Ismaili Muslims Across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral Celebrate Imamat Day of Shah Karim Aga Khan

Hunza boys performing Api Cso Nut in Karimabad Hunza
Young men performing the Api Cso Nut - a dance that was introduced to Hunza by a traditional dancer from Baltistan centuries ago.

The regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral are home to over a million Ismaili Muslims – the followers of His Highness Aga Khan. Every year on 11th July, Ismailis celebrate 11th July as Salgirah to commemorate the day on which the current Aga Khan had succeeded Sultan Mohammad Shah Aga Khan III as the 49th imam of the community. Continuing the tradition of celebrations, Ismailis across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral celebrated Imamat day with colorful events.

In Hunza, different villages held events that were attended by both Ismailis and non-Ismailis. Tourists from Pakistan and other countries were not restricted from joining the celebrations and even giving them a chance to perform dances.

On 11th July morning, recitation of Holy Quran was held at different Jamatkhanas. During day time, the famous traditional dish of Harisa was prepared which was later distributed to homes. Young men participated in preparation of the dish along with elders. In the evening, fireworks lit the whole valleys. On the next day, a cultural event was organized that featured traditional music, dances and food.

Explore Imamat Day Salgirah celebrations in pictures.

A lit-gate is installed on a road in Karimabad, Hunza
Gates with lighting were installed in a number of mohallahs.
Young boys preparing Harisa
Harisa is one of the traditional Hunza food items that is prepared on events like Imamat day. Young boys in Hunza preparing Harisa.
Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan
The Governor of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan speaks to the audience of Imamat Day Salgirah celebrations at Baltit Fort, Karimabad, Hunza
Imamat Day Salgirah celebrations in Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan
The Hunza valley was lit with fireworks on 11th July evening.
Tug of War between two villages in Karimabad
Young boys participate in tug of war. Tug of war is a traditional Hunza game that has been a main feature of major events and celebrations across Hunza.
Hunza traditional music band
The Hunza traditional band (Bericho) playing a local tune.
Young Hunza Girls performing tableau
Young Hunza girls performing a sufi-tableau.
Ismaili Scouts Group Hunza
Ismaili boy scouts participating in a marchpast at Baltit Polo Groun in Karimabad, Hunza.
Hunza Pipe Band
The Karimabad Ismaili Pipe Band entertaining audience with an instrumental performance.

Imran Hunzai
Imran Hunzai is a Digital Media Consultant and activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. Follow him of Twitter @ihunzai.
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