islamabad - The annual folk festival (Lok Mela), being held here at Shakarparian under the aegis of Lok Virsa, seems successful in presenting the true cultural identity of all provinces and regions including Gilgit-Baltistan.

While visiting the festival grounds, one can see that a unique combination of cultural heritage of all federating units has been impressively presented by the organizers in a professional manner. Besides other provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan is also participating in the festival with the contingent of over thirty persons including master artisans, folk artists, folk musicians and officials.

Among creative craftspeople, Khurshid Nauma is an 80-year old artisan in sharma weaving and namda making from Shimshal, Gilgit-Baltistan. She learnt this art from her grandmother at the age of 13.

She possesses a vast knowledge and experience of over 65 years in practicing this craft tradition. She has participated in many exhibitions and festivals and demonstrated her artisanship. She is taking part in Lok Mela for the last four years.

She has transferred this skill to dozens of young girls in the local community, thus contributed significantly for the continuance of this craft tradition. In recognition of her talent, Lok Virsa has honoured this artisan with “Chadarposhi “ during the ongoing Lok Mela.

While entering into Gilgit Baltistan pavilion, a group of young artists and musicians attired in traditional regional costumes is seen performing and attracting the crowd along with sword and folk dance.

Historically, Gilgit Baltistan has been at the crossroads of various civilizations for centuries. It has a unique location and serves as a confluence for some of the world’s highest mountain ranges - the Pamirs, the Karakoram and the Hindukush. It has also been a place of cultural cross currents.

Living in historical oblivion and geographical isolation from the rest of the world, the people have clung to a farming life, raising cattle, tending orchards and harvesting crops.

Gilgit-Baltistan is home to a number of diversified cultural entities, ethnic groups and various backgrounds. This multitude of culture is because of the strategic location of Gilgit. In view of the multi-cultural and multi-lingual aspects, people also have a beautiful mix of lifestyles and attitudes presenting a pluralistic society living together with peace and harmony for centuries.

The region harbours diverse and endangered mountain cultural traditions. Historically these areas have been aloof from the rest of the world and their life has been revolving around livestock and agriculture.

A musical night to focus on Gilgit Baltistan is scheduled to take place on 7th April 2016 at 8 pm at Lok Mela. Outstanding folk artists and musicians will perform giving a true reflection of the diverse culture and musical heritage of Gilgit Baltistan.

The 10-day Lok Mela will continue with all its festivities at Lok Virsa complex, Shakarparian till Sunday, 10th April. The festival timings are 11:00am till 10:00pm.