Jammu and Kashmir or J&K has the distinctiveness of having multihued, motley of unique cultural blend, differentiating it from the rest of the country. Jammu & Kashmir is not only different in cultural forms and heritage, but also different in geographical, demographically, ethical and social entities from other parts of the country. The state is accurately shaped into a spectrum of variance and variation. Clearly visible in the distinct parts – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, all yielding diverse religion, language and culture, but constantly interfusing, making it sparkling specimens of Indian unity in diversity. The various cultural forms like art & architecture, fairs & festivals, rites & rituals, seers & sagas, languages and landscapes, mounted on the ageless era of history, speaks aloud of uniformity and diversity with matchless cultural symmetry & service.
Kashmir has been the highest learning point of Sanskrit and Persian where early Indo- Arabic civilization has originated and flourished. Ladakh on the other side, has been the highest living centre of Tantrayan Buddhism. Similarly Jammu, has been the axis of Rajas and Maharajas, who have enriched the cultural, historical and social bonds of all these diverse ethnic and linguistic sections of the state. Kashmir is justly said to be the Nature’s grand finale of beauty. Nature has left an indelible mark on the folk performances of Kashmir as they are intimately interlined with the moods and movements of the seasons.
Jammu the land of the Dogras, offer an entirely different fare of dances and music. Over the century’s long spell of separation from their soldier, husbands and brothers have led the hardy but graceful women of the Duggar to evolve many diverting dances and songs to keep themselves in cheer in their free moments. The songs of separation the ever increasing yearning for reunion with the beloved, the hard life on the mountain slopes and various other themes connected with their day-to-day life find their echo in folk songs and dances. The valley of Kashmir is described as an emerald set in pearls, a land of lakes, clear streams, green turf, magnificent trees and mighty mountains.
Although Kashmir has a rich heritage of poets, writers, philosophers, intellectuals and craftsmen but it has basically established itself as an agricultural economy. Kashmiris form a distinct cultural and ethnic group in the administrative unit of the Himalayan state of Jammu and Kashmir, known as “Kashir” to the inhabitants of the valley and as Kashmir in the official circles. Perched securely among the Himalayas at an average height of 6,000 feet above the sea. North, east and west, range after range of mountains guard the valley from the outer world while on the south it is cut off from the Punjab by rocky barriers fifty to seventy five miles in length. A journey of few days from Kashmir carries one into countries of new languages, customs and religions like the primitive Shins who live along the spurs of mighty Nanga Parbat, the Mongolian Baltis of little Tibet and the simple Ladakhis, Buddhists and polyandrists. Kashmiris inhabit contiguous areas of Jammu region in Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Gool, Gulabgarh, Mahour, Dudu and Bani areas of Kathua district. Kashmiri language is spoken in all these areas of Jammu region and ethnically and culturally this forms a compact area along with valley of Kashmir.