Unique death rituals of Kailash tribe draw worldwide attention

Unique death rituals of Kailash tribe draw worldwide attention

CHITRAL, Feb 27 (APP): The Kailash tribe, nestled in the remote valleys of majestic mountains of Chitral, has once again attracted global attention interest due to its unique death rituals.

The tribe is currently mourning the death of its prominent figure and Pakistan Peoples Party worker Durrom Shah Kailash, who has passed away after prolonged illness.

In accordance with the Kailash customs, members from all the three valleys of Birir, Bumborat, and Rumbor gathered in Rumbor to observe his three-day funeral rites.

The funeral rites, deeply rooted in the Kailash traditions, involve a blend of mourning and celebration. While women sing religious songs and perform solemn dances around the deceased’s pillow, men, including young boys, partake in drumming and dancing to commemorate the departed.

One of the distinguishing rituals is the sacrifice of numerous goats, cows, and bulls, symbolizing respect and honour for the deceased.
Family members of the departed offer hospitality to guests, presenting three canisters containing Desi ghee, cheese, and indigenous bread.

Close relatives, such as daughters, wives, and sisters, gather around the bed of the deceased to mourn, while others join in the dance.

The deceased’s body is placed in the sacred Kalash site known as Jastakan, where it lies on a cot adorned with monetary notes and accompanied by cigarettes, naswar, and various fruits.

The rituals, which continue uninterrupted for three days, culminate in a procession to the cemetery, marked by aerial gunfire as a final salute.
Traditionally, the deceased is buried alongside items reflecting their daily life, although modern practices exclude the inclusion of firearms.

Following the burial, the widow of the deceased observes a period of mourning inside the home, receiving separate provisions for sustenance.

Despite the financial strain posed by the sacrifice of numerous animals, the Kailash people steadfastly uphold the age-old customs, considering them integral to their cultural identity.


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