Sultans of Kashmir
Kashmir had a strategic importance as it touches borders of many countries of the Indian sub-continent. In its valley, Burzahom is one of the oldest sites of Neolithic and Megalithic period. Kashmir territory was part of Mauryan, Kushana, Huns, Karkota, Utpala and Lohara dynasty. Under Kushana rule, Kanishka organized fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir where popular scholars such as Ashvagosha, Nagarjuna and Vasumitra were present.
Buddhist scholar Kumarajiva went to China, during Yao Xing’s reign and spread the influence of Sanskrit over there. Kashmir had produced many scholars such as Vasugupta who wrote Shiva Sutras, Abhinavagupta who wrote Tantraloka, Tantrasara, devotional hymns and most important philosophical work, Abhinavabharati. Lalitaditya is the most celebrated king of Karkota dynasty who led aggressive military campaign against Turks and Arabs. He conquered eastern kingdoms of Magadha, Kamarupa, Gauda and Kalinga. He built Martand Sun temple which was one of the largest temple complex of the Indian subcontinent. Sharada Peeth was one of the important learning center in ancient Kashmir in which pupil came from different region. A ruin of Sharda Peeth is situated in Azad Kashmir, modern Pakistan.
Historian M. Hasan stated that exploitative tax, corruption among administrative officers of Lohara dynasty gave the way for foreign invasion. Last king, Suhadeva fled from Kashmir which followed raid by Zulju, Turkic-Mongol. After Zulju, Buddhist Rinchana established himself as ruler. He was persuaded to accept Islam as faith. Later, his descendants were coup by Shah Mir. Hence, Shah Mir dynasty was established in 1339. But before Shah Mir dynasty, many Islam followers lived in the territory. However, it is possible that earlier soldiers of invaders might have settled down here and followed Islam.
The Shah Mir dynasty, founded by Shamas-ud Din, ruled for a period of 222 years during which 17 kings ruled.