Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar
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There are 22 civil districts in the diocese in an area of 222,236 square kilometers.

The Diocese of Jammu-Srinagar comprises the entire Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir (J & K) state is known as the "crown of India" since it lies in the extreme north of the country. It is surrounded by the international boundaries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and China from west to east. The Indian states of Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are on its south.

Much drama surrounds Jammu & Kashmir's accession to Indian Union. Wars had been fought between India and Pakistan, India and China claiming for the territory of Kashmir. Pakistan has occupied 78,114 square kilometers of its territory. In 1959 Chinese troops occupied the Aksai Chin part of Ladakh. J & K has a special status within the Union government. It has its own constitution (adopted in 1956) that affirms its integrity within the Republic of India.

Language


People speak Urdu, Dogri, Punjabi, Hindi and English.

History


Missionary endeavors began since 1868 in the areas of Kafiristan (now in Pakistan) and Kashmir. As a result, the Prefecture Apostolic of Kafiristan and Kashmir was erected on July 06, 1887, bifurcating from the diocese of Lahore, now in Pakistan, entrusting the region to the Mill Hill Missionaries (MHM).

After the national independence and bifurcation of Pakistan, the ecclesiastical territory was reorganized as Prefecture Apostolic of Kashmir and Jammu on Jan. 17, 1952. The ecclesiastical territory was renamed as the Prefecture Apostolic of Jammu and Kashmir on May 14, 1968. It comprised the districts of Kashmir and Ladakh, which were part of Rawalpindi diocese (now in Pakistan) and the districts of Jammu and Poonch, which belonged to Lahore diocese (now in Pakistan).

After the Mill Hill Missionaries left the Prefecture, it was entrusted to the Indian Capuchins of St. Joseph's province, Kerala, in 1978. Capuchin Msgr. Hippolytus Kunnunkal was appointed its first Indian Prefect Apostolic on Dec. 28, 1978. It was raised to a diocese on Sept. 7, 1986 and Msgr. Kunnunkal was ordained bishop of Jammu-Srinagar in the newly consecrated St. Mary's cathedral, Jammu. The diocesan curia, which functioned in Srinagar since 1952, was shifted to Jammu in Dec. 1986. The newly-built bishop's house in Jammu was blessed on Nov. 25, 1989. After the retirement of Bishop Kunnunkal, Capuchin Msgr. Peter Celestine was ordained its second bishop on Sept. 6, 1998.

 
  • Patroness of the diocese: Nativity (birth) of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Feast day: Sept. 8.

Transportation


The state attracts a number of Indian and foreign tourists. Vaishno Devi shrine, Mansar Lake, Bahu Fort are some tourist centers in Jammu region. Dal Lake, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Amarnath are in Kashmir. And in Ladakh are the famous Buddhist monasteries, Jama Masjid, and Leh Palace.

Climate


The climate varies from tropical in the plains of Jammu to semi-arctic cold in Ladakh. Annual rainfall varies from 92.6 mm in Leh to 650.5 mm in Srinagar and 1115.9 mm in Jammu.

Geography


Wildlife in the state include leopard, Kashmir stag, bear, snakes, peacock.

Economy


Handicrafts production and export, mainly wood carvings, carpets, shawls, copper and silverware have been the traditional industries of the state.

Nearly 80 percent of the people depend on agriculture. Major crops include paddy, wheat, maize, pulses, cotton and barley. Large orchards in Kashmir produce apples, pears, peaches, walnuts, cherries, almonds, cherries, apricots strawberries and saffron.

Topography


It is the sixth largest state in India, including the area occupied by Pakistan and China. The mountainous state is blessed with lofty snow clad peaks, deep gorges, glaciers, lush green meadows and verdant valleys full of Chinar trees, beautiful silvery lakes, charming flora and fauna, making it a "Paradise on Earth." It has a very rich history and a distinct culture. It has some of the most sacred temples, mosques, monasteries and caves. Major rivers are: Indus, Chenab, Jhelum and Ravi.

Education


Literacy rate is 54.46 percent. The diocese gives importance to education by running many English medium schools. Most of the Church personnel are from southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and tribals from the Chhota Nagpur region. The diocese focuses also on faith-formation of the Catholics, mostly migrants.

Culture


Sufiana Music is a rich tradition in Kashmir. Jabro and Alley Yate are popular dance forms in the Ladakh region. Ritual dance of Kud is performed in honour of local deities in the Jammu region.

Principal festivals of Jammu region are: Lohri, Baisakhi, and Bahu Mela. Id-ul-Zuha and Miraj Alam are celebrated in the Kashmir region and Mela Losar and Hemis festivals in the Ladakh region.