Anantnag (Urdu: اننت ناگ /əˈnæntˌnæg/ or /-nɑːg/ listen ; Kashmiri: anaṁtnāg; lit. "Countless springs") 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.