Shopian

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Located in the south and south-west extremity of Kashmir valley, Shopian lies in close proximity of Pir Panjal mountain range. It is bound by district Kulgam on its east and district Budgam on its north-west and is flanked by district Pulwama in the north and the districts of Rajouri and Poonch on its south and south-west respectively.

The District derives its name from its town “SHOPIAN”, about which Frederic Drew, while justifying the basis of its nomenclature, states that it is the distortion of word “SHAH-PAYAN”, i.e., Royal Stay. Shopian has been an ancient town of Kashmir, which among other factors in the past has historical importance since it is situated on the ancient imperial route commonly known as Mughal road, which connects Lahore and Srinagar. Shopian was one of out of six Wazarat Headquarters in Kashmir from 1872-1892 A.D.

Shopian town – the district headquarters – is situated at a distance of 51 Km from Srinagar and 20 Km from Pulwama. It has decades old road connectivity with Islamabad as well as Kulgam.

Mughal Road is now traversed only by Bakherwals and Gujjars during their seasonal migration. Currently under construction, Mughal road is now expected to link Shopian with Poonch and Rajouri.

Most of the area in Shopian district is hilly. Coupled with conducive agroclimatic conditions, large areas of Shopian are covered by orchards especially apple and walnut. Presence of pastures enhances the potential for development of livestock in the district.
The total area of the district is 30,742 Hects, out of which 19,692.5 Hects are of cultivable nature. The grazing lands are of the order of 2,948 Hects and 260.5 Hects are forest land. Remaining 7,841 Hects of land are the lands of other nature.
Shopian, a populous town, is the urban centre of the district. Almost 90 percent of the population lives in the rural areas. The total population of the district is 2, 46,041 souls as per 2001 census.

A Committee, designated to determine the boundaries of the district, interacted with people of the district besides their representatives and government district administration for knowing their view point during their extensive tour of the area also. It has recommended that the limits of district Shopian be made co-terminus with the limits of erstwhile sub-division Shopian.

District Shopian now comprises of 231 villages categorised in 47 patwar halqas in revenue records with an area of 30,741.6 hectares. As most of the area is hilly and merited special treatment, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has designated Shopian as a hilly District.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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