Chitrali patti continues to attract buyers from across the country

CHITRAL: The sale of hand-made traditional cultural dresses, pakol caps, waistcoats and chogha (long coat) witnessed a considerable increase as winter sets in Chitral as tourists and locals throng markets to buy warm cloths

These warm cultural dresses are made from sheep wool, famously called as Chitrali patti.

Chitrali patti has assumed the status of an industry in Chitral as women besides looking after their houses also wash sheep wool and extract thread from it with their hands. After this process the threads are converted into patti which is used in preparation of Chitrali caps, chogha, waistcoats and women’s shawls.
The hand-made woolen items of Chitral are famous throughout Pakistan and other countries. Visitors from different parts of the country and abroad take keen interest in buying these items.

Sohaib Mukhtiar, a visitor from Multan, said he had come to Chitral to buy Chitrali warm clothes for his family.

“We have come to buy Chitrali caps, choghas and shawls. The handmade items of Chitral are of high quality and beautiful as well,” he said.

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Shahi Bazaar is the main market for warm clothes in Chitral. A large number of national and foreign visitors come to this market and take keen interest in shopping. However, the people associated with the business of sale of warm clothes complain about lack of support from the government.

Some people associated with this business told the media that the government is paying no attention towards development of this industry and they still have to use old and traditional technique which is a time-consuming exercise.

They demanded of the government to provide financial assistance to the people associated with this business and also provide modern machinery to them. They said promotion of this industry will create thousands of job opportunities and prove a milestone in eradication of poverty from this -region.

According to Twilling Tweeds an organisation promoting Chitrali handicrafts, the main cottage industry of Chitral has been the production of shu or Chitrali patti; hand woven woollen Cloth from local sheep, yak and ibex. It is one of the indigenous skills developed in Chitral and deep rooted in the local culture. Other crafts include embroidery, knitting, crochet, rug making, woodwork, pottery, metalwork, and the making of agriculture implements.

Traditional embroidery used silk thread; local historians believe that silk was introduced in Chitral during the seventh century AD by the Chinese who were the principal power at that time with the local rulers paying them taxes.

Chitrali embroidery to date is carried out by skilled female embroiderers with articles are made for wedding gifts, dowries and other household decorative items. The common stitches used in embroidery are cross-stitch and Satin stitch.  Other stitches are also widely used.

It is alarming to note that the cottage industry of hand loomed Chitrali patti is on decline owing to the emergence of factory-made cloth which is cheaper and finer than the hand-made cloth.

The coarse cloth made of sheep wool, known for its attractive look and durability since long, was also a source of sustenance for a large number of families till 1970s.

With the passing of time, the people of Chitral switched over to other professions and livestock keeping registered a sharp decrease. Keeping livestock has a direct effect on the Patti industry as it provides wool, the main ingredient of the product. The Chitrali patti is an identity of this remote area as it has been named after the district.

Source: APP

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Preparations for Aga Khan’s arrival in full swing in Chitral

CHITRAL: Preparations are in full swing here for receiving Prince Karim Aga Khan, the 49th Imam of Ismaili Muslim community, who is scheduled to arrive in the second week of December in connection with the golden jubilee celebrations of his Imamat.

Aga Khan Chitral

A source in the Ismaili regional council of Chitral, requesting not to be named, told this scribe that the followers of Ismaili sect would have a sight of their spiritual leader in Booni and Garam Chashma, for which two Didaar Gaahs (place of sighting) were near completion.

He said that Aga Khan would deliver sermons at both the venues which would be the zenith of the congregations. He said that invitation cards had been sent to the pilgrims as only the cardholders would be able to enter the Didaar Gaah. The residents of villages located near the venues had already volunteered to host the pilgrims coming from distant places.

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After his accession to Imamat in 1957, Aga Khan visited Chitral in 1976, 1983 and 2003 and during each visit congregations of his followers were held in Booni and Garam Chashma.

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Khosh Murad, a member of Ismaili community from Booni, said that this time the arrival of the leader was being given more importance than before as it formed the part of golden jubilee celebrations. He said that the Jammat Khanas (worship places) in the region had been decorated for the occasion.

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He said that members of the Sunni community were also extending help to the Ismaili community to accomplish different tasks, including construction of the sighting places. “This is a positive development and will promote communal harmony,” he said.

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Nazir Hussain Shah of Yarkhoon valley said that Ismaili people working outside Chitral district had started arriving here to take part in the celebrations.

Source: Dawn.com

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