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History of Jammu and Kashmir

Literally Kashmir means "land desiccated from water" (Sanskrit: Ka = water, shimeera = desiccate).
The metrical chronicle of the kings of Kashmir, called Rajatarangini, was pronounced by Professor H. II. Wilson to be the only Sanskrit composition yet discovered to which the title of history can with any propriety be applied. It first became known to the Muslims when, on Akbar's invasion of Kashmir in 1588, a copy was presented to the emperor. A translation into Persian was made by his order, and a summary of its contents, from this Persian translation, is given by Abul Fazl in the Ain-i-Akbari. The Rajatarangini, the first of a series of four Sanskrit histories, was written about the middle of the 12th century by P. Kalhana. His work, in six books, makes use of earlier writings now lost. Commencing with traditional history of very early times, it comes down to the reign of Sangrama Deva, 1006; the second work, by Jonaraja, continues the history from where Kalhanas left off, and, entering the Mahommedan period, gives an account of the reigns down to that of Zain-ul-ab-ad-din, 1412. P. Srivara carried on the record to the accession of Fah Shah in 1486. And the fourth work, called Rajavalipataka, by Prajnia Bhatta, completes the history to the time of the incorporation of Kashmir in the dominions of the Mogul emperor Akbar, 1588.

In the Rajatarangini it is stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake, and that it was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kasyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). When Kashmir had been drained, he brought in the Brahmans to occupy it. This is still the local tradition, and in the existing physical condition of the country we may see some ground for the story which has taken this form. The name of Kasyapa is by history and tradition connected with the draining of the lake, and the chief town or collection of dwellings in the valley was called Kasyapa-pura name which has been plausibly identified with the Kao-1r6.nupos of Hecataeus (apud Stephen of Byzantium) and Kaspatyros of Herodotus (3.102, 4.44). Kashmir is the country meant also by Ptolemy's Kao-ir,~pta.

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