Distinct from the rest of the country, Jammu and Kashmir sports a multifaceted, multicolored and unique cultural blend. Not only the geographical conditions of the state are different but it can also be set apart demographically with varied ethical and social entities, diversity of religions flourishing in the area, different language and cultural forms and heritage albeit with an over-reigning harmony that blends in with the serenity and beauty of the region. One gets dazed by the sheer diversity and richness of art and architecture, fairs and festivals, rites and rituals, seers and sagas, languages and mountains that thrive amongst the unparalleled cultural cohesion, which is exemplary.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Jammu and Kashmir to claim the entire territory, resulting in the territory being shared: Pakistan controls just under half, India controls just over half, and China controls a small part.
As a result of the wars, the people of Kashmir have suffered a great deal, and life remains very hard for them. There is high unemployment and great poverty, and children often have to leave school to help support the family.
Kashmir has been the highest learning centre of Sanskrit and Persian as Indo-Aryanic civilization has originated and flourished here. It also embraced the advent of Islam along with the virtues of Persian civilization such as tolerance, brotherhood and sacrifice. Nature's grand finale of beauty, Kashmir is the masterpiece of earth's creation and the folk performances of Kashmir are intimately mingled with the moods and movements of the seasons.
Culture of jammu and Kashmir is distinct and diverse, encompassing the various habits and lifestyles of the people inhabiting the regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. During their long periods of independence, isolation and solidarity, the people of Kashmir developed a unique culture making everlasting contributions to learning and literature. The Valley of Kashmir which is surrounded by the snow-clad Himalayas is one of the most beautiful spots in the world because of vast expanse of flat country with rich alluvial soil, lofty and glacial mountains, crystal streams, lofty crags, torrents, broad lakes, shady Chinar groves and pine forests.
The culture of each region is different, characterised by its main religion. In Buddhist Ladakh, monasteries are central to village life. They offer more than a place to pray, they are also schools and cultural centres. Kashmir has a rich music tradition, with dances and orchestras of instruments such as the saz, santoor, rabab, sitar, table and garaha. These same instruments are used in Jammu in the Hindu folk dances and ballads, which are generally romantic in theme.