Followers of the Ismaili sect of Islam remembered the teachings and legacy of Pir Nasir Khusraw, an 11th century Persian poet and preacher, during the annual Pathak festival held in Garamchashma, Chitral.
The Pir is believed to have traveled to the Garamchashma area of Chitral to spread the teachings of the Shi’a Ismaili sect. According to local traditions, the Pir had performed a 40-day long “Chila” in a cave located in this area. The Pathak festival is held annually to mark the end of his Chila – a mystic, sufi, ritual in which a person detaches himself from the society completely for forty days, and performs special prayers and worship rituals. This process is performed to get ‘spiritual enlightenment’ and ‘purification of soul’.
A shrine has been constructed in the remote valley to commemorate the legacy of the preacher who has written travelogues, books of devotional poetry, and theology. Some of his most famous books include Safar-nama, Diwan, Gushayish-wa-rihayish, Roshnai Nama and Saa’dat Nama. He is also believed to have written a book on Mathematics.
The locals in Garam Chashma area of Chitral gathered to remember the preacher, and to pay rich tributes to him. Devotional poetry, Qasayid/Manajaat, written by Naisr Khusraw were read, and a community feast was also held. The ritual of Chiragh-e-Raushan was also performed. This local level festival is exclusively celebrated in Garamchashma area of Chitral.
The event was held with the support of Hashoo Foundation (HF), as part of a project on promotion and preservation of culture, being implemented with help from the Centre for Culture and Development (CKU).
Photographs: Gul Hammad Farooqi