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Centuries Old Chineer Festival Celebrated in Jamalabad, Gojal, Hunza

The festival of Chineer was celebrated with traditional zeal at Jamalabad in Gojal, Hunza. The festival was organized by Hashoo Foundation in partnership with Center for Culture and Development (CKU), Pakistan. Chineer is the Gojal version of Ginani festival which was celebrated at Baltit Fort in Karimabad this past week and planned to be held at Chalt in the Nagar district later this week.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Centuries Old Chineer Festival Celebrated in Jamalabad, Gojal, Hunza

The festival of Chineer was celebrated with traditional zeal at Jamalabad (formerly Morkhon) in Gojal, Hunza. The festival was organized by Hashoo Foundation in partnership with Center for Culture and Development (CKU), Pakistan. Chineer is the Gojal version of Ginani festival which was celebrated at Baltit Fort in Karimabad this past week and planned to be held at Chalt in the Nagar district later this week.

The word Chineer comes from aĀ traditional dish that is prepared on the morning of the festival, hence, the festival itself is named after it. The locals prepare the dish and invite their friends and family on a feast.

Centuries Old Chineer Festival Celebrated in Jamalabad, Gojal, Hunza

Ole Ramsing, Program Manager of CKU and Ayesha Khan, Country Director of Hashoo Foundation, among the local elders during a prayer at inauguration of Chineer festival.

Historically, Chineer was celebrated in Gojal regions of Hunza to welcome the new maize harvest. A similar event is also held across Gilgit-Baltistan to welcome the start of a fresh harvesting season.

Ole Ramsing, the Program Manger of CKU in Pakistan, along with Ayesha Khan, the country director of Hashoo Foundation, were the guests who inaugurated the event.

Centuries Old Chineer Festival Celebrated in Jamalabad, Gojal, Hunza

Management of CKU, Hashoo Foundation, KADO along with local elders applauding the tableau performance of young Hunza girls.

The local elders and children performed traditional dances during the festival. Wakhi folk songs were sung by Bulbulik team who also made a sitar instrumental performance. Later, the chief guests visited the music school funded by CKU and met the trainee musicians.

The management and locals appreciated the contributions of CKU and Hashoo Foundation for the promotion and revival of indigenous cultures in the mountainous regions like Gojal.

Bulbulik musical group performing an instrumental tune and Chineer Festival in Gojal

Bulbulik musical group performing an instrumental tune.

In his speech, Ole Ramsing, the Project Manager of CKU in Pakistan said thatĀ he was happy to seeĀ the local support organizations for conducting such a beautiful event.

Ayesha Khan, the country director of Hashoo Foundation stressed on the needĀ to work together to improve the basic needs of the people of mountainous communities in Gilgit-Baltitistan. SheĀ also mentioned that the development practices need to be change changed and there is a need to work on the modern needs of the education, health care, ECED, and also on culture and on the tourism of the area.

Additional reporting: Alla Udin

Photos: Ghazi Karim

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.

Chitral

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Chitral as part of their Royal Tour in Pakistan

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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Chitral, Pakistan
PHOTO CREDITS: WIREIMAGE

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge flew from Islamabad to Chitral on their third day of Royal tour in Pakistan. This is the first royal tour of Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton to Pakistan.

The two were welcomed with traditional Chitrali Pakol, a traditional Chitrali cap, and Chitrali Chogha, a traditional long coat in often presented to dignitaries, at the Chitral Airport.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Chitral Airport
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrive at Chitral Airport where they were presented with traditional Chitrali cap and Chitrali Chogha. Photo: WireImage

The royal couple had landed in Islamabad on Monday evening as part of a 5-day long royal tour in Pakistan. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had a busy first day in the capital where they had a meeting with PrimeĀ  Minister Imran Khan. Earlier, the royal couple visited Islamabad Model College for Girls, a government-run school in the capital city.

Later, the British High Commissioner for Pakistan Thomas Drew hosted a reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Pakistan Monument in Islamabad. The royal couple arrived at Pakistan Monument in an auto-rickshaw.

Duchess of Cambridge in Chitrali Cap
The Duchess of Cambridge at Chitral Airport wearing a traditional Chitrali cap and Chitrali Chogha.

The Duke had spoken of the challenges Pakistan faces from climate change at a reception at Pakistan Monument in Islamabad.

“Tomorrow we will be seeing some of these impacts first hand and meeting some of the communities adjusting to the new realities and new challenges that climate change has brought to their towns and villages,” he said.

He further added:

“I hope to learn what more we all can do to help prevent and mitigate this impending global catastrophe.”

William and Kate are also expected to visit Gilgit-Baltistan and the historic city of Lahore as part of their royal tour.

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5 Facts You Might Not Know About the Baltit Fort Hunza

You must have heard about the famous Baltit Fort of Hunza but how much do you really know about this architectural monument of historic importance? Let’s explore.

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Baltit Fort Hunza

The region of Gilgit-Baltistan is not only blessed with some spectacular natural scenery but some man-made wonders also add up to the glory of this part of Pakistan. One of the prominent names that come into the mind while talking about Hunza valley is the Baltit Fort. The fort is located at an elevation

We recently visited the Baltit Fort and we have compiled a list of 5 interesting facts that might not know about the historic monument.

1. Baltit Fort is over 700 years old

The foundations of Baltit Fort were first laid some 700 years ago. Over the next couple of centuries, restoration work was carried out. The biggest one took place in the 16th century when artisans from Baltistan came to Hunza and changed the entire shape of the fort. The Ladakhi/Tibetan architecture influence of the fort comes from the same restoration period.Ā This restoration work by Balti artisans was done as part of a dowry of a princess who got married to a prince of Hunza at that time.

Inside Hunza Baltit Fort

2. It was home to the royal family of Hunza for centuries

Baltit Fort was not the only home to the family of Mirs – the royal rulers of Hunza. The royal family was based out of an even older Altit Fort which is located in the village of Altit at a huge elevated rock. However, a conflict resulted in one of the two brothers settling in BaltitĀ Fort. The brother who remained in Altit Fort was killed hence BaltitĀ Fort became the seat of the Hunza state.

For centuries, BaltitĀ Fort remained home of the royal family of Hunza. Not only that, many festivities and important meetings were held inside specially built portions inside the fort.

Even today, festivals like Ginani are celebrated in Baltit Fort.

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Portraits of some of the many Mirs of Hunza who ruled the state of Hunza.

Ginani Festival at Baltit Fort in Hunza

Shah Saleem Khan is being escorted for the traditional rituals of Ginani Festival at Baltit Fort.

3.Ā The Fort was abandoned in 1945

Baltit Fort was abandoned in the mid-1940s.Ā The family of then Mir of Hunza moved to a newly built palace within Karimabad town. For decades, the fort remained a haunted place while it slowly turned into a ruin. During this time, a lot of important items disappeared, a number of which were never recovered.

From 1945 until the 1990s, no repair work was done in the fort which posed a threat to a possible collapse of the building.

Photos of Baltit Fort taken in 1930's.

Photos of Baltit Fort taken in 1930’s.

Baltit Fort 1930

Baltit Fort in 1930’s

4. It took 6 years to renovate the Baltit Fort

The fort was renovated by Aga Khan Cultural Services for Pakistan (AKCSP) and opened for public in September 1996. The restoration work of Baltit Fort took AKCSP about six years to complete with the support of Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). The fort was inaugurated after restoration by His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan and then president of Pakistan Mr. Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari.

Baltit Fort Hunza

Inside the Baltit Fort Hunza

5. BaltitĀ Fort is now a museum

After the restoration of Baltit Fort in 1996, the fort was opened for public. It is now being managed by theĀ Baltit Heritage Trust. An estimated 15,000 people visit the BaltitĀ Fort every year which includes locals, domestic and foreign visitors.

Ginani Festival Baltit Fort Hunza

Local elders and leaders of tribes gather in Chataq at Baltit Fort for the celebrations of Ginani Festival.

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baltit-fort-hunza-gilgit-baltistan (4)

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