ISLAMABAD, July 09 (APP): Kashmir is the land which is known for its splendid natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. The culture of Kashmir is a diverse blend and highly influenced by northern South Asian, Persian as well as Central Asian culture.

Kashmiri culture is defined in terms of religious values, language, literature, cuisine and traditional values of mutual respect. Kashmir has been noted for its fine arts for centuries, including poetry and beautiful handicrafts.

Cultural music and dance like Wanvun, Roaff, carpet/shawl weaving Qaleenbafi and Koshur Sufiana forms a very important part of Kashmiri identity.

The traditional dress of the women is the shalwar kameez which is beautifully decorated with colorful hand embroideries and creativities. The shalwar kameez is commonly worn by both men and women. Women use shawl to cover their head and upper body.

The female section in Jammu and Kashmir also attire themselves with beautiful jeweler like earrings, necklaces, nose rings, bangles, earrings and colorful dresses where the men section feel comfortable in the ethnic wear which is skullcaps, churidar, pyjamas, shalwars, and gurgabi.

Phiran is woolen attire decorated with the colorful patches of floral motifs and lot of embroidery work done on it. The dress code of the people of Jammu and Kashmir reflects the true picture of their lifestyle and culture.

There are various dance forms performed according to the occasion various seasons, harvest, weddings and religious festivals.

Marriage ceremonies in the state are marked by the Hafiza dance where young Kashmiri boys celebrate the harvest season with Bacha Nagma dance. Other famous folk dances of Jammu and Kashmir are Ruf, Wuegi-Nachun, Roul and Dogri.

Among folk music, the most famous is the Rabab and the common musical instruments are Dukra, Sitar and Nagara.

As far as forms of music in Kashmir is concerned there are three distinct forms, viz. Sufi, Ghazals and Choral Music. Wanawun is another form of music that is sung and played during wedding ceremonies in Kashmir.

Shikaras, traditional small wooden boats, and house boats are a common feature in various lakes and rivers across the Valley.

Kashmiri cuisine holds a unique place among different world cuisines. Salted tea, also called Sheer chai is the traditional drink and is cooked in a Samavar, a Kashmiri tea-pot.

Kehwa, traditional green tea with spices like cardamom, Saffron and almond, is served on special occasions and festivals.

Kashmiri weddings are regarded incomplete without the Kashmiri traditional food known as Wazwan, which is typically spicy food cooked by the traditional cooks (Waz). Wazwan is a multi-course meal in which almost all the dishes are meat-based.

Popular Kashmiri meat preparations are: Kashmiri Kebab Rogan Josh Rista Jigar/Kaleyji Methi Keema Yakhni Syun Alu Kabargah Marzwagan Pasanda Potato, cottage cheese, Shree Pulao, Mutton Pulao, Tursh Zarda, Kulcha.