Description

The Choimus Winter Festival is one of the four celebrated festivals in Kailash, recognized by UNESCO as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” in November 2018. This event is marked by traditional dances encircling bonfires and the rendition of Choimus songs. Women adorn themselves in elaborate attire crafted from cowry shells, coins, and beads, accompanied by necklaces fashioned from apricot kernels, a customary offering during Choimus. Additionally, women traditionally paint their faces with ink, replacing earlier practices of facial tattooing.

Preceding the main festival, offerings of seasonal foods are presented to honor ancestral spirits, and lights are illuminated in their memory. Throughout the festival, purity is paramount, with celibacy observed to ensure participants maintain clear minds for the visitation of Balmain to the valley. Ritual bathing is mandatory for all attendees in the week preceding the festival, while during the men’s purification ceremony, sitting is prohibited for the entire day. Men exclusively prepare special bread away from the central village during this purification ritual, while Jaou or Choimus bread, stuffed with crushed walnuts and goat’s cheese, is prepared for the festival itself.

Trip Itinerary:

Exploring Lahore, Islamabad, Swat, Bumburet, Chitral, Peshawar, and Islamabad.

Festival Dates:

From December 14th to December 16th

Total Duration:

10 nights and 11 days.

What to Expect

Embarking on a journey to experience the Choimus Winter Festival promises an unforgettable adventure filled with cultural immersion and awe-inspiring traditions. Here’s what you can expect for this trip:

  1. Immersive Cultural Experience: Prepare to be enveloped in the vibrant sights, sounds, and flavors of Kailash’s rich cultural heritage. From the moment you arrive, you’ll be greeted by the warmth and hospitality of the local community, eager to share their customs and traditions with you.
  2. Traditional Festive Atmosphere: As you participate in the Choimus Winter Festival, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the infectious energy of traditional dances, melodious Choimus songs, and the mesmerizing flicker of bonfires. The atmosphere will be alive with joy, reverence, and a deep sense of communal spirit.
  3. Elaborate Costumes and Adornments: Be prepared to marvel at the stunning attire worn by festival participants, especially the intricate designs crafted from cowry shells, coins, and beads. The elaborate costumes, combined with the traditional face painting and unique jewelry, will add to the visual spectacle of the event.
  4. Culinary Delights: Indulge your senses in the delectable flavors of seasonal foods and special bread preparations, including the Jaou or Choimus bread filled with crushed walnuts and goat’s cheese. The culinary offerings during the festival will provide a tantalizing glimpse into the local gastronomic traditions.
  5. Spiritual Reflection and Purification Rituals: Take part in the spiritual rituals and purification ceremonies that precede the festival, including ritual bathing and periods of celibacy. These practices offer a profound opportunity for inner reflection, spiritual renewal, and a deepening connection to the cultural and religious significance of the event.
  6. Cultural Exchange and Community Bonding: Beyond the festival itself, you’ll have the chance to engage with local artisans, storytellers, and community members, gaining insights into their way of life, beliefs, and traditions. Through cultural exchange and meaningful interactions, you’ll forge lasting connections and create cherished memories.
  7. Exploration and Adventure: Beyond the festival grounds, take time to explore the breathtaking landscapes, historical sites, and hidden gems of the Kailash region. Whether it’s trekking through majestic mountains, visiting ancient temples, or simply immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings, every moment promises discovery and adventure.Overall, your trip to experience the Choimus Winter Festival will be a transformative journey of cultural discovery, spiritual renewal, and unforgettable moments shared with fellow travelers and the welcoming people of Kailash. Get ready to be enchanted by the magic of this extraordinary celebration!
Itinerary

Upon arrival in Lahore, guests will enjoy a brief period of relaxation before embarking on a half-day city tour of Lahore. Following the tour, guests will overnight in Lahore.

A full-day excursion awaits guests in Lahore, encompassing sightseeing across the city, culminating in the iconic Wagah Border flag ceremony. Following the day's activities, guests will overnight in Lahore.

Travel to Islamabad, with scheduled stops en route to visit the Khewra Salt Mines and Ketas Temple, followed by an overnight stay in Islamabad.

Enjoy a comprehensive full-day city tour of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, followed by an overnight stay in the area.

Travel to the scenic Swat Valley, with a scheduled stop en route to visit the significant archaeological site of Takht-i-Bhai. An overnight stay is planned in Swat Valley.

Embark on a journey to Kailash Valley to witness the festival, with arrangements made for an overnight stay.

Experience the full-day festivities of the Choimus Festival, with accommodation provided for an overnight stay.

Allocate half a day to partake in the festivities in Bamburet, followed by an afternoon drive to Chitral, where arrangements have been made for an overnight stay.

Proceed with a journey to Peshawar, where a half-day city tour is planned, followed by an overnight stay in the city.

Travel towards Islamabad, making a stop en route to explore the Taxila archaeological site and museum. Afterwards, continue the journey to Islamabad for an overnight stay.

Arrange for transportation to the airport for departure on the homeward-bound flight, with accommodation provided for an overnight stay.

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