ISLAMABAD: The four-day annual Kailash Spring Festival — known local as Chilam Joshi — will be held from May 12 in the scenic Kailash valley. The Kailash people celebrate the four-day spring festival across all three of Kailash valleys of Rumbur, Bumburet and Birir. A large number of domestic and foreign tourists are expected to attend the festival. Chilam Joshi begins with “milk day”, when milk, stored for ten days before the festival begins, is brought out. On the day of the festival, the Kailash people offer their respects. The festival reflects their unique culture, the harmony in their society and message of peace to the world. They ask for blessings from God and pray for a prosperous year of agriculture and health and safety of their herds. The main objective of the festival is that Kailashi men and women can find partners and get married. The women wear traditional attire decked in lively colours and a striking headgear decorated with flowers on it. They wear beaded necklaces which compliments their dresses and headgears. Men wear traditional Shalwar Kameez with a waistcoat made of wool. Much of the dancing takes place in large circles around a bonfire and people chant with mesmerizing repetitions – with just a drum beat accompanying the voices. The girls wear intricate dresses made of cowry shells, coins and beads with beautiful hair braiding and headwear. Each headdress weighs several kilogrammes and is presented to a girl by her uncle. The jewellery includes necklaces made from apricot kernels, a traditional gift during the festivals.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2018.