Anantnag 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 city is constituted by three main boroughs or towns Viz Anantnag, Khanabal, Mattan, Jammu and Kashmir and half a dozen small townships. Most of the population of the city resides in the Anantnag borough. The old city of Anantnag comprises Nagbal, Maliknag, Kadipora, Cheeni Chowk, Doni Pawa, Pehroo, Sarnal Bala, Janglatmandi, Old Port Khanabal, Downtown Martand, & Dangarpora areas and few villages like Haji Danter, birth place of famous researcher on kashmir history DR Hashim Iqbal Malik and Mir Danter etc. The new city consists of the civil lines areas like S.K. Colony, Bakshiabad, Laizbal, Anchidora, Pehroo Iqbalabad, Posh Bilal Colony, Fasilabad, Moomin-Abad, Harnag, Sultan Bah-i-Rum Shah and Mid town areas like hutmara, seer, Bona Checheri Pora, Ruhu, Monghall, Lalan, Furrah, Kamad, Bona Dialgam, Fatehpora, Pethbugh, Ashajipora, Nai basti (Anantnag), Batpora and Mir Bazaar. Anantnag has quite a population inhabiting several satellite areas like Wanpoh, Dialgam, Nowgam, Seer, Fateh Garh University town and NH 1 A north and east which are rapidly becoming part of Fast expanding Anantnag Metro area.
As of 2011 India census,Anantnag city had a population of 1.1 lakh, Anantnag Urban Agglomeration had a population of 4,58,785 and Anantnag district had a population of 11,70,144. In Anantnag city, males constituted 51.6% and females 48.4% of the population. Sex ratio was 937 females per 1,000 males compared to national average 940. The sex ratio was worse at 874 for the 0 to 6-year age-group compared to national average 918. Anantnag had an average literacy rate of 62.2%, lower than the national average of 64.3%. Male literacy was 71%, and female literacy was 61%. Children under six years of age numbered 18,056 in Anantnag city and were 16.6% of the population in 2011.