A Cultural Heritage
ancient repository of the arts, the culture of
Jammu & Kashmir is closely linked with the
lifestyles of its people. In the aesthetic
environment of their homesteads, all items of
daily use and all furnishings are created with the
help of cottage industry crafts, mostly within the
house itself. The beautiful carpets, the carved
walnut furniture, the delicately embroidered
shawls, papier mache objets d' art, silver and
gold jewellery and the beautiful samawar are all
expressive of the art the people of the region
bring to their daily lives.
The communities are
largely agrarian based, and in the simple village
lifestyles of the people of the state, governed by
changing seasons, adaptation to natural conditions
has been an essential aspect. This then has
dictated the proliferation of the cottage crafts,
the development of a classic cuisine, and resulted
in a strong faith in religion and in the simple
religious beliefs of the people.
Though the state's
artisans go back to several generations, the arts
gained eminence with the advent of the Muslim
rulers to the state. A great exchange took place
between the two cultures of which historian Sir J.
Marshall recounts, "Seldom in the history of
mankind has the spectacle been witnessed of two
civilizations, so vast and so strongly developed,
yet so radically dissimilar, as the Hindus and
Muslims, meeting and mingling together."
On the following pages
are some aspects of the culture of the state now
translated into a modern heritage.
Kashmir, since ancient times, has
been known as a centre of art, literature and scholarship. The art of drama too
draws ancient lineage here, its origins being traced to the Bhand, minstrels who
moved from house to house entertaining valley dwellers. This later gave way to
the Pather, a spectacle full of satire and humour. As elsewhere, early dance was
based on religion and on the populist faith of good overpowering evil, as in the
Art of Kashmir
Kashmiris are hospitable by nature.
They enjoy social life and mutual entertainment. This has been one main cause of
the development of their culinary art. Different types of menus were also
inspired by the cuisines of different rulers and visitors, who came in the past
from Persia, Afghanistan and other places.
In Jammu & Kashmir regions major
festivals celebrated include the Sout or spring festival in March, Naw Warih on
new year's day in March-April, Baisakhi, Jeth Ashtami, Har Nawami, Pun,
Janmashtami, Kambari Pach and Dusserah, each with merrymaking and dance, and the
observance of prescribed rituals.
Famed worldwide, the handicrafts of
Jammu and Kashmir are executed with love and care, and are reflective of the
interpretation of an aesthetic idiom.
An ancient repository of the arts,
the culture of Jammu & Kashmir is closely linked with the lifestyles of
its people. In the aesthetic environment of their homesteads, all items of
daily use and all furnishings are created with the help of cottage industry
crafts, mostly within the house itself. >>>