Culture of Kashmir
The culture of Kashmir is a diverse blend and highly influenced by northern South Asian, Persian as well as Central Asian culture. Along with its scenic beauty, Kashmir is famous for its cultural heritage; it amalgamates Hindu, Sikh, & Muslim and Buddhist philosophies and has involved composite culture based on the values of humanism and tolerance which is collectively known as Kashmiriyat. Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh each have their own distinct culture.
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One of the most important parts of the cultural identity of the Kashmiri people is the Kashmiri (Koshur) language. This language is spoken only in the Valley of Kashmir by the Kashmiri Hindus and Kashmiri Muslims. Besides language, Wazwan and culture has been greatly influenced by Central Asian and Persian culture. Kashmiri is an Indo-Aryan (Dardic subgroup) language close to Avestan. Cultural music and dance like Wanvun, Roaff, carpet/shawl weaving |Kaleenbafi and Koshur Sufiana forms a very important part of Kashmiri identity. Kashmir has witnessed many spiritual gurus who migrated from their land to Kashmir. Kashmir has also even witnessed the birth of some of the great poets and Sufis of all time like Lal Daed, Sheikh-ul-Alam, Habba Khatoon and many more; and is regarded as Peer Vaer (a place or land of spiritual gurus). It is important to note that Kashmiri culture is predominantly followed only in the Kashmir valley and Doda of the Chenab region. Jammu and Ladakh have their own distinct cultures that are very different from that of Kashmir.
The Dumhal is a famous dance in the Kashmir valley, performed by men of the Watal caste. The women perform the Roaff, 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 various lakes and rivers across the Valley. Kashmiri culture is defined in terms of religious values, Kashmiri language, literature, cuisine and traditional values of mutual respect. The overwhelming majority of Kashmiris are Muslims and Islamic identity plays a very important role in the daily lives of people. Kashmiris across the religious divide have for centuries shared cordial and friendly ties. Kashmiri poets and writers like Mehjoor, Abdul Ahad Azad, etc. enriched the literature with their poetry. Kashmiri cuisine holds a unique place among different world cuisines. Salted tea or Noon Chai also called Sheer Chai is the traditional drink and is cooked in a Samavar, a Kashmiri tea-pot. 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 various lakes and rivers across the Valley. Kehwa, traditional green tea with spices like cardamom, Saffron and almond, is served on special occasions and festivals. Kashmiri weddings are regarded incomplete without the Kashmiri traditional food known as Wazwan, which is typically spicy food cooked by the traditional cooks (Waz). Wazwan is a multi-course meal in which almost all the dishes are meat-based.
Kashmir has a variety of meat based dishes like Rogan Josh, a lamb dish. Wazwan is a multi-course dish which is served on occasions like weddings.
Festivals and observances
Language and literature
The Kashmiri language and The Urdu Language are the main languages spoken in Kashmir, although many other Indo-Aryan languages are also prevalent. Kashmiri literature has a rich history stretching back to hundreds of years.