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karakoram festival 4

The trinkets of Karakoram

By Khalida Aamir

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A festival is an effective way to celebrate and promote our wonderful heritage, culture and traditions.  They are also meant to celebrate special moments and emotions in our lives.  They play an important role to add structure to our social lives, and connect us with our families, loved ones and backgrounds.  Besides, they give us a distraction from our day to day, busy routine of life, and motivate us to revisit and remember the important of our culture.

Hunza Classical Music Band

Hunza Classical Music Band

Festivals give people something to look forward to, and join different people towards a certain cause, mostly celebration.  Gilgit Baltistan is rich in culture and traditions and we love celebrating our uniqueness together. A 3-day-long Karakoram Festival was held in Lahore, starting March 28, 2014 at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The colorful and joyful celebration ended on March 30. Sajjad Saleem Hotiana, sitting Chief Secretary of Sindh and former Chief Secretary of GB, paid a surprise visit to the festival, adding more charm to the carnival.

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Thousands of people from Gilgit and Lahore visited and participated in the festival. More than 40 artists from Gilgit-Baltistan, including singers, musicians and craft persons, added more colors to the festival. Handicraft stalls by Karakorum Area Development Organization (KADO), local food stalls, and other entrepreneurial products introduced more flavor to the festival. Stalls exhibiting jewels and gemstones from the Karakoram mountain range were heart of the festival as hundreds of visitors herded to the stalls.

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Stalls selling GB’s traditional hats turned into a center of attraction for the people as hundreds of people flocked to the stalls to have one. Moreover, the performance by Hunza Classical Musical Group attracted and inspired the festival goers. A variety of dance performances from different districts of Gilgit Baltistan amused all those who attended the festival. The singers added charm to the festival by singing local songs of Gilgit Baltistan.

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It was also great to see people from Lahore dancing to the traditional music of GB.  Also, the stalls put up to promote tourism in GB garnered hundreds of domestic and international mountain and nature lovers. It was an amazing experience to see people of Lahore getting inspired by the culture of GB. The festival provided a great opportunity to photographers who were seen mingling through the rush to get their expensive shots.

KIds performing local dance

KIds performing local dance

The festival also symbolized the diversity and pluralism in GB as people from across the region were seen together as a single, united community.

Gilgit Baltistan Youth Council (GBYC) voluntarily facilitated the entire event and they deserve congratulations. It will be great if such festivals are arranged frequently so that people can come together and celebrate their culture and share happiness. Promoting our culture and respecting it is our priority. Overall it was an amazing experience to get out and celebrate our culture.

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