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Weeklong cultural festival underway in Nagar

An artist performs sword dance at Nagar cultural festival. — Dawn
An artist performs sword dance at Nagar cultural festival. — Dawn

GILGIT: The weeklong Nagar cultural festival is underway at the famous tourist point of Hoper valley with a view to revive cultural heritage of the district and boost tourism.

The event is organised by the local community and youth organisations.

The festival started on Friday (Sept 8) and would continue till Sept 15.

Stalls displaying antiques, gems, traditional foods, and competitions like tug-of-war, folk music and sword dance are the main features of the festival.

A large number of foreign and national tourists and local people are thronging the venue.

Event coordinator and environmental expert Dr Sajjad Ali told Dawn that Hoper valley, which is the last valley of Gilgit-Baltistan, was one of the best cultural and historical points for tourists and researchers.

“The area is one of the few places in the world, which is above glaciers.

Hoper valley is thought to be among the oldest valleys in GB and possesses important cultural heritage,” he explained.

He said the golden peak and Rush Lake were the geographical assets of the valley. Besides the valley has six glaciers, including Biafo, Hopar, Barpo, Boltoro, Domani and Stoptian, he added.

Sajjad Ali said an archeological site representing the ‘Thang Dynasty’ was yet another prominent place of the valley.

“As the culture is everything for the community for their identity, local people do everything they can to preserve it,” he added.

He lamented that due to official negligence the historical and tourist point of the region was not explored to its full potential.

He said the festival was aimed to educate youth to preserve the cultural heritage, including revival of local Brusho language, and boost tourism.

He said the festival was being organised without the support of GB tourism department, the district administration and the local lawmaker.

“The local people requested the tourism department and the district administration to support the event many times, but to no effect,” he added.

Akbar Hussain, another event organiser, said tourism could be promoted in the region through organising these programmes. He said Hoper-Nagar was considered the best place for trekking and hiking.

He said the valley was considered centre of traditional and cultural wealth of Nagar district.

The locals said traditional and cultural activities had been taking place in the area for four decades, but some religious elements had forcibly stopped holding of such events since 2014.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017