Kashmir, Heaven of Earth
The state of Jammu & Kashmir is a region of widely varying people and geography. In the south, Jammu is a transition zone from the Indian plains to the Himalaya. Nature has lavishly endowed Kashmir with certain distinctive favors which hardly find a parallel in any alpine land of the world. It is the land of snow clad mountains that share a common boundary with Afghanistan, China and Pakistan; Jammu and Kashmir is the northernmost state of the Indian Union. Known for its extravagant natural beauty this land formed a major caravan route in the ancient times.
Trade relations through these routes between China and Central Asia made it a land inhabited by various religious and cultural groups. It was during the reign of Kashyapa that the various wandering groups led a settled life Buddhism influenced Kashmir during the rule of Ashoka and the present town of Srinagar was founded by him. This place was earlier called 'Srinagari' or Purandhisthan. The Brahmins who inhabited these areas admired and adorned Buddhism too. From the regions of Kashmir Buddhism spread of Ladakh, Tibet, Central Asia and China. Various traditions co-existed till the advent of the Muslims.
The Mughal had a deep influence on this land and introduced various reforms in the revenue industry and other areas that added to the progress of Kashmir. In 1820 Maharaj Gulab Singh got the Jagir of Jammu from Maharaj Ranjit Sigh. He is said to have laid the foundation of the Dogra dynasty. In 1846 Kashmir was sold to Maharaj Gulab Singh. Thus the two areas of Kashmir and Jammu were integrated into a single political unit. A few chieftains who formed part of the administration were of the Hunza, Kishtwar, Gilgit Ladakh. During the Dogra dynasty trade improved, along with the preservation and promotion of forestry.