Kashmir Etymology

The Sanskrit word for Kashmir was कश्मीर (káśmīra) and, as with many ancient toponyms, its source and original meaning remain unknown. Kashmir was archaically spelled Cashmere in English. Over the centuries, various Puranas linked the word kaśmīra to the name of the mythical sage Kashyapa. The word kaśmīra was thus said to be a contraction of kaśyapa-mīra meaning “Kashyapa’s sea” (and the Kashmir Valley is then claimed to have formerly been a lake) or, alternately, kaśyapa-meru, or “Kashyapa’s mountain”.

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