Anantnag sometimes locally also known as Islamabad,is a city and a municipality, capital of the Anantnag district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is a large business and trading centre of Kashmir Valley.
The name Anantnag is thought to be derived from the Sanskrit term for “countless springs” Nag also means water spring in the Kashmiri language. Thus Anantnag is believed to mean “numerous springs”, because there are many springs in the town, such as Nag Bal, Salak Nag and Malik Nag. According to Marc Aurel Stein, the name of the city comes from the great spring Ananta Nag issuing at the centre of the city. This is also corroborated by almost all local historians including Kalhana, according to whom the city has taken the name of this great spring of Cesha Nag or Ananta Nag.
Anantnag is an ancient city that came into existence as a market town around 5000 BCE making it one of the oldest urban human settlements in the world. Before the advent of Muslim rule in 1320 CE, Kashmir was divided into three divisions, viz., Maraz in the south, Yamraj in the centre and Kamraj in the north of the Valley. Old chronicles reveal that the division was the culmination of the rift Marhan and Kaman, the two brothers, over the crown of their father. The part of the valley which lies between Pir Panjal and Srinagar, and called the Anantnag, was given to Marhan and named after him as Maraj. While Srinagar is no longer known as Yamraj, the area to its north and south are still called Kamraz and Maraz respectively. These divisions were later on divided into thirty four sub-divisions which after 1871 were again reduced to five Zilas or districts.
The Martand temple is one of the important archaeological sites of the country. It was built around 500 AD. This temple has the typical Aryan structure as was present in Aryan Kashmir. The Martand temple (coordinates 33°44′44″N 75°13′13″E) or 33.7456817°N and 75.2203792°E is situated at Kehribal, 9 km east-north-east of Anantnag and south of Mattan.
The temple was attacked by Sikander Butshikan. It took one year for Sikander Butshikan to fully damage and destroy this Martand temple. Even today one gets surprised over art and skill of the builders of this world famous Martand temple by looking at its ruins. Its impressive architecture reveals the glorious past of the area.After Independence, the government developed many beauty spots of the district, but of their noble and magnificent edifices only faint traces survive.
Anantnag is the big hub of the economy of the Kashmir Valley, and it has remained a tourist destination for centuries. The valley has attracted travellers from around the world for a long time and they travelled to the valley and Anantnag to take view of its breath taking beauty.
In 2010 Anantnag was declared as major City of Export excellence with a total GDP of 3.7 billion $. The high GDP of Anantnag is due to the centralised position and presence of high concentration of troops and migrant labours in it. Anantnag has a strategic position lying on the main North South Corridor Road and with highest number of tourist destinations it an economic hub of Kashmir Valley. The city suffered heavily during conflict times of the 1990s most roads, bridges, government institutions were reduced to ash. But in recent times it has made a very fast recovery. It has been listed among 100 fastest economically developing cities. The presence of a cheap large migrant labour force has helped it to recover rapidly in post-conflict times.
The main area of Anantnag is among the most populous part of the Kashmir valley, and crops like wheat and rice are cultivated for local consumption. Orchards produce a number of fruits, particularly apples. Another significant segment of the economy include handicrafts, weaving of woolen shawls and dress materials, and woodcarving . Anantnag and the surrounding areas serve as collecting points from where fruits and handicraft products are taken to several parts of the Indian subcontinent.