One of the largest states of the Indian union, Jammu and Kashmir covers an area of 2,22,236 sq km. This includes 78,114 sq km under illegal occupation of Pakistan, 5,180 sq km handed over by Pakistan to China, and 37,555 sq km under occupation of China.
The state lies between 32o 17' to 36o 58' North latitude and 73o 26' to 80o 30' East longitude. From North to South, it extends over 640 km and from East to West, 480 km. It occupies the North-West niche of India, bounded on the South by Himachal Pradesh and the Punjab, on the South West and West by Pakistan, on the North by Chinese Turkistan and a little of Russian Turkistan, and on the East by Chinese Tibet - thus strategically bordering the territories of three countries - Russia, China, and Pakistan.
Geographically, the Jammu and Kashmir state is divided into four zones. First, the mountainous and semi- mountainous plain commonly known as Kandi belt, the second, hills including Siwalik ranges, the third, mountains of Kashmir valley, and Pir Panjal range and the fourth is Tibetan tract of Ladakh and Kargil.
The land of snow clad mountains that shares 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 in-habited by various religious and cultural groups. Kashyapa is said to have laid the foundation of Kashmir, which was referred to as 'Kashyapamar'. Owing to the several climatic conditions during winter people here lead a nomadic life with their cattles.It was also 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, Tiber, 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. Art and crafts also developed through encouragement. After, independence of India in 1947 this region formed a part of the Indian territory and is an integral region that contributed its part to preserve the unity and integrity of India.
The state of Jammu & Kashmir has an area of 2,22,236 sq. km. and a population of 10.14 million. There are 22 districts, 107 blocks and 6652 villages. The State has population density of 45 per sq. km. (as against the national average of 312). The decadal growth rate of the state is 31.42% (against 21.54% for the country) and the population of the state continues to grow at a much faster rate than the national rate.