Jammu and Kashmir, a state of India has a history which is both glorious and complicated. There is an interesting legend associated with the state which goes that in the ancient times the great sage Kashyap dug a lake at the place, which is now known as Kashmir. The Brahmins were the first dwellers of Kashmir. It was the Great King Ashoka who introduced and spread Buddhism here. Buddhism thrived rapidly during the rule of Kushans in the 2nd century. However, the majority of the population followed Hinduism and is still following it.
The advent of the 7th century saw the establishment of the supremacy of the Karkota Dynasty by Durlabhavarrdhana. This dynasty declined in 855 AD when the Utpalas became dominant. This dynasty was then followed by the Tantrins, Yaskaras, Guptas, Loharas dynasties etc.
Shams-ud-Din was the first Muslim king to rule over Kashmir. He defeated the last Hindu king Udiana Deva in the year 1346. Later the Mughal emperor Akbar conquered the land in the year 1586.
The year 1757 proved to be quite dramatic for Kashmir as it is during this period that the Mughal king Ahmed Shah Durrani conquered Kashmir and made it a part of Pakistan until 1819. Later King Ranjit Singh managed to conquered Kashmir again and made it part of his Sikh empire.
With the arrival of the British, Kashmir was snatched away from the Sikhs and sold to Ghulab Singh of Jammu under the treaty of Amritsar. The British honored the king with the status of an independent ruler of Kashmir. Later the king overpowered Ladakh and made it a part of his dynasty. After the death of Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1857, his dynasty came under the rule of Maharaja Rambir Singh, after which Maharaja Hari Singh took over.
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