|Lok Virsa - Folk Festival|
The largest cultural activity in Pakistan is the annual National Folk
Festival (Lok Mela), held in October each year. Over the past two decades,
this festival has taken on an international flavour and more than 20
different countries have sent their artisans and performers to participate
in the festival. Nationally, the festival has become a thing of pride for
artisans and performers, who come on their own to participate. Most
important of all, the Provinces of Pakistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir put up
beautifully decorated pavilions and visitors have the unique opportunity to
see an assortment of Pakistan's traditionally rich culture in the federal
capital of Islamabad for an exciting ten days.
An exhibition of artisans at work under the banner of the Heritage Museum forms the core of this festival. The Research & Media Centre of Lok Virsa arranges groups of dancers that perform all over the festival grounds, inviting visitors to join in, and in the evening, arranges music concerts from all parts of Pakistan. Documentation of the festival is carried out by Lok Virsa's researchers, who interview all the artisans and artists.
Participants come from all over Pakistan. You would be able to feel and
experience the variety in tastes, cultures and heritage of Pakistan all
under one roof. One may find different pavilions displaying the crafts of
their respective provinces. The Kashmir pavilion may display major crafts
from Azad Jammu and Kashmir like Embroidered shawls, Namda and Gabba (floor
rungs and wall hangings), wood works, basketry, metal crafts and jewellery
The Punjab Pavilion may host traditional food items along with singing and listening pleasures of Punjab folk songs. Punjabi style handicrafts also manages to catch viewer attention.
From the Balochistan pavilion one may expect to get depictions of nomadic balochi life styles and traditional artisans displaying their skills of various Baloch crafts. Leather embroidery crafts and crafts using date leaves are also prime choices of interest in this pavilion. Apart from this one may expect to get a taste of Balochi folk songs and their all famous dish called "Sajji".
The Sindh pavilion may offer depcitions of Sindh life style, village scenes and working men and women. Artisans preparing different crafts and their traditional folk songs and instruments. "Ajrak" a traditionally made shawl is by far the most highlighted attraction of this pavilion.
The N.W.F.P Pavilion features the pushtoon culture, customs, crafts and cuisine. Glittering metal crafts of Brass and Copper are displayed in a great variety along with stalls of traditonally made baskets. Stone carving which was traditionally done on tomb stones is also shown in a diversified fashion which can be used on planters, table tops and wall hangings. Along with this Pathan dancers perform their famous "Khattack Dance" and offer their traditional "Chappli Kebab" for your eating pleasures.
Apart from these pavilions one may witness all kinds of cuisine, musical galas, crafts bazar, lok virsa's display and sale stalls. A richly cherishable experience bound to create a lasting impression.