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Ginani Festival Formally Held in Nagar Valley for the First Time in Three Decades

The traditional festival of Ginani was formally held in Chalt, Nagar, for the first time in the past 30 years. Raja Qasim Khan, the son of the former Mir of Nagar, participated in his royal attire at the event held at Royal palce in Chalt, Nagar. The festival marks the start of the new harvesting season.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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Ginani Festival in Chalt, Nagar Valley

The traditional festival of Ginani was formally held in Chalt, Nagar, for the first time in the past 30 years. Raja Qasim Khan, the son of the former Mir of Nagar, participated in his royal attire at the event held at Royal palce in Chalt, Nagar. The festival marks the start of the new harvesting season.

A number of of local elders and youth of Nagar gathered to celebrate the traditional festivity. The event was also participated by Ole Ramsing, the Project Manager of Danish Center for Culture and Development (CKU) Pakistan, and Amjad Ali Khan, Project Officer of Hashoo Foundation. The Ginani festival in Nagar was jointly hosted by Nagar Arts and Cultural Council (NACC) and Danish Center for Cultre and Development (CKU) Denmark.

Just a week back, the Ginani festival was held at Baltit Fort in Karimabad, Hunza, where the Mir of Hunza and his eldest Shah Saleem Khan had led the rituals. The event was focused on cultural dances, singing performance by Sher Khan Nagri and speeches by the Raja Qasim Khan and Ole Ramsing.

Talking to the audience, Ole Ramsing, the Project Manager of CKU expressed his happiness for being invited to the event and being among the people of Nagar. He congratulated the management on organizing the event and shared his hope for establishment of a music school in Nagar, similar to the one that has recently been started in Hunza. He said that such steps will help preserve the unique culture and music of this region.

Ginani Festival in Chalt, Nagar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan

Mr. Ole Ramsing, Project Manager of CKU, talking to the audience.

Prince Qasim Ali Khan also shared his joyous feelings about the Ginani festival being held after so long. He encouraged the people of Nagar to come out and celebrate the event every year. He said that the event is not focused on one person, instead, it is an event of the entire Nagar valley.

Ginani Festival in Chalt, Nagar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan

Prince Qasim Ali Khan, the son of former Mir of Nagar, talks at Ginani Festival held in Chalt village or Nagar valley.

Traditional dishes were presented to the guests after the event.

Video coverage of the event will be aired on Sujo Hunzo and Danyore Cable Network.

Culture

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. 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 Baltit Fort. The brother who remained in Altit Fort was killed hence Baltit Fort became the seat of the Hunza state.

For centuries, Baltit 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. The Fort was abandoned in 1945

Baltit Fort was abandoned in the mid-1940s. 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. Baltit 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 the Baltit Heritage Trust. An estimated 15,000 people visit the Baltit 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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Chitral

Chitral Youth Forum (CYF) Celebrates Spring Festival at PNCA

Chitral Youth Forum organized Spring Festival at Pakistan National council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad to welcome the Persian New Year (Nowruz)

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Chitral Youth Forum (CYF) Celebrates Spring Festival at PNCA

Islamabad: Chitral Youth Forum (CYF) organized Spring Festival to celebrate Nowruz on Sunday, April 16, 2017, at Pakistan National council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad.  The event was organized to welcome the Persian New Year (Nowruz) in centuries old traditional way.

Shezada Iftikhar Uddin, MNA of Chitral, Mr. Sultan Wali, Managing Director of Chitral Associate and Raja Nazeem Ul Amin, the Chairman of Gilgit-Baltistan’s Board of Investment, were among the prominent personalities who attended the event.

Over 400 families and professionals from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral (GBC), who live in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, attended the event.

A main feature of the Spring Festival was how different countries celebrated the arrival of new year and spring as a whole. Young girls and boys dressed in the colorful traditional attire of relevant countries presented skits. Nowruz celebrations and arrival of spring festivities were depicted through popular practices of northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Iran, etc.

Mr. Shehzada Iftikhar appreciated the efforts of CYF in his address.

“This program is unique and one of its kind that I have ever attended. I am very touched with the performance that showed how arrival of spring is celebrated in different countries and even within Pakistan. I must say this event should be organized every year. I will make every possible effort to put the event in PNCA’s annual calendar so that we could celebrate it every year on a regular basis.”

The famous dance of Chitral, Phastak Dosik, was also presented by young boys.

Later on, famous folk singer Jabir Khan Jabir presented one of his latest songs. Popular singers from Chitral like Irfan Ali Taj and Muhsin Hayat Shadab also performed and brought the audience to their feet.

A skit on how trends have changed over the years was also performed by Chitrali youth.

Spring Festival & Nowruz Celebrations in Pictures

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