Political Divisions of Kashmir
In the year 1947 the State of Jammu and Kashmir was invaded by Pakistan. India and Pakistan fought for more than a year when cease fire was agreed upon on 1st of January, 1949 and the fighting stopped. A ceasefire line of demarcation gave 79788 Sq. Kms. of area of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan.
The district of Poonch lost 52% of its area to Pakistan. The district of Muzaffarabad lost some area in tehsil Muzaffarabad, Uri and Karnah. The whole of Gilgit district, Asotre district and Mirpore district also went to Pakistan. The whole of Askardu tehsil and a part of tehsil Kargil went to Pakistan. Invasion of China in 1962 also made the State to suffer a loss of its area. In 1971 Pakistan once again made unlawful possession of Chhamb, Deva, Chakla and Manawar.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir, therefore, suffered serious splitting in area and population. Only four districts - Udhampur, Jammu, Kathua and Anantnag - suffered no change; other districts suffered loss in area, either wholly or partially to Pakistan.
Re-organisation was necessary; therefore, new districts like Pulwama, Doda, Rajouri and Poonch were created.
The districts were further sub-divided into tehsils so that more attention could be given to the development of agriculture, cottage industries and trade. Construction of new roads, water supply and electricity helped these rural setlements. The abolition of jagirdari of two jagirs of Poonch and Chenani also brought about a change in the area of these tehsils and districts. Poonch was made a district while Chenani was merged with the district of Udhampur.
The latest reorganised units of administration in Kashmir are:
| 2. Kulgam
| 3. Pahalgam
| 4. Bijbehara
The State of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Indian Union. The President of the Indian Union appoints the Governor. The Governor orders the leader of the major political party in the State Legislature, which consists of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council, to form the Ministry to run the Government. The Government thus formed, by the-elected representatives of the people functions with the Opposition in the Legislature. The judiciary is separate from the executive. The judges of the High Court are appointed by the President of the Indian Union. Since 1990 the state is under Presidential rule due to militancy. The Governor runs the administration with the help of Advisors appointed by the Centre.
In addition to the State's own constitution, the constitution of India applies to the State of Jammu and Kashmir like the rest of the country but with a special status under article370. It guarantees equal rights for all irrespective of caste, creed, color and religion. As already stated above each province is divided into various districts, which are administered by Deputy Commissioners, and each district is divided into Tehsils, which are under Tehsildars and each Tehsil is further sub-divided into Niabats, which are under Naib Tehsildars. There is one Divisional Commissioner who is the provincial head.
Cities, Towns, Health Resorts and Places or Historical Interest
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is primarily an agricultural State, hence most of the population lives in villages. But even then several towns and cities have grown up.
1. Srinagar City, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir State, lies in the centre of the Kashmir valley at 34.50 North longitude and 74.50 East longitude. It is 1524 metres above sea level. The most beautiful spot is the temple of Shankarcharya on a hill over looking the city. The other is the Hariparbat hill with a fort on its top. The city is spread on both the banks of the river Jhelum for about 6.5 kms.
The city is now expanding towards new settlements of Jawahar Nagar and Burzala on the elevated road towards the aerodrome-Damodar Karewa. The aerodrome is situated on the Damodar Karewa. Srinagar is the focus of tourist attraction. It is well known for handicrafts like shawls, carpets, woollen and silk cloth, wood carving, silver wares, papier mache and willow work. There are many Degree Colleges, a Medical College and an Engineering College in this city. The University of Kashmir, situated in Srinagar, provides instruction in multiple postgraduate courses.
2. Anantnag is 45 Kms from Srinagar towards Banihal. Khannabal is only 2.5 Kms. from Anantnag and after passing through Khannabal one reaches Anantnag. It lies at 33.40 North altitude and 75.10 East longitude. It is District Headquarter. There are many holy springs in this area. Besides wooden toys, embroidered namdas and gabbas are made here. There is one Govt. Degree College.in this town.
3. Achhabal is located at a distance of 10 Kms. from Anantnag. The water of the spring there is cold and helps digestion. Trout fish is found in abundance and the visitors from far and wide come here to spend hot summer days. It is a famous health resort
4. Kokarnag is also a health resort situated at a distance of 27 Kms. from Anantnag and 13 Kms. from Verinag. There are beautiful camping grounds in Kokarnag for the visitors to spend their summer days.
5. Mattan is located on the Srinagar-Pahalganl road about 10 Kms. from Anantnag. The spring at Mattan is considered holy by the Hindus. The spring is full of fish. Its water irrigates agricultural land near Mattan.
6. Verinag lies at the foot of the Pirpanjal on the side of Kashmir valley. There is a beatiful spring at Verinag which is the source of the river Jhelum. The town is 34 Kms. from Anantnag. The Tourist Dcpartment of the State has constructed some beautiful huts here for the for tourists to the valley. It is also a famous health resort.
7. Pahalgam is a township 2651 metres above sea level. It is a very famous health resort in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is 96.5 Kms from Srinagar in Liddar Valley. There are beautiful camping grounds on the banks of the river Liddar. Hindu pilgrims going to Shri Amarnath Cave situated at a height of 600 metres above sea level have to pass through Pahalgam. They first go to Pahalgam and then to Amarnath either on foot or on ponies.
8. Kulgam is a township to the west of Anantnag. The area of the twon is 5.54 Sq. Kms. It is on the way between Shopian and Anantnag.
9. Shopian is a foot-hill town. It has an area of 5.44 Sq. Km and is 55. Kms. south of Srinagar. Some beautiful places like Aharbal fall, Kaunsarnag and Kungwattan surround this area. Icebergs flow in these lakes till June. Aharbal fall is 13 Kms. from Shopian. The town is well known for hand-woven Lois(woollen blankets). Apple orchards are in abundance here. The Mughal Kings used to come to Kashmir via Rajouri - Aliabad-Shopian route.
10. Gandarbal is known for its clean, cold water and fresh air and tasty fish . It lies on the banks of the Nullah Sind. The alluvial plain is sandy . It is also known for its camping ground. It is 21 Kms. from Srinagar. Khirbhawani temple is at a distance of 5 Kms. from this place. The Sind Valley Hydero-Electric Project is located at Gandarbal.
11. Pampore is a small township on Srinagar-Jammu road. The Government has established there very big factories for the manufacture of furniture, plywood, bricks and tiles. The town is famous throughout the world for the best quality of saffron grown here.
12. Sopore is 13 Kms. from Baramulla towards Srinagar. It is 6 Kms. by water through the river Jhelum and is close to the Wullar lake. Cool breezes blowing from the lake towards Sopore make evenings windy. Fish and fruit from this town are exportedoutside the State. From Sopore a road leads to Lolab Valley, Handwara and Tetwal. There is one Agricultural University at Sopore. This town is well known for woollen patus. There is also one Degree College here.
13. Baramulla is 55 Kms. to the north of Srinagar. It lies at 34.1 deg. North Latitude and 72.2 deg East Longitude. It is located at a height of 1600 metres above sea level. The river Jhelum is navigable only upto Baramulla. The area of the town is 6.22 Sq. Kms. It is known for its fruit orchards There is one Govt. Match Factory and one Half-wrought rifle Factory located here The importance of B as a trade center has declined considerably since the Jhelum-Valley cart-road was blocked in 1947. There is also one Degree College in this town.
14. Handwara is at a distance of 26 Kms. from Sopore. It is the Tehsil Headquarter. In this area is situated Nichahom where liginite is mined. The mountains begin to rise and road leads to mountain passes which are guarded by the army.
15. Bandipora is a township on the eastern bank of the Wullar lake. It is 4.97 Sq. Kms. in area. From here the road rises up the mountains leading to Gurez and Gilgit. The town is known for the export of hand-woven lois (woollen blankets).
16. Uri is a township in the north of Baramulla. It lies in the narrow gorge of the Jhelum. Beyond Uri is the ceasefire-line making it militarily important.
17. Teetwal is situated on the left bank of the river Kishanganga. A road leads to Sharda and Keran from Teetwal. It is surrounded by mountains and is an important town located at the cease-fire line.
18. Liddarwat is at a distance of 21 Kms. from Pahalgam. It is located at a height of 3390 metres above sea, 1evel and is a health resort. There are many camping grounds in this area for the visitors to stay during summer.
19. Chandanwari is situated at a distance of l9 Kms. from Pahalgam towards Amarnath Cave. It is at a height of 3288 metres above sea level. It is also a very good health resort.
20. Aru is at a distance of 3.03 Kms. from Pahalgam. This is a beautiful mountainous meadow or grassy land. Tourists enjoy camping here during summer days.
21. Sonamarg is located at a distance of 84Kms. from Srinagar towards Zojila pass. It is covered with thick forests and situated at a height of 2438.4 metres above sea level. Climate of this place is better than that of Gulmarg and Pahalgam. A road leads to Kargil and Leh from Sonamarg.
22. Gulmarg, a beatiful health-resort, is 52 Kms. to the south-west of Srinagar. It is located at a height of 2650 metres above sea level . There is a beautiful camping ground at Gulmarg where thousands of visitors come and enjoy themselves. A bridal path leads to Khilanmarg and Alpather from this place. Grassy lands at Gulmarg are best for playing golf. The area is surrounded by pine forests.
23. Sheshnag is 24 Kms. from Pahalgam. It is situated at a height of 3600 metres above sea level. The water of the lake is cold and clear. During summer visitors come and enjoy camping at the lake-side.
24. Yusmarg is at a distance of 47 Kms. from Srinagar. It is also a good health resort where the visitors go and enjoy themselves during summer days. It is 18 Kms. from Charar-e-Sharif.
Places of Historical Interest
1. Shri Amarnath Cave situated at a height of 6000 metres above sea level is 49 Kms. from Pahalgam. There is a bridle path from Pahalgam to Shri Amarnath Cave. The cave is 9 metres deep and is 14 metres high in the middle. The cave is made of gypsum. Thousands of pilgrims visit the holy Shivling every year on the festival of Rakshabandan. In the cave there are idols of Shiva, Parvati and Ganesh.
2. Shankaracharya Temple is situated at a height of 2611 metres above sea level on a hill near Dal Lake. There is a Shivling in this temple.Thousands of visitors and piligrims go by bridle path or by road to visit this holy shrine.
3. Khirbhwani is 22.5 Kms. from Srinagar. Every year a very big fair is held there in June. This is also a place of pilgrimage for Hindus.
4. Hariparbat Fort is about 5 Kms. from Srinagar where there are holy shrines of the Hindus and the Muslims. This fort which is siluated on a small hillock was built by the Mughal King Akbar.
5. Pari Mahal (Palace) was built by Sufi Muslims as mentioned in the Rajtarangni. There is a road leading from Chashma Shahi to Pari Mahal.
6. Kabutarkhana is a beautiful small island in the Dal Lake. There is a Rest House built on the island.
7. Jawahar Tunnel is built at Banihal at a height of 2194.56 metres above sea level. There are two tubes each one of which is about 2825 metres long. It is the longest tunnel in Asia. Before the construction of this tunnel the distance between Jammu and Kashmir was 328 Kms, but now it has been reduced to 300 Kms. only.
8. Ruins of Martand Temple near Mattan: Shivji and Vaishno temples in Awantipura, Bijbehara ruins, ruins of Buddhist shrines in Harwan and Sharika Bhagwati Temple are the ancient historical places in the valley of Kashmir.
9. Hazratbal, where the holy hair of the prophet Mohammad is kept,
Jamia Mosque, Pathar Mosque, Tomb of the mother of Zainulabdin Badshah, shrines of Makhdoom Hamza, Bulbul Shah, Maula Drugjan, Naqashbandi, Madni and Makhdoomi, and Shah Hamdan Mosque in Srinagar and Chrar-e-Sharief at a distance of 29 Kms. from Srinagar are the holy shrines of the Muslims in the valley of Kashmir.
10. Nishat garden, Shalimar garden, Chashma Shahi, Naseem garden and Verinag spring are historical monuments. These were built by Mughal Kings in the valley of Kashmir during their reign.