Past Cities

Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Anantnag, located in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir, India, is a city steeped in history and cultural significance. Nestled in the picturesque Kashmir Valley, it is known as the "Land of Springs" due to the numerous freshwater springs that dot the region. With a rich and diverse history dating back centuries, Anantnag has witnessed the rise and fall of various dynasties, the influence of different rulers, and the impacts of political and geographical factors on its inhabitants.

One of the oldest inhabited cities in the Kashmir Valley, Anantnag has a population that has evolved over time. As of the latest available data in 2021, the city had an estimated population of approximately 159,000 people. However, it's important to note that population figures can fluctuate, and there might be some variance from the mentioned number. The demographics of Anantnag consist primarily of Kashmiri Muslims, who form the majority of the population, along with a small Hindu minority.

The historical roots of Anantnag can be traced back to ancient times. It is believed to have been founded by King Lalitaditya Muktapida, a ruler of the Karkota dynasty, in the 8th century CE. The city's name, Anantnag, is derived from the Sanskrit term "Ananta Nag," which translates to "the land of infinite springs." This name perfectly captures the abundance of freshwater springs that have been a defining feature of the region throughout its history.

During the medieval period, Anantnag witnessed the rise of the Kashmir Sultanate. It was under the rule of Sultan Sikander Butshikan (1389-1413 CE) that Islam gained prominence in the region. The political environment during this time heavily influenced the cultural and religious landscape of Anantnag. Many Hindu temples were destroyed, and the region saw a significant conversion of the local populace to Islam. Despite these changes, Anantnag retained its cultural diversity, with Hindu and Muslim communities coexisting and contributing to the city's heritage.

In the 16th century, the Mughal Empire extended its influence over Kashmir, including Anantnag. Mughal Emperor Akbar appointed governors to administer the region, marking a period of relative stability and prosperity. The Mughal influence is still visible in the city's architecture, particularly in the numerous gardens and mosques that were constructed during this era.

The 19th century brought significant political changes to Anantnag and the entire Kashmir Valley. The region came under the rule of the Sikh Empire, led by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. However, this period was marred by political turmoil and conflicts between different factions. In 1846, the Treaty of Amritsar was signed, and Kashmir, including Anantnag, came under the rule of the Dogra dynasty, a Hindu ruling family from Jammu.

Under Dogra rule, Anantnag witnessed further development and modernization. The city became a prominent administrative and economic center, with the construction of infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and schools. The Dogra dynasty's rule lasted until the partition of India in 1947 when the princely states were given the option to join either India or Pakistan. The then ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, opted to remain independent initially but eventually acceded to India.