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       A geographical map of J&K State with its composite cultureThe State of Jammu and Kashmir came into being as a single political and geographical entity following the Treaty of Amritsar between the British Government and Mahahraja Gulab Singh signed on March 16, 1846. The Treaty handed over the control of the Kashmir State to the Dogra rulers of Jammu who were already controlling the Ladakh region. Thus, the new State comprising three distinct regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh was formed with Maharaja Gulab Singh as its founder ruler.

       Strategically located Jammu and Kashmir State constitutes the northern most extremity of India. Situated between 32.17 degrees and 36.58 degrees North latitude and 73.26 degrees and 80.30 degrees East longitude, the total area of the State is 2, 22, 236 sq. kms including 78114 sq. kms under the illegal occupation of Pakistan and 42, 685 sq. kms under that of China. The State is bounded by China in the East and North, Afghanistan in the North-West and Pakistan in the West. The Southern boundry is contiguous with Himachal Pradesh and Gurdaspur District of Punjab. The northern and eastern areas of the State are occupied by series of Mount Austin Godwin, the second highest peak of the world with height of 28265 feet. Its four principal rivers are the Indus, the Jhelum, the Chenab and the Ravi.The State with its summer and winter capitals at Srinagar and Jammu, respectively, consists of 22 districts, 10 in Kashmir Valley, 10 in Jammu Division and 2 in Ladakh.   It has four geographical zones of (i) Sub-mountain and semi-mountain plain known as kandi or dry belt, (ii) the Shivalik ranges, (iii) the high mountain zone constituting the Kashmir valley, Pir Panchal range and its off-shoots including Doda, Poonch and Rajouri districts and part of Kathua and Udhampur districts and (iv) the middle run of the Indus river comprising Leh and Kargil.The climate varies from tropical in the Jammu plains to semi-arctic cold in Ladakh with Kashmir and Jammu mountainous tracts having temperate climate conditions. The annual rainfall also varies from region to region with 92.6 mm in Leh, 650.5 mm in Srinagar and 1115.9 mm in Jammu. The State is geologically constituted of rocks varying from the oldest period of the earth's history to the youngest present day river and lake deposits.

        The State is rich in art, culture and history and in archaeological and historical sites reflecting a glorious past. While Kashmir is said to have the oldest recorded history in the world. Jammu and Ladakh too find mention in the ancient history.

       Jammu and Kashmir was one of the 565 princely States of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of mid-night on August 15, 1947. On Independence from the British yoke,  the State of Jammu and Kashmir, then ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh, elected to accede to the Union of India by signing an Instrument of Accession. The Instrument of Accession was executed and signed by the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh and the Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatton on October 26/27, 1947.

       The Maharaja announced a popular interim government on March 5, 1948 and appointed Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah as the Prime Minister. On June 20, 1949 when Maharaja Hari Singh had to leave the State for reasons of health, he appointed Yuvraj Karan Singh, his son, as Regent through a Proclamation issued on June 20, 1949.

      On January 26, 1950, when India became a Republic, Article 370 of the Constitution of India conferred a special status on the State of Jammu and Kashmir. 

       The Regent, as Head of the State, issued a Proclamation on May 1, 1951 directing formation of a Constituent Assembly of  elected members. The Constituent Assembly after the Delhi Agreement elected the Regent, Yuvraj Karan Singh, as Sadar-i-Riyasat of the State on August 19, 1952. On May, 1954, the President of India issued the Constitution Order 1954-CO 48 dated 14-5-1954 under Article 370 extending the Constitution of India to the State with exception and modifications contained in the order.

       On November 17, 1956, the State Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir declaring the State to be an integral part of the Union of India. While the Constitution was adopted on January 26, 1957, Sections 3 & 4 of the Constitution came into force with immediate effect. 

       By the 6th amendment to the State Constitution adopted on March 28, 1965, the Sadar-i-Riyasat was re-designated as the Governor and the Prime Minister of the State as the Chief Minister.

       The State of Jammu and Kashmir has the unique distinction of having its own Constitution and the Flag, unlike any other State of the Country. In the event of failure of Constitutional machinery in any of the States of the country, President's Rule is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution of India. But, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir Governor's Rule for a period of six months is imposed under the provision of Section 92 of the State Constitution and the Proclamation to this effect is issued by the Governor only after the consent of the President of India has been received. The State Assembly is either kept in suspended animation or dissolved. If it is not possible to restore the Constitutional machinery before the expiry of this six months then, provision of Article 356 of the Constitution of India are extended and President's rule is imposed in the State.