Experience Tourism In Pakistan Through Vibrant Festivals

Festivals

The year 2020 was a great year for tourism in Pakistan. Forbes Magazine termed Pakistan among ’10 Best Under-the-Radar Trips for 2020′ listing. Many international travel bloggers visited the country, and presented detailed stories of their experiences in the country, the vibrant culture, the warmth of the people, and the breath-taking landscapes. It comes as no surprise then that the government has also taken significant steps to maintain its position on the listing by introducing key policy changes to upscale tourism in Pakistan. Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation is at the center of all such development work taking place and it comes as no surprise that with such profound work taking place, the tourism sector will only create greater avenues to expand tourism in Pakistan. The number of people going to tourism festivals in Pakistan has also substantially increased.

By now we are all familiar with the main places you can access up north, however, which place to access when and how to maximize your annual leaves is something that everyone keeps thinking about. You can travel to the snowy peaks, the open valleys and the coastal highways but if you want a closer look at the thriving cultures in these places, you need to be a spectator to the local festivals. Here’s a list of all the tourism festivals that will give you a chance to explore the beauty of Pakistan up close.

TOURISM FESTIVALS IN PAKISTAN: SIBI MELA

This takes place in Sibi, Balochistan during February. At the festival, Balochis sell crafts and showcase their culture while livestock breeders gather for trade, display and competitions in this colourfull festival. The locals also exhibit their folk dances and enjoy their local sports while also displaying colorful fireworks. The event’s roots go back to the 15th century when tribal chiefs would meet in Sibi and carry out the same activities as today.

The culture of Balochistan remains largely inexperienced by outsiders and is probably one of the reasons why it remains unadulterated by foreign influences. This festival is one of the most beautiful ways through which you can catch a glimpse of Balochi culture.

LAHOOTI MELO

Lahooti Melo is a festival in Sindh
                                                               Lahooti Melo is a musical festival

This is a festival of music celebrated in Hyderabad, between January to February. It has gained a lot of popularity in recent years and is progressing towards including more female performers. It is a quintessentially-indigenuous music festival that gives a platform to unheard voices and songs. Although this is not a cultural festival, it has garnered a lot of attention from people all over the world and is on its way to becoming the biggest music festival of the country.

UCHAO O UTCHAL

This is another festival by the people of Kalash. Celebrated during August 19-20th in Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the people of Kalash stick to their tradition of thanking the Creator during this festival. This pre-harvest festival is celebrated with cheese, corn and grape while the ceremony is accompanied by women dancing in a circle wearing traditional black robes, headdresses and colourful necklaces, while elders chant legends to the beat of drums. The feasting is incredible, and consists of all local cuisines.

CHILIMJUSHT FESTIVAL

Chilum Joshi welcome spring
                                                                       Chilum Joshi Festival celebrates Spring

This festival takes place during May in Chitral’s Kalash valleys of Bamburate, Birir and Rambur. It’s a festival that travels from one valley to another to pay homage to the Almighty and welcome Spring. The four-day fair begins with Milk Day, when the Kalash people make milk offerings to the Creator for the safety of their herds and crops. But that’s not all! People gather, dressed in their colorful clothes and beads, and mark the beginning of spring by chanting, singing, drumming, dancing, and feasting. For the locals, a highlight of this event is a chance to select their life partners.

SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL

Shandur Polo Festival is one of the world’s most popular festivals as Shandur is the highest polo ground, in terms of height above sea level, in the world. It has been taking place since 1936. This takes place every July along Shandur Pass in Chitral.

Local teams participate in the event but there’s more! Tourists can camp at the village, trek along with the high mountain ranges, experience horseback riding, and enjoy folk dances and music. The locals also set up stalls of their souvenirs and crafts for you to experience the culture really up close.

SILK ROUTE FESTIVAL

This takes place between September-October at different locations on the Karakoram Highway, Gilgit-Baltistan, and has been specifically designed to boost tourism along the Silk Route. Therefore, there is no historical or cultural significance of this festival but is nevertheless a great way to enjoy all that this beautiful region has to offer. You can explore the scenic landscape, unique culture, and ancient traditions of the country’s north. Artisans, craftsmen, musicians and folk dancers gather and showcase their expertise in Gojal, Nagar, and Hunza. There are ethnic fashion shows, photo exhibitions, polo matches, camping and crafts bazaar.

LOK MELA

Lok Mela in Islamabad
                                                                 Lok Mela celebrates different cultures of Pakistan 

Lok Mela takes place in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, during October at the Lok Virsa Museum. It is considered the country’s biggest cultural activity and pays homage to the different vibrant cultures that give this country its uniqueness.

It is always organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage and runs for ten days. Over the years, foreigners have also joined in the festival and many global performers gather to  display their skills, there are also provincial pavilions, a crafts exhibition and bazaar, musical galas, folk dances, and food stalls.

THAL JEEP RALLY

The deep winter calls for a trip to the magnificent sand dunes of Thal in Balochistan. The event is hosted by Chaubara tehsil and goes on for three days until it converges to a Thal Festival. Racers from Pakistan and all over the world come here and take part in this reckless racing event that is greatly enjoyed by all. It has quickly become a cultural and festive event looked forward to by many.

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