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A Brief History of Srinagar

Srinagar, Kashmir, India

A Brief History of Srinagar

[ Srinagar Travel Guide ]

  • The Early Years
    • Srinagar was founded more than 2000 years ago, around the 3rd century BC, by King Pravarasena. It soon became part of the Mauryan Empire, one of the largest empires in India at the time. The ruling Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, a Hindu by birth and Buddhist by persuasion, introduced to Srinagar as well as the rest of the Kashmir Valley, Buddhism.

  • The Arrival of Islam
    • By the 1st century AD, control of the region had shifted to the Kushan dynasty, who went on to strengthen the roots and traditions of Buddhism in their kingdom. But in the 6th century, the city fell to the Huns. Still, Hindu and Buddhist rule in the city of Srinagar continued well into the 13th century and even into the early 14th century, at which time the city and surrounding area were subjugated by Muslim rulers, notably Akbar, who was the first to establish Mughal rule in Srinagar and the Kashmir Valley and introduce to the region Islam.

  • A Succession of Sikh Rulers
    • However, with the disintegration of the Mughal Empire in the wake of the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, control of Srinagar passed into the hands of the Durranis, who ruled the Kashmir Valley for next several decades. Until in 1814, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, a Sikh ruler, annexed Srinagar and a large part of the valley into his kingdom. Ranjit Singh's domination continued for more than three decades, ending with the Treaty of Lahore, signed between the British and Sikh rulers, which enabled the British to install Maharaja Gulab Singh as the sole sovereign of the Kashmir Valley. Gulab Singh, for his part, promptly annexed the city and region, making them part of his kingdom, which was one of a handful of "princely states" in British India.

  • Post-Independence Kashmir
    • In 1947, with the advent of Indian independence and the subsequent partitioning of India into India and Pakistan, Pakistan-instigated Pashtun tribes infiltrated into the area, followed by the Pakistani armed forces who seized much of the Kashmir Valley and a major part of Srinagar, save for the Srinagar airport. The ruler of Kashmir at the time, Maharaja Hari Singh, a descendant of Gulab Singh, sensing the imminent loss of his kingdom to the Pakistanis, enjoined India by signing a covenant with the Indian Government that ensured integration of his kingdom into the Indian republic. India, for its part, fulfilled its obligation by immediately airlifting Indian troops into Srinagar and wresting control of Srinagar and much of the Kashmir Valley from the Pakistanis. Thus began the Indo-Pak War of 1947. However, with the escalation of the matter to the United Nations by Pakistan, and the immediate imposition of a cease fire by the U.N., certain parts of Kashmir slipped into the hands of Pakistan and now constitute what is dubbed as "Azad Kashmir," meaning "independent Kashmir," while the rest of Kashmir remains an integral part of India.

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    Last updated November 19, 2013
    Posted in   India  |  Srinagar
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