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Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is a home of many religious places. One of the most important is Amarnath Temple. The cave is an altitude of 3,888m. It is 141km away from Srinagar and can be reached through the town of Pahalgam. This shrine is considered to be one of the holiest in the Hindu religion. It is covered by snow capped mountains from all the sides throughout the year.

Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

Amarnath’s Discovery
It is believed that Bhrigu Muni was the first one who discovered Amarnath Cave. Centuries ago, Kashmir Valley was submerged under water. It was Kashyap Muni who drained it through a series of rivers. When the water was drained out, Bhrigu Muni was the first person who had Darshan of Lord Amarnath. Then after that, people heard of the Lingam, it became the abode of Lord Bholenath for all believers. The locals of Gadaria community were the first one to discover the Amarnath cave and saw the first glimpse of Baba Barfani, according to some researchers.

Yatra to Amarnath
This year the Amarnath Yatra will start from 1st of July that is supposed to be called as Masik Shivratri according to the Hindu Calender. It will continue till 15th of August. It is a 46-day-long annual pilgrimage. The Yatra starts from the Nunwan and Chandanwari base camps at Pahalgam. It reaches cave-shrine after night halts at Sheshnag Lake and Panchtarni camps. A good amount of revenue is earned by the state government by imposing tax on pilgrims. It is also a good time for the localites to earn some money as they can offer services to the Hindu pilgrims like accommodations, food, etc.

Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

Since the day registration began, more than 50,000 people have already registered themselves for this year’s yatra on the very first day. The online booking of helicopter tickets for yatra was commenced on May 1. This year Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) has made arrangements with Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd. and Himalayan Heli Services Pvt. Ltd. on the Neelgrath (Baltal)-Panjtarni-Neelgrath (Baltal) route and UTair India Pvt. Ltd. on the Pahalgam-Panjtarni-Pahalgam route.

Amarnath Yatra starts from July 1

Umang Narula who is Chief Executive Officer SASB said, “Based on competitive bidding, the one way per passenger helicopter fare for Neelgrath (Baltal)-Panjtarni has been fixed at Rs1804. Similarly, the one-way Pahalgam-Panjtarni fare will be Rs 3104.”

The CEO even advised yatris to beware of the frauds when they are booking tickets for helicopter. Tickets only from the authorized helicopter operators won’t mislead them like others. People who are having some health issues should carry their health certificate otherwise they won’t be allowed to take a ride.

Children under the age of 13 years and those who are above 75 years of age and women who are more than six weeks pregnant will not be registered for the yatra.
The board had decided that 7,500 Yatris will be routed per day, excluding the ones travelling by helicopters. The officials have directed the pilgrims to consider the difficult climatic changes and terrain in the high altitude region of the yatra. They should prepare themselves before starting the pilgrimage.

The governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik also reviewed security arrangements to ensure the safety of pilgrims. We also wish the same for the pilgrims. Stay safe and enjoy the beauty of Kashmir.

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network

Srinagar, the summer capital of our state Jammu and Kashmir is the largest city in the region. The first thing that comes to our mind when talk about Srinagar is the iconic Dal Lake. And that’s the main attraction of the city. It’s beauty led it in the race to get included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) creative cities list as the ‘City of Crafts and Folk Arts’.

Srinagar is 2,200 year old and has a very rich history. During the reign of the Gupta king, this historic city traces its origin. Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin, a great contribution was made by him to the cultural and artistic landscape of Kashmir.And this is what it has passed to its generations. This city is full of extraordinary craftsmanship, designers, entrepreneurs, traditional business houses and what not. Undoubtedly, it indeed has, what is takes to be on the list. And if it manages to do so, the image of the city as a hub of intricate art and craft will get a great boost from which we get benefitted for the years to come.

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network 1

UNESCO Creative Cities List was the project that was created in the year 2004. The main reason why this project was created was that they wanted to take those cities globally who has invested in culture and creativity. The UNESCO Creative Cities have a common mission — placing creativity and cultural industries at the core of their development strategies. Currently, the network brings together 180 cities from 72 countries from all regions of the world.

The Institute of Hotel Management, Rajbagh here, a workshop of stakeholders on preparation of dossier for inclusion of Srinagar City in UNESCO Creative Cities Network was held. Many stakeholders from different walks of life attended the workshop as part of the ‘Restoration and Strengthening of Livelihoods’ component of the Jhelum Tawi Flood Recovery Project ( JTFRP) funded by the World Bank.

Director Technical, JTFRP Iftikhar Ahmad Kakroo said,” the aim of the workshop is to provide a platform for all the stakeholders involved with the various aspects of Kashmir Handicrafts and obtain their valuable inputs for the preparation.”

Srinagar is in the race to be on UNESCO creative cities network 1

Saleem Beg, convener, Intach, J&K chapter, said “there was a need for more pilot projects in the field and stressed on inclusion of artisans in the policy formulation.”

The benefits of getting included in UCCN will be many. We will get a great boost for our city both culturally and economically. It will be a boon for heritage and culture tourism too as people will love to see artisans and the process of making exquisite artefacts. The other major benefit will be that there will be protection of the art and craft that was fading over time.

The UNESCO World Heritage Sites and cities receive many tourists and it make billions of dollars worth of trade annually. If Srinagar find its place among the next UCCN city list it will be a moment of great honor for all of us – we are eagerly waiting for that.

Old Newspapers of Kashmir banner

Newspapers of Old Kashmir

Journalism is what maintains democracy. It’s the force for progressive society change.” –Andrew VachssJournalism is one of those professions that educates the society, brings information out to the world. The history of Journalism in the state of Jammu and Kashmir started in the year 1924. There was a birth of weekly newspaper called RANBIR. It was named after Maharaja Ranbir Singh and was first published 24 June 1924. In this paper, only the things about king and his highness used to publish. It was in Urdu language. Government Press printed the newspaper. Lala Mulk Raj Saraf was the publisher and editor of RANBIR and also known as Father of Journalism.

Old Newspapers of Kashmir picture

Till 1929, this paper continued. The state inclined towards some development when Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and his friends started their reading room group. They used to assemble and read books. Journalists like Abdul Majeed Salik and Maulana Abdus Salam Meher who used to run INQALAAB and Zafar Ali khan who edited ZAMINDAR tried to cover the news about common people too. They got sympathy from the common people and created a great buzz in the society. Government became suspicious and imposed a ban on them. In 1932, Prem Nath Bazaz did some negotiations with the government and started VITSAS. It used to published weekly and mostly had facts about Kashmir. But unfortunately it lasted only for a year, but Bazaz’s efforts was encouraged.

Old Newspapers of Kashmir picture

During the rule of Hari Singh, the evolution of journalism in Jammu & Kashmir began. He allowed the publication of several newspapers and magazines. The newspapers published during this time were Jahangir, Rehbar, Sadaqat, Hamdard, Millat, Tawheed, Hidayat, Vakil, Khalid, Albarq, Khidmat, Khalsa Gazette, Roshni, Noor, Jyoti and Kashmir. English papers like KASHMIRI TIMES and KASHMIRI CHRONICLE also came to the limelight but had a short life span.

Some of the most prominent newspapers were:


Balraj Puri was the editor of this paper. Before Pukar, he started Kashmir Sansar. The main policy of the paper was to support nationalist movement in India. As he was a minor, he got the declaration in the name of somebody else. Six months were quite smooth then his publisher demanded 50% of his income which he refused. Then through his brother in law, he got another declaration under the name of Pukar. That’s how it all got started.


This was started in July 1964 by Shameem Sahib. It was effectively accepted in the society. It highlighted some important issues of the society. The first page of the paper was called ‘Tabsara’ and was given space for important issues. In the next column, there were letters from the people. It was very popular among the people and used to called mirror of society.

Print media has continued to maintain its place though has a rough draft of history. People who contributed to the journey of print media, were from different walks of society and made a change through their writings. Today if we talk about newspapers of modern times, people are doing quite well in their stream and that’s what we need in our valley. A positive change through writing!

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost state of India, is a melting pot of different ethnic groups and communities. In this blog post, Kashmiri life introduces you to the rich ethnic diversity of Jammu and Kashmir.

The state comprises of three regions- Ladakh, Jammu and the Kashmir valley, marked with their religious and ethnic differences. While Ladakh, situated along the Himalayan range, marks the residentship of 2,90,490 residents, Jammu and Kashmir valley have 53,50,311 million and 69,07,622 residents respectively, as per 2011 census.

With a population of 12.5 million people, Jammu and Kashmir is formed out of multiple ethnic groups like Dogras, Gujjars, Ladakhis and Hanjis other than Kashmiris; divided on the basis of their cultural inheritance.


The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmiris, the term generally used by outsiders to refer to all the people of Kashmir, is actually a term used to refer to people living within the Valley of Kashmir, Neelam Valley, LeepaValley, Kishtwar, Bhadarwah, Doda and Ramban tehsils of Jammu Division. People living elsewhere and outside of these premises in the state belong to other ethnic groups of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Kashmiris” can either be Muslim (Sunni) or Hindu (Pandit) who immigrated to the valley from ancient Iran, Turkey, Central Asia and Afghanistan. Common surnames among Kashmiris can be Malik, Lone, Bhat, Dar, Tikoo, Wani, etc.
Most of the Kashmiris are either involved in agriculture or business. The ones in agriculture produce crops of paddy, saffron and orchards; of which both fruits and saffron are world famous.
The others (generally from urban Kashmir) are involved in businesses like carpet making, papier mache, wood carving, embroidery, tourism, hotel management and other handicrafts.
Next time when you visit the valley, find out who made the pashmina you bought for your loved one. Your greetings will be a blessing for people.


The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Ladakh, also known as the “land of high passes”, is every traveller’s roadtrip dream destination. It is, however, difficult to understand how Ladakhi’s maintain their lifestyle in the arms of cold mountains that extend from the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram range to the Great Himalayas to the south.
Ladakhis, the hard- working, tolerant and honest lot, are a mixture of Indo-Aryan race and Tibetan descent. Ladakh is therefore a blend of “Dards”- the Aryans and Mangolians, who can be traced back to Tibet. Unfortunately, due to extreme climate and economical boundations, the population of Ladakhis is not increasing. Despite difficult situations, they have built high resistance to work even in temperatures as low as 23 degrees Celsius.
One thing you will enjoy the most with Ladakhis is playing ice hockey. For Ladakhi kids, ice hockey is what cricket is to the kids on plains. Infact, the all Women Ice Hockey Team of India comes entirely from Ladakh. Yes Indeed!


The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

The Hanjis of Jammu and Kashmir are the water dwellers who are confined to Jhelum River, Dal, Anchar, and Wular lakes situated especially between Chattabal, Srinagar and Khanabal, Anantnag. Though the descent of Hanjis is not confirmed, they are said to belong to the ancient racial group called “Nishads”, meaning boatmen.
For Hanjis, your visit to the beautiful land of Kashmir plays an important part for their income. As they are boatmen, they are widely engaged in hotel management and houseboat industry. The type of boats that Hanjis use to make a living define their social status and class. These boats can be differentiated on the basis of their shapes and sizes and are named as Khoch, Bahatch, Kara Nav, Demba-Nav, War, Parinda, Tchakawar and Houseboat.
As the saying goes, the customer is really god for Hanjis of Jammu and Kashmir.


The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

The ethnic group Dogra belongs to the Jammu Division of the state. Traditionally, Dogras were the inhabitants of the area between Shivalik mountain range, Saroiensar and Mannsar lakes who later shifted to the entire Jammu region. Dogras’ belong to the Indo-Aryan race and are Brahmins with the sects of Varnashrama.
Before the independence of India, Dogra Dynasty was the last to rule Jammu and Kashmir and reigned for an entire century from 1846 to 1947.

Gujjars and Bakarwals

The Rich Ethnic Diversity of Jammu and Kashmir

Gujjars and Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir form a significant part of the population of the state. They live the life of nomads and their livelihood simply depends upon flocks and cattle keeping. The Gujjars and Bakarwals have no written language or history beyond what is in the folklore, word of mouth tales and traditions. While a school of thought says they were the inhabitants of Georgia, a territory situated between the Black sea and the Caspian Sea in the Soviet Union, other tales say their forefathers migrated from Gujarat and Rajasthan.
However, Gujjars and Bakarwals are an important part of Jammu and Kashmir. With changing times, Gujjars have developed land connections, even though the Bakarwal community in Gujjars keeps on oscillating from one place to another. The main concentration of Gujjars and Bakarwals can be found in Jammu, Rajouri, Udhampur, Poonch, Uri, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Daksum, Narang and the Kandi areas of the Jammu and Kashmir Divisions.
Gujjars can be further classified on the basis of their occupation & settlement as Cultivators, Transhumance, Dodhi-Gujjars and Bakarwal-Gujjars.

Indeed, diversity is the beauty and strength of Jammu and Kashmir! As Catherine Pulsifer rightly said, “We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity, life would be very boring.”