A brief History of Anantnag
This slice of paradise combines unique tourist destinations such as Chatpal, Achabal, Daksum, and Breng with well-known picturesque destinations like Pahalgam, Kokernag, and Verinag. Finding a geographical competitor to Anantnag would be extremely difficult.
Anantnag, one of Kashmir's oldest districts, is known for its unrivaled beauty and sprawling serenity, which is attributed to the coming together of various faiths. Amarnath Cave, Kheer Bhawani, Aishmuqam Shrine, Baba Dawood Khakhi, and Chapel of John Bishop, to name a few, are among the many notable religious sites in Anantnag.
Anantnag, on the other hand, is more than a collection of holy sites; it is a collision of opposites. Although being distant from the hush and rush of the city makes it an ideal place for serenity, it nonetheless manages to remain the hub of business and commerce in the valley. Despite its status as a traditional art hub, the neighborhood has attempted to re-modulate its craft into new, successful sectors, particularly the willow bat industry.
Anantnag, presently a place of convergent features, was once a highly significant territory. The centuries-old magnificent Martand Sun temple is proof of that. This town in the south of the Kashmir valley is a must-see for its natural beauty, religious diversity, wonderful historical sites, and world-renowned handicrafts.
The name Anantnag is a combination of the Sanskrit word 'Ananta,' which means countless, and the Kashmiri word 'naga,' which means water springs; thus, Anant-nga means 'land of countless springs.' According to archaeologist Sir Aurel Stein, the town was named after one of its springs, Ananta Naga, which emerges at the city's southern end. Almost every local historian backs up the claim. Another school of thought holds that the Nag in the name refers to serpents, and therefore Anantnag means "land of innumerable serpents." In Hindu legend, Anantnag is where Lord Shiva stopped to rest his many snakes on their way to the Amarnath caves.
Walter Roper Lawrence's work illuminates the history of Anantnag in addition to Hindu mythology books. According to the book, Hindus dominated the area prior to 1320, when Muslims had not yet taken to the throne. The book describes how Kashmir was divided into three parts: Maraz in the south, Yamraj in the middle, and Kamraj in the north. The division resulted from the fight between the two brothers, Marhan and Kaman, over their father's throne.
Marhan was given the valley between Pir Panjal and Srinagar, which is today Anantnag. From then until the arrival of the Mughals in Kashmir, there was no noteworthy change in Anantnag's history. The establishment of several architectural wonders during the Mughal Empire breathed a new energy into the town. Islam Khan, the Mughal administrator of Kashmir, dubbed Anantnag Islamabad at that time.
The shift in terminology, however, was only temporary. During the reign of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the founder of the Dogra dynasty, the town's ancient name was restored. The name Islamabad, on the other hand, stuck and is still used by the general public.
In terms of modern history, Anantnag was confined to the Fatehgarh plateau till the early twentieth century. Due to its gradual growth, it was initially declared a town and later a Municipal Council. There has been no turning back since then, since the region has made enormous growth. It has established itself in agriculture and trade in Kashmir's southern belt and has grown into a second-tier urban center in the valley.