Cladded in mud made from varying ratios of clay, loam, and silt, this hut uses dried straw as a roof. Two tiny windows adjacent to each other exercise the purpose of ventilation thereby keeping the inside of the hut cool and breezy despite the dry and arid weather of areas where it’s used. This model hut is a sample for all those who have not been to Tharparkar yet.
A few steps ahead you can see another model house. Constructed with mud yet again, this one has a courtyard. In a typical Punjabi rural house, the courtyard makes an important architectural design element. It is the hub of all activities. Children play, women cook, pets graze, and in summers, the entire family sleeps here.
A mud and stone house with dummy men and women draped in traditional Baluchi dresses will give you an insight of life in the rural areas of Baluchistan. Not only is the present architecture depicted in the galleries of this heritage museum, but the past is also preserved. An exquisitely carved wooden door will give you a sneak peek in the Mughlai Dor. These doors not only served security but also uplifted and complimented the intricate interior of the Mughlai palaces.
To your west, you can see four arches looming over, each representing one of the four provinces. It stands tall symbolizing the unity of Pakistani people. How, despite having differences in our culture we still accept and support each other. Despite speaking different languages, we have no communication barriers. This Pakistan Monument Museum pays a tribute to our national heroes. Those who sacrificed their lives to make us what we are today. It portrays freedom, struggle, and patriotism. The museum has its auditorium library and an audio-visual archive.
Goal and objective:
The main objective of the heritage museum as quoted by the authority itself is “to create a treasure house for the nation more valuable than the vault of any bank in the world.”
In today’s globalized society with foreigners living next door, intercultural marriages being common, and youth being heavily influenced by the western culture, preservation of local traditions has become more of a necessity. Especially in a metropolitan city like Islamabad where it is located, there is a high chance that this museum is the only source of exposure to our raw national values. Visitors are often found to remark positively on their experience in the museum and how it gives their children a chance to learn about the culture and tradition of all the provinces of Pakistan whilst being in Islamabad.
Moving forward, the gallery “pottery through ages” displays pots, pitchers, stoves, and grain containers from ancient to modern times. In another alley, famous folk romances like Heer Ranjha and Sohni Mahiwal are portrayed. One other is stocked well with traditional attires from all our provinces. There is also a galley dedicated to music! Folk songs, poetry, classics, and musical instruments are played there setting up an aura of pleasure that cannot be experienced elsewhere.
If you think Lok Virsa is just limited to the heritage museum, you are wrong. A well-equipped media center works on preserving our musical and cultural heritage. It conducts village to village surveys and observes their folks and traditions. Regardless of the magnitude, every event is recorded. So far fifty-one documentaries and three thousand hours of audio editing have been produced.
A vast space dedicated to collect our folklore and cultural heritage, the heritage library is accessible to everyone. Whether you are a research student or just an enthusiast, the thirty-two thousand books sitting on the shelves of this library cover every little detail you would want to know. There are also present the two hundred books published by the research center of Lok Virsa itself.
This is the place devoted to carrying field surveys, collect raw data, and refine it to information which is then preserved for present and future generations. It publishes books in series such as songs, romances, epics, entertainment, and poetry. What else is great is that the center of the publication produces books in our national language thus reviving the essence of Urdu which is at a danger of extinction. “Baluchistan ki Lok kahanian”, “The bazaar of storytellers”, “Waris shah” and “Chitral k lok geet” are just a few of their famous publications.
Be it wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, children games, books, folk music, poetry, or oral practices. The minutest details of traditions, ranging from our mainstream events to those practiced rarely by small tribes, there’s nothing left undocumented. A walk-in Lok Virsa is like taking a stroll in every narrow alley of the country.