Islamabad: 'Lok Mela' by Lok Virsa is an opportunity for Pakistanis and foreigners to experience the diverse and vibrant cultures of the country’s four provinces and regions in a day during the 10 days of the annual folk festival organized in Islamabad.
Lok Virsa, the National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage which has a prime directive to preserve, document and promote Pakistan’s cultural heritage has been organizing this festival on its premises for decades in the hills of Shakarparian park. The fair kicked off on Friday and is scheduled to end on November 24.
Colorful pavilions representing Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu & Kashmir are exhibiting their respective cuisines, indigenous folk music, songs, dances, attire, crafts, and artisans have been a treat for visitors arriving in droves to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the cultural elements.
Each night the festival premieres a special musical event of a province or a ceremony with live performances or a theatrical show. For children’s entertainment, the organizers have set up a limited time period puppet show. The craft bazaar and dance performances would be enough to keep visitors occupied with enjoyment.
Several stalls, many managed by female artisans demonstrated the contribution of women in Pakistan’s economic process.
At the Baluchistan pavilion, craftswoman Aziz Fatima demonstrated her skills in Balochi embroidery, a centuries-old tradition she continues taught by her mother which Fatima intends to preserve by teaching girls in her community.
Lacquer artisan, Farhat Bibi from D.I. Khan showed her skills on how to protect woodwork and add designs by applying layers of the coating in different colors while the material is rotated on a simple wooden lathe machine. In the process, patterns are etched on the surface using a thick iron needle exposing each color as per requirements.
Ameer Bukhsh from Kahror Pacca, Punjab showed his skills in Woodblock pattern using natural dye, a historical-artistic designing technique originating from the lower Indus valley around southern Punjab and most of Sindh. Bukhsh has imparted his textile craft training to family members and other artisans.
There are multiple attractions for visitors to keep people from all walks of life entertained and engaged. Arab News captured the moments to give a glimpse of the country’s cultural colors festival.