Kashmir: a brief history


The Nirmala Purana describes the Valley’s origin from the waters, Ka means “water” and “Shimir” means “to desiccate”. Hence, Kashmir stands for “a land from water”. There is also a theory that takes Kashmir to be a contraction of Kashyab-mira or Kashyapmir or Kashyapmeru, the “sea or mountain of Kashyapa”, the sage who is credited with having drained the waters of the primordial lake satisar, that kashmir was before it was reclaimed. The Nilamata Purana gives the name Kaashmira to the valley considering it to be an embodiment of Uma and it is the Kaashmir that the world knows today.. The Kaashmiris, however, call it kashir, which has been derived phonetically from Kashmir, as pointed out by Aurel Stein in his introduction to the Rajatarangini, a history of kashmir written by Kalhana in the 12th Century, It is also stated that the valley of Kashmir was formerly a lake. This was drained by the great rishi or sage, Kashyapa, son of Marichi, son of Brahma, by cutting the gap in the hills at Baramulla (Varaha-mula). Cashmere is a variant spelling of Kashmir.

River jehlum

The most well-known river of the Kashmir Valley is the river Jehlum locally known as veth. It comes out of the octagonal spring of verinag. Its flow is very fast up to Khanabal and from Khanabal up to Baramulla, it moves slowly. In the olden days, Jehlum was used for navigation purposes hundreds of boats, shikaras used to move people and from Khanabal to Baramulla. This river is used for irrigation purposes also as most of the Paddy fields are irrigated by river veth or its tributaries.

River Veth Jehlum


Famous places like Anantnag, Brihbihara, Awantipora, and Pampore are situated at the bank of the river Jhelum. It passes through the middle of the city of Srinagar and about nine bridges have been constructed to cross the river. Visitors and tourists can be seen in houseboats enjoying scenes on the banks of this river and Shikaras take them from one place to another. Jehlum goes winding outside the city and flows into the greatest sweet water, the lake of Asia, Wullar. It comes out of it and goes through the middle of Sopore and Baramulla.

River veth jehlum

At Mahura near Baramulla, a canal has been taken out of it and the Mahura Hydroelectric power station has been constructed in the year 1905. The river then moves fast and passing through hills and valley goes to Muzzarabad. And together with the rivers Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Beas, Sarasvati River, and the Indus from Ladakh they combinedly form the Sapta Sindhu (“Seven Rivers”) delta in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Sapta Sindhu is very famous and has 20 major tributaries.

In short, the prosperity and beauty of Kashmir depend on the river Jhelum also.