Kashmir is perhaps, to possess an authentic account of its history from the very earliest period. This past account of the valley, its culture and traditions, rise and fall of various Kingdoms, victory and defeats of the people have been noted carefully, yet critically by the sons of its soil. True it is, that the Kashmiriat literature is very rich in information about Kashmir.
The modern state of Jammu and Kashmir covered an area of 86024 square miles (prior to 1947) extending from 32deg 78' to 36deg 58' N and from 73deg 27' to 80deg 72' E. The entire state included, beside the Jammu region, Ladakh, Gilgit, Hunza, Nagar, Punial, and Yasin. The tiny state of Chitral, located towards the north-western side of Gilgit, used to pay tribute to Kashmir ruler. It was due to the untiring efforts of Maharaja Gulab Singh Ji ( the founder of Dogra Hindu dynasty in Kashmir) that the State took its present shape and form in the 2nd half of the 19th century.
The beauty and the salubrious climate of the valley was known even from the ancient times. The mythological traditions supported fully by the research of geologists confirm that the valley originally was a huge lake called "Satisar", ( the land of goddess Sati, consort of Lord Shiva ) and its waters were blocked near Baramulla (ancient Varahmulla). In the words of Sir Francis Young Husband, "The huge lake must have been twice the length and three times the width of the lake of Geneva, completely encircled by snowy mountains as high, and higher than Mount Blank, while in the immediately following glacial period, mighty glaciers came wending down to the Sindh, Lidder, and other valleys even to the edge of water."