Situated in the heart of Palpora, the area holds a hidden treasure in the form of the residents’ remarkable craftsmanship, particularly displayed by the men now along with the women too. Their adept hands skillfully mould copper into captivating works of art, unveiling the intersection of creativity, firmness, and aspirations. The thriving community of coppersmiths in Palpora is fuelled by a solid spirit of artistry, resilience, and dreams, transforming the village into a vibrant hub.

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The tradition of gifting copper utensils in Kashmir has been deeply ingrained in the local culture for decades. It holds significant cultural and symbolic value, especially during moments of joy and special occasions. One such occasion is the celebration of marriage, where the exchange of copper utensils is a cherished tradition. During the marriage ceremony, it is customary for the bride to present copper utensils as gifts to her new in-laws. These gifts not only symbolize the bride’s goodwill and respect for her new family but also carry a deeper cultural meaning. Copper, being a durable and versatile metal, represents enduring qualities and strength, symbolizing the solid foundation of the new family being formed.

The act of gifting copper utensils extends beyond weddings to other moments of happiness and celebration within the Kashmiri community. These gifts serve as tokens of appreciation, love, and blessings, fostering a sense of connection and unity among family members and friends. The exchange of such gifts not only strengthens interpersonal relationships but also adds a touch of cultural richness to significant life events in Kashmir.

The Kashmiri artisans have bestowed their skillful craftsmanship on a range of traditional utensils, each serving a unique purpose in daily life like Lota (pot), Tream (plate), Naer (water jug), Tash Near (portable handwash), dishes, bowls and laddles… and many more traditional items like Portable hand washing utensil and Samovar.

Portable Hand Washing System (Tash-Naer): An innovative creation, this portable hand washing system reflects the adaptability of Kashmiri artisans to address practical needs. It allows for convenient hand hygiene, particularly in outdoor or communal settings.

Samovar: Among the most famous Kashmiri utensils, the Samovar is a traditional tea container. It holds a special place in Kashmiri culture, serving as a major attraction at special gatherings and wedding feasts. These intricately designed copper samovars are not only functional but also carry a sense of cultural significance and tradition. Their prominence lies in their role in serving hot cups of traditional Kashmiri beverages such as kehwa and nun chai.

Kehwa, a spiced green tea, and nun chai, a salty pink tea, are staple beverages in Kashmiri households. The preparation and serving of these teas are often considered an art, and the use of Copper Samovars enhances the entire experience. The elaborate designs and craftsmanship of these samovars add a touch of grandeur to special occasions, reflecting the cultural richness of Kashmir.

In addition to everyday articles, copper craftsmen in Kashmir also create wall plates engraved with excerpts from the Quran, which are intended to be displayed inside homes. This not only reflects the aesthetic beauty of Islamic calligraphy but also brings an element of sacredness into the domestic space. The enduring tradition of copper craftsmanship in Kashmir showcases not only the practical aspects of the material but also its cultural, artistic, and religious significance within the broader context of Islamic traditions.

It serves as a symbol of hospitality and tradition with their historical roots and exquisite craftsmanship, contribute to the overall ambiance of warmth and celebration during significant events in Kashmiri society.


Copper utensils have played a significant role in Indian kitchens for centuries, embodying both cultural importance and practical advantages. One key aspect is their perceived health benefits, as copper is acknowledged for its antimicrobial properties, which can inhibit the proliferation of harmful bacteria and enhance kitchen hygiene. From an Ayurvedic standpoint, deeply rooted in traditional Indian medicine, copper is classified as a “Tamba” metal with various health benefits. It is believed that storing and drinking water from copper utensils can help balance the three doshas—Vata, Pitta, and Kapha—promoting overall well-being. Additionally, copper utensils are thought to contribute to improved digestion, making them commonly used not only in cooking but also for serving and storing water. These beliefs and practices surrounding copper utensils reflect the intersection of cultural traditions and the perceived health benefits associated with their usage in Indian households.

The Izband soz holds significant meaning, as it is believed to ward off evil eyes and spirits. Harmala seeds are burned on burning coals, and the smoky fragrance is spread throughout the entire area. When a Kashmiri bride leaves her parents’ home for her new one, she is accompanied by the Izband soz to fend off any ill will. The Izband soz is used specifically for Izband Zalun.

Another important object is the Tast-t-Naari, a pair of water serving and holding vessels that are moved around the wedding banquet hall to allow guests to wash their hands before and after meals. The Traami, on the other hand, is a large round eating dish that accommodates four people who sit around it to eat during a feast. The conical dish placed on the trami before the meal begins is known as the sarposh. All guests at a Kashmiri wedding feast eat simultaneously, a wonderful tradition that fosters unity and celebration.

Copper as a material holds significant importance in Indian culture. Most of the puja lotas, aachmanis (spoons), and tarbanas (plates) are made of copper. In many Shiva temples in the Himalayan region, we can see that the snake on top of the linga is also made of copper. Copper has consistently held a significant place within Muslim communities, and the tradition of utilizing copper vessels, samovars (tea serving pots), serving spoons, cups, and various artifacts in Kashmir has a historical foundation. This practice can be traced back to the influence of Persian artisans during the reign of Emperor Zain-ul-Abedin in the 14th century.

The skilled craftsmanship and artistic techniques introduced by Persian artisans left a lasting impact on the region’s metalwork traditions, particularly in the production of copper items. Over the centuries, the art of working with copper became deeply ingrained in Kashmir’s cultural and artistic heritage, creating a distinctive style that reflects a blend of Persian influence and local craftsmanship. The use of copper in various household items not only signifies a practical approach to daily life but also serves as a testament to the enduring cultural connections and historical exchanges that have shaped the traditions of the Kashmiri Muslim community.

Beyond their utilitarian purposes, copper items, such as platters and bowls, have become integral to everyday life. Drawing inspiration from older copper artefacts, skilled engravers occasionally incorporate Urdu script, featuring religious poems or profound thoughts. This practice adds a layer of cultural and spiritual significance to these functional pieces.

Myths & Legends:

The tradition of gifting copper utensils in Kashmir has been deeply ingrained in the local culture for decades. It holds significant cultural and symbolic value, especially during moments of joy and special occasions. One such occasion is the celebration of marriage, where the exchange of copper utensils is a cherished tradition. During the marriage ceremony, it is customary for the bride to present copper utensils as gifts to her new in-laws. These gifts not only symbolize the bride’s goodwill and respect for her new family but also carry a deeper cultural meaning. Copper, being a durable and versatile metal, represents enduring qualities and strength, symbolizing the solid foundation of the new family being formed.


In India, we have archaeological evidence of copper usage dating back more than 5000 years. Several Harappan sites have revealed the use of copper, including furnaces, ingots, metal tools, and jewelry. The two major techniques practiced at Harappan sites were casting and forging. At the archaeological site of Bijnore in Rajasthan, several types of furnaces were discovered, showing similarities to those found at Harappan sites. If we calculate the numbers, it seems like an industrial setup. Therefore, there is no question about the knowledge and usage of copper even 5000-6000 years ago.

The rich history of Kashmir traces its roots back to the 8th century, flourishing under the reign of Lalitaditya. Kahlana Pandita, a prominent Kashmiri writer from the 11th century, meticulously chronicled the era’s rulers in his renowned work, Rajatarangini. Lalitaditya, highlighted as the most illustrious ruler of the Hindu period, left an indelible mark on history. His conquests extended across North India, Central Asia, and Tibet, elevating Kashmir to unprecedented prosperity and power.

Lalitaditya’s reign witnessed the zenith of artistic achievement in Kashmir. The craftsmanship of Kashmiri artisans reached its pinnacle, especially in the creation of brass, gold, and silver figures. The temples and Buddhist monasteries constructed under his patronage showcased mountainous idols and stood as testaments to the artistic brilliance of the time.

Kashmiri craftsmen, celebrated for their proficiency in painting and intricate detailing, left an enduring imprint on bronze works. Their artistry transcended regional boundaries, influencing art from Central Asia to Tibet. Notably, during Lalitaditya’s era, Kashmiri copper craft gained widespread recognition and was transported to Persia, where it soon became the favoured medium in Persian metallurgy.

The valley of Kashmir witnessed the arrival of many saints who played a pivotal role in preaching and propagating Islam. This historical context further contributed to the cultural mosaic of Kashmir, leaving a permanent mark on its crafts, traditions, and way of life.

The legacy endured, as Persian artisans, armed with new techniques and products, came to Kashmir in the 14th century. This cultural exchange enriched Kashmir’s artistic landscape, further shaping its identity as a centre of exquisite craftsmanship with a global influence. Once Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadan from Iran was visiting Kashmir. He was awestruck by its beauty but, at the same time, was disturbed by the abject poverty of its people. To pull them out of poverty and also give them a robust religious grounding, Shah Hamadan is said to have brought 700 artisans from Iran. They scattered across the region, spreading their knowledge, including the art of crafts,

Historically, princely patronage has played a pivotal role in fostering and encouraging traditional handicrafts, especially those that produce lightweight yet artistically rich products. This support, extended from early times, has not only preserved these crafts but has also facilitated their flourishing in both domestic and international markets.

Recognizing the importance of preserving these traditional crafts, the state government has taken proactive measures by establishing numerous training centres. These centres serve as platforms for imparting skills and knowledge to young boys and girls, ensuring the continuity of traditional arts and crafts. The training provided equips the new generation with the expertise needed to carry forward these time-honoured practices.

As a result of these initiatives, there has been a widespread dissemination of handicrafts throughout the state. The efforts to train and empower the youth not only contribute to the preservation of cultural heritage but also enhance economic opportunities for those engaged in traditional crafts. The combination of princely patronage, governmental support, and skill development programs has created a thriving ecosystem for the promotion and sustainability of these valued handicraft traditions.

Operated by the Department of Handicrafts and Handlooms, training centres offers a specialized two-year training course for a group of young women. The program aims to empower these individuals by providing them with skills in crafts that are traditionally less pursued by women. Focusing on engraving techniques, the centre becomes a platform for these girls to master the art of creating intricate designs and exclusive geometrical motifs. This initiative not only contributes to preserving traditional craftsmanship but also fosters gender inclusivity by encouraging women to excel in areas that have historically been less explored by them. The training centre becomes a beacon of empowerment, offering a unique opportunity for these girls to hone their talents and contribute to the rich tapestry of artistic traditions in their community.

Artisans are undergoing craft training to reimagine their traditional skills and create products tailored for contemporary use. From crafting stylish lamps and innovative home decor pieces to designing trendy earrings, these artisans are bridging the gap between age-old craftsmanship and modern functionality. Their commitment to blending heritage with contemporary aesthetics is evident in the unique and versatile products they bring to life.


The design of copper objects can be viewed from three aspects: the functionality of the object, its form, and the decorative carving on the form. Due to specific purposes and environments, unique forms of these objects have evolved over time. When we examine old Indian forms found at Harappan sites, we can see some similarities, but we have added more complexity and functionality to the basic forms, such as decorative stands and handles.

When it comes to carving on metal, we can clearly see the influence of Kashmiri visual aesthetics. Though these decorative works increase the cost of the product, making them affordable only to the wealthy, artisans plan and divide the space into geometric sections and place repetitive patterns within them. These patterns and elements are inspired by local architecture, flora, and fauna.

In Islamic art traditions, the prohibition against depicting human figures has led to a heightened emphasis on calligraphy as a prominent and highly developed form of artistic expression. This is especially evident in regions like Kashmir, where the Islamic cultural influence is strong. Despite the primary language being Kashmiri, many handcrafted works in the region incorporate Arabic script in their designs.

The intricate art of calligraphy not only serves a practical purpose as a means of written communication but also takes on a deeply aesthetic and spiritual significance. The use of Arabic or Persian lettering in Kashmiri art reflects a historical connection to broader Islamic artistic traditions. The Arabic script, often associated with the Quranic verses and Islamic literature, becomes a powerful visual element in various forms of art, such as pottery, textiles, and architectural elements.

This incorporation of Arabic or Persian calligraphy in Kashmiri art not only adheres to Islamic artistic conventions but also contributes to the creation of visually stunning and culturally rich artefacts. It demonstrates the adaptability of Islamic artistic traditions within diverse cultural contexts, showcasing the fusion of local languages with the aesthetic beauty of Arabic script.

In the realm of copperware craftsmanship, several motifs find prominence, each adding its unique touch to the final product. Among the commonly used motifs, the badam (almond), chinar leaf, reminiscent of a maple leaf, introduces a natural and intricate design, evoking the beauty of nature.

Another widely employed motif is the Mehrab, an arch-like pattern that carries cultural and architectural significance. The Mehrab design often reflects elements found in Islamic art and architecture, adding a touch of cultural depth to the copperware.

These motifs, whether inspired by nature or architecture, contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the finished copper utensils. Each motif, carefully engraved by the skilled hands of artisans, not only showcases the mastery of the craft but also tells a story of cultural richness and artistic heritage. The selection of motifs allows for a diverse range of designs, ensuring that every piece of copperware is a unique blend of tradition and creativity.


The challenges require a combination of efforts from both the artisans and external stakeholders, including government bodies, non-profit organizations, and the broader community, to ensure the sustainability and continued vitality of the copper work tradition in Kashmir.

Market Trends and Globalization: Changes in consumer preferences and the influence of global market trends may affect the demand for traditional copper products. Mass-produced and cheaper alternatives can sometimes overshadow handmade copper items, impacting the market for artisans.

Skill Preservation and Succession: The transfer of traditional skills from one generation to the next is crucial for the continuity of this craft. However, the younger generation might not always be interested in pursuing the artisanal profession, leading to concerns about skill preservation and succession.

Marketing and Access to Markets: Artisans often face challenges in marketing their products effectively, reaching a wider audience, and securing fair prices for their work. Lack of access to markets or limited exposure can hinder the growth of their businesses.

Competition from Machine Made Mass Production: Handmade copper items face competition from mass-produced goods that are often more affordable. This can make it challenging for artisans to compete in terms of pricing while maintaining the quality and uniqueness of their products.

Lack of Financial Support: Limited access to financial resources and support can hinder artisans from investing in their businesses, adopting new techniques, or expanding their operations.

This craft desperately needs design innovations, material quality control and branding to survive and flourish.

Introduction Process:

The process involves Khar – the smith, Naqash – the engraver, Zarcod – the gilder, Roshangar – the polisher and Charakgar – the cleaner or finisher. In fact, specific localities or Mohallas like Roshangar-Mohalla are named after these professions, where these artisans still carry out their craft practice.

Raw Materials:

Copper sheets: Copper sheets are flat, thin pieces of copper metal that serve as a raw material in various applications, including copper work and craftsmanship. These sheets are available in different thicknesses, ranging from very thin foil to thicker gauges, depending on the intended use. Copper sheets are versatile and commonly used in several industries for their unique properties

Coal: Coal is used to heat the metal, a process employed to make the handle of the top crown of the product. Artisans use sand casting to shape such objects.

In artisanal practices, copper sheets are cut, shaped, and engraved to create intricate designs and forms. The craftsmanship involves heating the sheets to make them malleable, forming them into desired shapes, and then adding artistic details through engraving and decoration.

Tools & Tech:

Artisans involved in handmade copper work in Kashmir use a variety of tools to shape, engrave, and finish their creations. The specific tools may vary based on the artisan’s techniques and the type of copper item being crafted. Here are some common tools used in handmade copper work in Kashmir:  some of them are Draz – hammer, Mekh -stakes, Yandrewah – anvil, chisels, punches, files, compass etc. also locally known as Basta, Thaj, Sharanz, Gosheper and Angus.

Hammer: Hammers of different sizes and weights are used for shaping and forming the copper sheets. The artisan uses the hammer to create the desired contours and patterns.

Chisel: Chisels, both large and small, are employed for cutting and engraving intricate designs on the copper surface. The artisan skillfully uses the chisel to add fine details to the finished product.

Mallet: A mallet is a type of hammer with a large, flat head. It is often used in conjunction with shaping and forming processes to provide controlled force for bending and moulding the copper.

Iron Block & Rod: Blocks on which the copper sheet is placed for shaping and hammering. They provide a solid surface against which the artisan can work.

Metal Sheet Cutting Scissor: Precision tool for cutting and shaping metal sheets.

Clamps and Claws to hold sheets.

Weighing Scale and Weight: Essential tools for accurate measurement of mass and weight.

Soldering Iron: In instances where pieces of copper need to be joined together, a soldering iron is used to melt solder and create a strong bond between the metal components.



The intricate process of crafting copper and copperware utensils is a testament to the skilled hands that guide it through various stages, each handled by a specialized artisan. Beginning with the manufacturer of copper sheets, who skill fully melts wires and sheets to create diverse shapes, the raw product then undergoes refinement by the cleaner, ensuring a smooth surface.

The journey continues as the utensil arrives at the hands of the naqishgeer, or engraver, who meticulously carves an array of designs and motifs onto the finished metal. This stage demands utmost attention and focus, as the precision of the engraving plays a pivotal role in the final outcome.

The final touch is entrusted to the Kalaigar, the polisher, who thoroughly polishes the engraved utensil to a brilliant shine. This step not only enhances its visual appeal but also renders it lustrous, marking the completion of the intricate craftsmanship.

Each of these steps requires a specific specialization and technique, with engraving standing out as a process demanding the highest degree of concentration. The value of the copper product is ultimately determined by the complexity of the engraving, as well as the precision, neatness, and density of the designs fixed onto its surface. The journey from raw materials to the finished, polished utensil is a symphony of craftsmanship, where each artisan’s unique skill contributes to the creation of a functional work of art.

Step 1 – Material Selection: High-quality copper sheets are carefully chosen for the crafting process.

Step 2 – Cutting: Using a hammer and chisel, the selected copper sheets are cut into the desired shape and size.

Step 3 – Shaping: The cut copper sheet is heated and then meticulously hammered into the desired form.

Step 4 – Forming: Once the basic shape is achieved, the artisan refines and perfects the form through additional hammering and shaping.

Step 5 – Engraving and Design Creation: Using a small chisel, the artisan meticulously creates intricate designs on the surface of the copper, adding artistic details to the crafted piece.

Step 6 – Finishing Touches: After shaping and engraving, artisans may apply additional processes such as polishing to achieve the desired finish. This enhances the overall appearance of the copper item.


Copper Scraps: Trimming and cutting copper sheets to achieve the desired shapes can result in copper scraps. These offcuts may be collected and recycled to minimize material wastage.

Dust and Residue: The process of shaping and engraving copper can produce dust and residue. This may include fine copper particles and other materials generated during cutting and hammering.

Cluster Name: Srinagar-Srinagar


One of the most beautiful cities this country houses, Srinagar is known for its elegance and marvel, straight out of a fairy tale. Wrapped in the hem of snow-capped mountains, the city holds in itself the most serene lakes, impeccable flower gardens, unending apple and apricot orchards and a plethora of handmade crafts of a variety of materials, unique only to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

District / State
Srinagar-Srinagar / Jammu & Kashmir

Kashmiri, Urdu, Hindi, English
Best time to visit
Stay at
Local hotels or stay with locals
How to reach
New Delhi-Srinagar, Amritsar-Srinagar, Chandigarh-Srinagar(by Air,Rail or Road)
Local travel
Bus, Taxi, Jeep, Auto-Rickshaw
Must eat
Kashmiri Food,Kehva


Up-to 600 BC : According to the Rajatarangini, the oldest ruler was Gonanda I, who appears to have ruled in the days just before the Mahabharata. It is emperor Ashok who is said to have founded the city of Srinagari, now Srinagar. The dialect of the North was known for its purity hence Brahmanas flocked to the North for the purposes of study. This is corroborated by the fact that Takshshila became a centre of learning and classical Sanskrit was first developed in Kashmir.
Alexander left the King of Abhisara to rule in Kashmir. According to the Mahavimsa, the Third Buddhist Council met at Pataliputra (Patna) and deputed a missionary by the name of Majjhantika to go to Kashmir and Gandhara (in modern day Afghanistan).

320 to 1000 AD: According to Kalhana (referred to above), nearly the whole of the Gupta age was ruled by the Gonanada dynasty i.e. for about 300 yrs. (unlikely though). It is also believed that the Kushanas and the Huns ruled over Kashmir during this period. After them a new dynasty known as Karkota or Naga was founded by Durlabha-vardhana. He had married the daughter of the last Gonanada king and became king in 527 AD.
Lalitaaditya Muktapada in 724 AD, the greatest king of that dynasty followed him. He defeated the Tibetans and the Turks. Lalitaditya's son Vajraditya who ruled from 762 AD is said to have sold many Kashmiris to the Arabs of Sindh and introduced many Islamic practices in Kashmir. The Arab governor of Sind raided Kashmir around 770 and took many slaves / prisoners. The next successor was Jayapida referred to above. He was a brave general like his dada Lalitaditya. Away from Kashmir, he won some battles and lost others and ruled Kashmir from 770 ad up to the closing years of the eighth century. Thereafter, a series of Kings ruled Kashmir. The Karkota dynasty came to an end in 855-6 AD.

1000 TO 1800 AD: Around 1014 AD, Mahmud Ghazni plundered the Valley for the first time. He carried him with a large number of prisoners and converted to Islam. He returned in 1015 AD and made a fruitless attempt to capture the hill fort of Lohkot, modern day Loharin. He failed to capture the fort in 1021 AD too.

In 1301 ad, Suhadeva asserted his supremacy over Kashmir but had to face Dulucha, commander in chief of the King of Kandahar who took a large number of Kashmiris as slaves.  It is a very significant fact that the Himalayan countries of Kashmir, Nepal and Tibet came out of the mountain seclusion and enter the arena of Indian history and culture, almost simultaneously, from the seventh century onwards. Kashmir maintained this intimate association till the Muslims while Nepal; Tibet overran it until very recent times.
The next important king was Sikandar whose reign marks a turning point in the history of Kashmir from a religious/social perspective. Shahi Khan became the next king in 1420. He is the greatest king of Kashmir. The state became prosperous and he treated the Hindus well. He was well versed in Persian and Sanskrit, had the Mahabharata translated into Persian. He died in 1470 AD. From there on till 1530, there were a number of kings with treachery and instability being the name of the game.
A series of kings ruled Kashmir till 1540. It was then decided by Humayun's generals mainly Mirza Haidar to invade Kashmir. He conquered it in 1540.  His imprisonment in spite of a promise of safe custody is a dark blot on the character of the chivalrous Akbar. His son Yaqub continued fighting Akbar till he was defeated.

1800 TO 1947 AD: Afghans ruled it till 1819. As long as they got their annual tribute of Rs 20 lakhs a year, the Afghan king did not interfere in the administration. Maharaja Ranjit Singh conferred Jammu as a jagir to the family of Gulab Singh. Among the three traitors in The First Sikh War was the Dogra Chief Gulab Singh. As a reward for siding with the Brits he was given the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846 on payment of fifty lakhs rupees in cash.
Jammu and Kashmir was the biggest among the 562 princely Indian States that comprised two-fifths of the India under colonial rule for well over a century. Unlike the remaining 60 per cent area constituting the British India Provinces, these States possessed sovereignty in various degrees depending on their individual treaties with His Majesty's government; broadly speaking, they had a system of personal government while being under the overall suzerainty of the British Crown. The British Parliament's Indian Independence Act, 1947 (which received Royal Assent on 18th July that year) created two independent Dominions of India and Pakistan made up of the erstwhile British India Provinces. The Act freed the princely States from the Crown's paramountcy but denied them dominion status while permitting them to accede to India or to Pakistan.

If the state acceded to Pakistan, the non-Muslims of Jammu and Ladakh as well as considerable sections of Muslims led by the National Conference Party would definitely have resented such action. On the other hand, accession to India would have provoked adverse reactions in Gilgit and certain regions contiguous to Pakistan. Further, the road communications were with Pakistan and rivers flowing into Pakistan were transporting forest resources that constituted a considerable portion of the State's revenue.
In the early hours of 27th October 1947 began an operation the like of which had never before occurred in the history of warfare.  On 7th November the Indian troops won the battle of Shaltang, thereby removing all threats to Srinagar. Three days later, Baramulla was recaptured. The process of retreat by the enemy on all fronts began. With the Indian Army finding that the only way the raiders could be completely removed from Kashmir was by attacking their bases and sources of supply in Pakistan, India warned Pakistan on 22nd December 1947 that unless Pakistan denied her assistance and bases to the invaders, India would be compelled to take such action.

At that critical stage in J&K's history, 53 years ago, Lord Mountbatten urged our PM, Jawaharlal Nehru, about

"the overwhelming need for caution and restraint"

he stressed "how embroilment in war with Pakistan would undermine the whole of Nehru's independent foreign policy and progressive social aspirations. And, on Mountbatten's advice, Nehru decided to lodge a complaint to the United Nations Security Council. That was done on 31st December 31, 1947.


Jammu & Kashmir is a mystifying land. It is a picturesque collage of various elements of nature that makes it an ideal tourist destination. The northern frontier of the state is fortified with the majestic mountains of the Himalaya Range. These ranges and their snow-capped peaks complete a picturesque landscape that includes crystal clear streams and lush green vegetation. Jammu and Kashmir is not a homogeneous land. It is marked by undulating topography and varied soil types that lead to the growth of diverse plants. These in turn, support numerous life forms to constitute an ecological pyramid.
In terms of climate, Jammu and Kashmir is unique. The vast distribution of topographical features is a cause of this fact. The controlling factor of the climate is the Himalayas. Except the dry plateaus of Ladakh, the state receives ample amounts of rainfall. Srinagar has a humid subtropical climate, much cooler than what is found in much of the rest of India, due to its moderately high elevation and northerly position. The valley is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. Winters are cool, with daytime a January average of 2.5 °C (36.5 °F), and temperatures below freezing at night. Moderate to heavy snowfall occurs in winter and the only road that connects Srinagar with the rest of India may get blocked for a few days due to avalanches. Summers are warm with a July daytime average of 24.1 °C (75.4 °F). The average annual rainfall is around 710 millimetres (28 in). Spring is the wettest season while autumn is the driest. The highest temperature reliably recorded is 38.3 °C (100.9 °F) and the lowest is −20.0 °C (−4.0 °F)

Perennial streams of fresh water crisscross the land. The streams water the land and sustain the lives of the people that inhabit the land. Winter season sees extensive precipitation in terms of snowfall. In the winter, the snow resembles a vast sheet of white blanket covering the valleys.


The state of Jammu and Kashmir, possess a rich diversity of flora. An estimate puts the total number of plant species in the state at over 3000. These are unevenly distributed throughout the three regions of the state. For example, the dry frontiers of Ladakh have about 880 species, most of them able to withstand extreme climatic conditions. In Jammu, the number is over 500 species of plants. These estimations are inadequate since they include only certain groups of plants.

The flora of the state has a high degree of endemism. Some of the families of plants that are found here are found nowhere else. The plants that are found in Jammu and Kashmir are a majorly important part of the people that inhabit the state. The forests are the source of fodder, food, honey and other such commodities that lend a lot to the identity of the locals. Several plants with medicinal properties have been identified in the region. Locals as rudimentary medicines use many of these plants. The forests cover over 20% of the geographical area of Srinagar, constituting a vast reserve of natural wealth.
The diversity of avian species is remarkable. The 358 species of birds that have been recorded in the state can be catalogued into 179 genera and 16 orders. Many of these birds are migratory and navigate treacherous journeys to reach the promising land. The waters of the state provide habitat for 44 species of fish, categorized into 14 genera. Amphibians, such as frogs have been placed under 14 genera. The insect collection is infinite, with many of the species yet to be discovered. Mammals are represented by 75 species. These species themselves are subdivided into subspecies, represented by 54 genera further classified into 21 families. Among the mammals, it is the carnivores that occupy a chunk of the total mammals.
The abundance of faunal riches Jammu and Kashmir possesses is enviable. The state is the last refuge for many threatened animals and the state is doing the needful to prolong their survival. The protected areas of the region, its national parks and wildlife sanctuaries have been established. These provide a safe haven for these species for visitors to see and appreciate the rich natural heritage the state possess.

Hokersar, 14 km north of Srinagar, is a world-class wetland spread over 13.75 km2 including lakes and marshy area. Thousands of migratory birds come to Hokersar from Siberia and other regions in the winter season. It is the most accessible and well known of Kashmir's wetlands, which include Hygam, Shalibug and Mirgund. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years.
Migratory birds from Siberia and Central Asia use wetlands in Kashmir as their transitory camps between September and October and again around spring. These wetlands play a vital role in sustaining a large population of wintering, staging and breeding birds. A record number of migratory birds have visited Hokersar in recent years.  Birds found in Hokersar 'Migratory ducks and geese, which include brahminy duck, tufted duck, gadwall, garganey, greylag goose, mallard, common merganser, northern pintail, common pochard, ferruginous pochard, red-crested pochard, ruddy shelduck, northern shoveller, common teal, and Eurasian wigeon.


Srinagar is a heavy cantonment area and it is the starting point to the Srinagar-Leh highway. Army movements and requirements have led to the city having impeccable roads and proper medical facilities and some very good hospitals, scattered across the city. Medical facilities are a heavy requirement in Srinagar because of the constant political and pseudo-social disruptions that the city and the state have to face together. Srinagar being the capital of Jammu and Kashmir has to be kept in order when it comes to the basic facilities because of it being the central point for the locals, the Indian army as well as prominent tourism. Electricity and water supplies are abundant and Srinagar has a large range of hotels of different tariffs and facilities to choose from. Markets are many and have all supplies for basic and luxurious living. Jammu and Kashmir mostly has manufacturing industries, small-scale industries, cottage industries etc. There are industries in almost all parts of Jammu and Kashmir but some areas have been marked as primarily and significantly industrial areas. Some of these important areas are:

  • Industrial Growth Centre in Samba
  • Integrated Infrastructure Development Project in Udhampur
  • Industrial Complex in Bari Brahmana
  • Industrial Estate in Zakura
  • Industrial Growth Centre in Ompora

The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has also laid some policies for the development of industries in the state. Educational institutes are abundant with medical, engineering colleges along with a number of specialized colleges.

Srinagar Airport (IATA code SXR) has regular domestic flights to Leh, Jammu, Chandigarh and Delhi and occasional international flights. The International flights terminal was inaugurated on 14 February 2009 with an Air India flight from Dubai. Hajj flights also operate from this airport to Saudi Arabia. Srinagar is a station on the 119 km (74 mi) long Kashmir railway that started in October 2009 and connects Baramulla to Srinagar, Anantnag and Qazigund. The railway track also connects to Banihal across the Pir Panjal Mountains through a newly constructed 11 km long Banihal tunnel, and subsequently to the Indian railway network after a few years. It takes approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds for train to cross the tunnel. It is the longest rail tunnel in India. This railway system, proposed in 2001, is not expected to connect the Indian railway network until 2017 at the earliest, with a cost overrun of INR5, 500 crores. The train also runs during heavy snow.

In December 2013, the 594m cable car allowing people to travel to the shrine of the Sufi saint Hamza Makhdoom on Hari Parbat was unveiled. The project is run by the Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC), and has been envisioned for 25 years. An investment of INR30cr was made, and it is the second cable car in Kashmir after the Gulmarg Gondola.


Architecture of Srinagar can be divided into at least three different time periods. Dating back in the history, before arrival of Parmars of Gujarat to Garhwal, and Srinagar's emergence as Capital in later time, the place was understandably a small hillside settlement scattered across the valley at an immediate sight. Excluding some Archaeological significance and recent findings, the place was much a junction and a stopover en-route Badrinath - Kedarnath.  Excluding recent excavations and few heritage sites around Srinagar which reveal some breath-taking findings of settlements, civilisations and remains of prehistoric era or around 3,000 - 5,000 B.C. resembling culture, these depict an age old Architecture scattered randomly in some remains and submerged structures. This tells us various things including the very Culture and Architecture of the region. Findings at Ranihat & Thapli villages are a thriving reference and much needs to be undertaken to unearth, study and preserve this heritage. The Himalayan Archaeological & Ethnography Museum is taking keen interests in this mission.

The pre-medieval time when Srinagar was a small centre, the architecture was houses with conventional mountain specific design complying the low temperatures, snow-falls, heavy rains, etc. features which are high altitude typicality. However, yet placed at a moderate height of about 579 meters and settled across a moderate mountain fare of the valley, it gained the real architectural momentum when King Ajaypal established Srinagar as Garhwal capital in 1358. Previously the office was at Devalgarh, some miles away from Srinagar. The architecture was a conventional Himalayan Architecture blended with some extravagant attempts.

Year 1803 and 1804 are most unfortunate episodes in the History of Srinagar & Garhwal. The devastating earthquake destroyed the relics of capital Srinagar. It brought down and literally destroyed the 'living' of Srinagar.  The period now is crucial phase, which makes a significant and more tangible architectural state of Srinagar. This composition is a well assessed, planned and better executed design of what is Srinagar of post the flood of 1894 till date. Never denying the recurrent floods and few more earthquakes, which took place during this period. Some officials made visits to few places and the present day Srinagar much resembling to Jaipur architecture as Jaipur's Architecture & Plans are reasonably followed to comply with Srinagar's exposition as:

a. A Big Valley Bazar
b. Garhwal Capital
c. Important Junction on Badrinath - Kedarnath route

However the volume and expansion of present day Srinagar is vast and wide comparing to other mountain towns. The old Architecture is visible and felt more in olden town area and the structures constructed within. Today, it is more a semi-urban structures yet rising in a random and unorganised manner across any available flat-patch of land. Typicality of high altitude and low temperature zones, snowfalls, foggy weather and unpredictable climate change, all have to play a vital role in designing a strong and rigid structure complying to the hillside rather than thinking and executing any pro-urban plans in this architecture.


Like the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar too has a distinctive blend of cultural heritage. Holy places in and around the city depict the historical cultural and religious diversity of the city as well as the Kashmir valley.
The culture, language, and traditions of Srinagar reflect a life that of a typical any contemporary, regional Indian town. It has to exhibit much uniqueness with customs, traditions, climate and folklore of the territory, the landscape where it sits. Mostly, the Himalayan Hills are still a maiden mountain space, so different, so natural, simple and very much mystic. Yet a very cosmopolitan Indian culture of Srinagar places this Himalayan valley, the ancient Garhwali Capital differently.

The very Himalayan culture intermixed with Lower Northern & Upper Western India's cultures, presence of Nath Sect in olden times, being headquarter to some prominent socio-cultural movements in Uttarakhand, creations in form of paintings (later and now known as Garhwali Paintings) and poetry from famous Garhwali Languages spoken in Srinagar are mainly Garhwali, Hindi, Punjabi and English. 

Sufiana Music: Sufi music came to Kashmir from Iran in the 15th century. Over the years it has established itself as the classical music form of Kashmir and has incorporated a number of Indian Ragas in its body. There are only a few families in Kashmir who are practising this musical form in Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir has the distinction of having multifaceted, variegated and unique cultural blend, making it distinct from the rest of the country, not only from the different cultural forms and heritage, but from geographical, demographically, ethical, social entities, forming a distinct spectrum of diversity and diversions into Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh, all professing diverse religion, language and culture, but continuously intermingling, making it vibrant specimens of Indian Unity amidst diversity. Its different cultural forms like art and architecture, fair and festivals, rites and rituals, seer and sagas, language and mountains, embedded in ageless period of history, speak volumes of unity and diversity with unparalleled cultural cohesion and cultural service.
While the Kashmir has been the highest learning centre of Sanskrit and Persian where early Indo-Aryanise civilization has originated and flourished, it has also been embracing point of advent of Islam bringing its fold finest traditions of Persian civilization, tolerance, brotherhood and sacrifice.
The Dumhal is a famous dance in the Kashmir Valley, performed by men of the Wattal region. The women perform the Rouff, another traditional folk dance. Kashmir has been noted for its fine arts for centuries, including poetry and handicrafts. Shikaras, traditional small wooden boats, and houseboats are a common feature in lakes and rivers across the Valley.
Jammu and Kashmir is a state of different religions and beliefs. And accordingly, the customs followed and festivals celebrated are many. But the heartening thing about the all festivals here are that people of all faiths together with same enthusiasm celebrate them. Main festivals include - Eid-ul-Fitr, Baisakhi, Lohri and Hemis Festival.


As of 2011 census, Srinagar city's population was 1,192,792. Both the city and the urban agglomeration has average literacy rate of approximately 71%, whereas the national average is 74.04%. The child population of both the city and the urban agglomeration is approximately 12% of the total population. Males constituted 53.0% and females 47.0% of the population. The sex ratio in the city area is 888 females per 1000 males, whereas in the urban agglomeration it is 880 per 1000, and nationwide value of this ratio is 940. The predominant religion of Srinagar is Islam with 95% of the population being Muslim. Hindus constitute the second largest religious group representing 4% of the population. The remaining 1% of the population is Sikhs, Buddhist and Jains.
The Kashmiri people are a Dardic ethno-linguistic group living in or originating from the Kashmir Valley, located in the Indian administered part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are both Hindu and Muslim Kashmiris. Other ethnic groups living in the state include Gujjars, Bakarwals, Dogras, Punjabis and Gaddis.

The Constitution of India does not allow people from regions other than Jammu and Kashmir to purchase land in the state. As a consequence, houseboats became popular among those who were unable to purchase land in the Valley and has now become an integral part of the Kashmiri lifestyle. Kawa, traditional green tea with spices and almond, is consumed all through the day in the chilly winter climate of Kashmir. Most of the buildings in the Valley and Ladakh are made from softwood and are influenced by Indian, Tibetan, and Islamic architecture.

According to language research conducted by the International Institute of UCLA, the Kashmiri language is "a North-western Dardic language of the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Iranian subfamily of the Indo-European language family." There is, however, no universally agreed genetic basis for the language. UCLA estimates the number of speakers as being around 4.4 million, with preponderance in the Kashmir Valley, whereas the 2001 census of India recorded 5,362,349 throughout India, and thus excluding speakers in the non-Indian Kashmiri areas. The people living in Azad Kashmir speak Pothohari dialect that is also known as Pahari language. Pothohari is also spoken in neighbouring regions as well. There are approximately 4.6 million people living within Pakistani administered Azad Kashmir, this does not include the population living in Gilgit-Baltistan which if included increases the number to 6.4 million people. Most of these people speak languages other than Kashmiri, and are not ethnic Kashmiris, as they do not trace their origins to the Kashmir valley.
The people of Kashmir are believed to be the descendants of the immigrants from India proper. As Buddhism spread here, people from far and wide came for research and study. People of Kashmir experience a culture that is an amalgamation of a number of other cultures they came in contact with. Roman, Greek and Persian civilizations have influenced the culture of Kashmiri people to quite an extent. Kashmiri population is a blend of people belonging to distinct races with different looks, dresses, food habits, customs, traditions, rituals, etc. Have a look at the people and main ethnic groups in Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmiri Pundits: Kashmiri Pundits are amongst the original inhabitants of the valley. They used to dominate the region of Kashmir, at one point of time. However, acute terrorism in the Kashmir valley forced them to migrate to other places in the country. Today, their population has been reduced to minority in Kashmir.

Kashmiri Muslims: Approximately ninety per-cent of the population of Kashmir consists of Kashmiri Muslims. Muslims belonging to both the Shia sect and the Sunni sect reside in the valley. They are considered to be quite skilful in arts and crafts. Their other occupations include agriculture, sheep rearing, cattle rearing and other cottage industries.

Gujjars: Gujjars are considered to be the Rajasthani Rajputs, who converted to Muslim faith. They belong to the hilly area of Kashmir and are generally herdsmen by occupation. Tall and well built, Gujjars have notably Jewish features.

Kashmiri women love to dress up with a lot of ornaments. Almost every body part, be it the head, ears, neck, arms or ankles, is adorned with jewellery. A typical ornament of a married Kashmiri pundit woman is Dejharoo. It is a pair of gold pendants, which hangs on a silk thread or gold chain and passes through holes in the ears pieced at the top end of the lobes. The Muslim women are quite fond of wearing a bunch of earrings. The typical dress of a Kashmiris man is Pheran, a long loose gown hanging down below the knees. The men wear a skullcap, a close-fitting salwar (Muslims) or churidar pyjama (Pundits) and lace less shoes called gurgabi. In case of Kashmiri women, the Pheran is either knee-length (Muslim) or touching the feet (Hindu). The Pheran is tied at the waist with folded material called lhungi.

Famous For:

Indulgent houseboats, historic gardens, distinctive Kashmiri wooden mosques and a mild summer climate combine to make Srinagar one of India's top domestic tourist attractions. Except, that is, when inter-communal tensions paralyse the city with strikes and curfews. Srinagar's three main areas converge around Dal-gate, where the nose of Dal Lake passes through a lock gate. Northwest lies the Old City, fascinatingly chaotic in normal times but largely out-of-bounds during curfews. The busy commercial centre is southwest around Lal Chowk. The city's greatest draw card is mesmerizingly placid Dal Lake, which stretches in a south western channel towards the city centre, paralleled by the hotel-lined Boulevard from which a colourful array of houseboats form a particularly colourful scene. This area usually remains free of trouble even during the worst disturbances, as do the famous Mughal gardens, strung out over several kilometres further east around the lake.
Reaching Srinagar is quite easy as it is well connected via air, rail and road. Mini-buses and Auto- rickshaws form an integral part of the intra-city transport. The best time to come to Srinagar is between October and June. However, each season brings it's own beauty. Marvellous Spring, enjoyable summer and frosty winter, all have their characteristic beauty to offer.


List of craftsmen.

Documentation by:

Team Gaatha

Process Reference:

Cluster Reference: