Jammu and Kashmir is the most northern state in India. Consisting of the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Ladakh the economy of the state is predominantly based on agriculture and the state enjoys one of the lowest poverty rates in India. Agriculture produced in the state consists of rice, barley, wheat and vegetables. A number of types of fruit are also farmed in the area including cherries, oranges, apples, pears and peaches. Kashmir saffron is also famous throughout the world and brings in the largest amount of revenue with foreign exports.
The district of Doda in Jammu and Kashmir is famous for its high grade sapphire deposits. Although the manufacturing of this deposit is currently small, steps are underway to increase the export of sapphire and the industry has grown rapidly over the last few years. Before 1989 tourism made up much of the state’s economy- largely due to the Buddhist monasteries and holy shrines in the area. This was greatly affected though by insurgents in the following years. The last few years have seen an increase in tourism but it is expected to be a while before the figures are back to the pre-90s standards.
The culture of Jammu and Kashmir is very diverse and distinctive as it encompasses the lifestyles of many different sectors of people. Due to the isolation of the state, the local people developed a true love for education and learning, and the state has contributed much to Indian literature over the years. The people of Jammu and Kashmir adore festival season and this contributes much to the culture of the state. Not only are the major Indian festivals celebrated but also a number of local festivals are celebrated throughout the year. The Chaitre Chaudash festival is one of the most well-known local festivals – celebrated in April each year the festival celebrates the River Devak.
The cuisine in Jammu and Kashmir is different to most of the other states in India. The cities in the state consume mutton on an almost daily basis, and rice is the main staple food that accompanies meals. Many people who visit the state cannot wait to taste the traditional Kashmiri green tea – often made during the winter months this is a true Kashmir favorite!