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Kashmir Valley

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Kashmir Valley
وادی کشمیر
कश्मीर घाटी
Vale of Kashmir
State division
Group of arched terraces and structural complex
Group of arched terraces and structural complex
Kashmir Valley (orange bordered) lies in Jammu & Kashmir state of India
Kashmir Valley (orange bordered) lies in Jammu & Kashmir state of India
StateJammu and Kashmir
DistrictsAnantnag, Baramulla, Budgam, Bandipore, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian and Srinagar
 • Total15,948 km2 (6,158 sq mi)
1,850 m (6,070 ft)
 • Total6,907,622
 • Density430/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Kashmiri, Koshur (in Kashmiri)
 • Official, Main spoken languageUrdu, Kashmiri
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)

The Kashmir Valley (Urdu: وادی کشمیر) or Vale of Kashmir is a valley between the Karakoram and the Pir Panjal Range.[1] It was formed by the draining of the huge Karena lake during a period of tectonic uplift.[1] The Mughal Emperor Jahangir (1569–1627) called the Kashmir Valley a "paradise on earth".[1] It is in the Indian administered state of Jammu and Kashmir. There are 10 districts in this administrative division. The valley is about 135 kilometres (84 mi) long and 32 kilometres (20 mi) wide.

Natural beauty

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It was called Kaspeiria by the ancient Greeks. In classical literature Herodotus calls it Kaspatyrol.[2] Xuanzang, the Chinese monk who visited Kashmir in 631 AD called it Kia-shi-mi-lo. Tibetans called it Khachal, meaning "snowy mountain".[2] It is and has been a land of rivers, lakes and wildflowers. The Jhelum River runs the entire length of the valley. The valley is isolated by snow-capped mountains on all sides. Lakes such as Dal Lake and nearby Nagin Lake have hundreds of houseboats. This is from the British Raj era when foreigners were not allowed to buy land here.[3] So they constructed large wooden houseboats to spend the summers in. This, in turn, has led to houseboat hotels. Many are decorated with wood carvings and Victorian era furniture.[3]

India and Pakistan fought over the region in 1947–1948.[4] Under the supervision of the United Nations the two agreed on a ceasefire along a line which left the Kashmir Valley under the administration of India. In 1972, India and Pakistan sign a peace treaty called the Simla Agreement. It said that in the future both would settle their differences peacefully.[5] It also renamed the ceasefire line the Line of Control.[4]

India claims the entire state including the Kashmir Valley to be part of India. Both the United States and the United Kingdom support turning the Line of Control into the border between India and Pakistan. India seems to go along with this while Pakistan is entirely against it.[4]

India has sent large security forces to Kashmir over the years.[6] Kashmir has remained one of the world's most militarized areas.[6] In 1989 there was an armed uprising against Indian control.[6] India blamed Pakistan and accused them of sponsoring terrorism.[6]

In 1999 a third conflict arose over the area.[6] Pakistani-backed forces infiltrated into Kashmir.[6] While both armies have fired across the Line of Control, India has not sent troops into Pakistan.[6] Tens of thousands of people have been killed so far in Kashmir.[6]

Status quo

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The majority of the population in the Kashmir Valley is Muslim.[7] The economy is mainly farming but in recent years tourism has become an important industry.[7] Neither India or Pakistan wants full-scale war (both have nuclear weapons).[7] Neither wants the International sanctions that would surely come if there was a war.[7]


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Political parties

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Religions in Kashmir Valley[9]
Religion Percent
Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and others

Militant groups

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  • Jaish-e-Mohammed. They operate in Kashmir but are based in Pakistan.[8] They want rule by Pakistan. The group has been banned in Pakistan since 2002 but still operate.[8]
  • Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. They are a militant group operating in Kashmir since 1989.[8]
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba. They have been responsible for a number of violent attacks including the Red Fort attacks in Delhi in 2000.[8] India believes they are responsible for the 2009 Mumbai attacks.[8] They are largely non-Kashmiri.[8] They operate in Kashmir but are based in Pakistan.[8]


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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Landscapes and Landforms of India, ed. Vishwas S Kale (Dordrecht: Springer Verlag, 2014), pp. 125–126
  2. 2.0 2.1 P. N. K. Bamzai, Culture and Political History of Kashmir, Vol. 1 (New Delhi: M.D. Publications, 1994), pp. 4–6
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tom Downey (5 October 2015). "Explore the Beauty of Kashmir". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "The Future of Kashmir". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  5. Arjun Makhijani. "Short history of Kashmir dispute". Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 Moni Basu (26 September 2010). "Kashmir: India and Pakistan's bitter dispute". CNN. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 "Kashmir profile - Overview". BBC News. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 8.11 8.12 8.13 8.14 8.15 "Kashmir: Key people and parties". Peace Direct. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  9. Frank Columbus, Asian Economic and Political Issues, Volume 10 (Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2004), p. 153