Kashmiri people, also called Kashmiris, are an ethnic group from the Kashmir Valley in Jammu and Kashmir, India. They speak Kashmiri, which is an Indo-Aryan Dardic language. The Kashmir Valley is where most Kashmiris dwell, however there are also Gujjars, Dogras, Paharis, Baltis, and Ladakhis who live in the Jammu and Kashmir union territory.
Jammu and Kashmir is one of those regions where the culture is noted for having many different parts. People from Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh are from separate civilizations and have different traditions. But Kashmiri people from all across the regions have one thing in common: they love, care about, and accept each other. Even tourists are treated like members of the family.
You might end up spending your vacation at a local’s house if you ask him where to stay. If you admire something a local is wearing and ask him where he got it, he will probably give you the same thing. That is how basic the people of Jammu and Kashmir are—far from fake emotions and life’s tricks. People there live in a very different way from people in adjacent states.
Everything about them is unusual and unique, from the food they consume to the clothes they wear to the language they speak. Even though the Ladakh region is quite similar to Tibet in many ways. This is what I felt on my first journey with my family over the Durga Puja vacation in October 2011. Then I went to Kashmir, where I largely stayed in Srinagar, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, and Gulmarg for two weeks.
Religion of Kashmiri
In Jammu and Kashmir, there are three main religions that people follow. Most of the people living in Kashmir are Muslims, most of the people living in Jammu are Hindus, and most of the people living in Ladakh are Buddhists. A group of people called Dogras also exists. Most of the people in Jammu follow Hinduism, but a small number of them also follow Islam.
Urdu is the state language of Jammu and Kashmir. Even though it is spoken all over the state, most people use it in Kashmir. Kashmiri, Ladakhi, and Dogri are the other languages that people here speak. Dogri is the language of the Dogra people, and in 2003, India made it an official national language.
There are many distinct religions and beliefs in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Because of this, there are a lot of traditions and celebrations. But it is nice that people of all faiths come together to enjoy all the festivals here with the same zeal. Eid-ul-Fitr, Baisakhi, Lohri, and the Hemis Festival are some of the most important celebrations.
As soon as you step into the state of Jammu and Kashmir, you will see that people here wear very distinct clothes. Most people here dress in traditional attire, but you will also find executives at work and young people dressed in western clothes. In the summer, men wear Kurta pyjamas, but in the winter, they wear woollen clothing. On top of the kurta, a type of coat called a Pheran is worn.
It is quite loose, but because the winters here are so harsh, Pheran keeps a warm pot called a kangri inside. In the summer, women wear a Burqa, a dress with a veil. In the cold, they wear phrerans. The gorgeous people of Jammu and Kashmir are what really make the state worth visiting. They show you a new way to be happy no matter what and to teach others a lesson.
In May 2013, on my second summer vacation, I travelled to Kashmir again to see Pangong Tso and the Nubra Valley in Ladakh. In June 2016, I went to Kashmir for the third time to see Tso Moriri in Ladakh and Dal Lake. The photographs of Kashmir and Ladakh you see here and in the other article linked above were taken on three distinct dates over a three-year period.
I went on three separate trips to get a full understanding of Kashmir and Ladakh from my heart. After going to Kashmir numerous times and staying there for two weeks each time, I can finally declare that I feel completely safe. I have even travelled on the Leh-Manali Highway at midnight and sometimes for the whole night with peace and happiness.