The origin of beekeeping in Kashmir

publication date: Nov 25, 2011
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Bee World Vol.65 (1) 1984 pp. 12-18
Article Title

The origin of beekeeping in Kashmir


F. A. Shah


The territory known as Jammu and Kashmir state lies between 32° and 37° Nand 73° and 80° E. It is almost entirely mountainous, with some of the grandest scenery in the world. The valley of Kashmir is the only region in the Indian sub-continent to have a well established beekeeping industry in the usual sense of the term, and beekeeping is as active today as it was in past centuries. Even two decades ago, there was hardly a house in the length and breadth of the valley without traditional hives. According to one report there were about 50 000 colonies of bees in traditional hives in Kashmir prior to the appearance of acarine disease in 1962. Although their number has decreased due to destruction of forests, clean cultivation, urbanization, modern house design, and modernization of beekeeping in the last fifty years, traditional hives even now outnumber modern ones. In some areas over twenty can be found in a single house, and traditional beekeeping is considered more economic than the modern system. Detailed descriptions of the traditional Kashmiri beekeeping system have appeared in beekeeping journals and the similarities have been pointed out between this system and traditional beekeeping in Central Asia and the Middle East in the 1300s and 1400s. This article attempts to establish the historical origin of the system, which has not previously been done.

Keywordsbeekeeping, Kashmir
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