinent which shares boards with Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and China.” That definition does not fully explain the true beauty of the land. Understanding the origins of the word “Kashmir” may give visitors to the region a better appreciation of this unique land and its long and rich history.

The oldest known written work on the history and origin of Kashmir is known as the “Nilmat Puran.” Within its pages is the legend of the Kashmir Valley. Within this valley there was a lake and within the lake lived Jalodbhava, a fierce demon who devoured the people of the land after forcing them to endure fierce torture. An Indian Rishi, Kashyap, heard the cries of the people and set out to aid them. After much time and trials, the lake-home of the demon was drained and he was killed. The local people renamed the valley, calling it Kashyap-Mar – literally the home of Kashyap. The Sanskrit translation is Kashmir, meaning a land without water.

This beautiful tale is a perfect representation of the rich history of the area. Today it is well known to have fostered several obvious religions and has been ruled by many different nations over its long history. The influence of the many cultures and religions has created a unique area. StStill, those that live there remember their origins and where they came from.

With an understanding of the origins of Kashmir, modern day visitors are likely to better grasp the cultural influences that can be seen throughout the region. Histories, particularly origin myths, almost always present those who study them with a better understanding of the culture they represent. This holds true in Kashmir. Its high mountain peeks and beautiful valleys stand as a testament. Kashmir is more than a simple geographic location and it is still the land without water.

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