Lok Virsa is keeping the traditions alive

Somehow our museums haven't been a popular subject for media but Lok Virsa museum is completely different from other museums. Located near the beautiful Shakarparian Hills, the museum validates the link with our past - spreading over a thousand years or more. Entering the museum, a visitor sees the story of Pakistan, the development of its crafts and trades from old to new ones - all at one place.

The Lok Virsa Museum also known as the Folk Heritage Museum represents art works towards preserving the living folk culture and crafts of Pakistan. The three-dimensional cultural displays and creative dioramas exhibit the life style of the different areas of Pakistan. The statues with painted backgrounds seem real for a while.

It has a large display of embroidery, costumes, musical instruments, ceramic objects, jewellery, wood work, block printing, ivory, metal and textile work. Traditional architecture facades exhibiting such skills as fresco, mirror work, marble inlay, tile mosaic and stucco tracery are also displayed. You will also find some handicraft shops selling local garments and souvenirs, at the entrance.

The Museum was inaugurated almost six years ago as the first state museum of ethnology in Pakistan to display living traditions of all the regions of the country. There are large halls dedicated to architecture, musical heritage, textiles, folk tales, Sufi shrines and several other cultural themes. Featuring more than 25 large galleries in four blocks - linked through passages, it also has galleries to depict cultural linkages with Iran, Central Asia and China, making it the finest cultural museum in Pakistan.

Lok Virsa is a cultural organisation working for the collection, preservation and dissemination of Pakistan's folk culture. The Lok Virsa Heritage Reference Library is the only library in the country with the largest number of books and other resources on our folk culture. Another interesting hearsay is that the institute has published over 200 books on Pakistani folklore and cultural heritage, covering all regions and remote areas. Books on cultural heritage and cassettes of folk music are also available for sale at Lok Virsa's Sales Centre. The Archive continues to collect and preserve folk tales, legends, songs, adding to the collection of over 10,000 recorded tapes stored in a library with public access. Hats off to them for this is really a hefty step towards preserving and publicizing our folk culture.

A must watch event at Lok Virsa, is its annual Artisans-at-Work Festivals called Lok Mela. Marked by the colourful inauguration and award ceremonies, the festival features a host of daily attractions, including song and dance ensembles, provincial cultural pavilions, craft bazaars and food fairs of traditional cuisine. The festival provides an opportunity to master artisans from the remote parts of the country to display their skills. Every now and then, Lok Virsa remains in motion for arranging entertaining musical concerts, exhibitions and public film showings on cultural heritage. They are doing an incredible work towards cultivating the original folk mores of Pakistan.

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