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.

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