Tent Pegging in Pakistan

Posted on 29. Apr, 2016 by in Uncategorized

Tent Pegging in Pakistan (APP/file photo from Dawn.com)

Tent Pegging نیزہ بازی  is a sport of cavaliers with roots going back to centuries. The exact origins of the sport are not determined but some tent pegging blogs and websites claim that the sport dates back to 326 BC in the North Western province of Afghanistan افغانستان . It is for sure that the sport originated in Asia. There are two widely accepted theories about the term “tent pegging”. One that it was a training tool for the cavaliers in India. They trained to stab the sensitive part of the war elephant’s foot behind the toenail. This stabbing caused the enemy elephants to run back into their own ranks and trample infantry. Second theory is that cavaliers practiced tent pegging to use it in a surprise dawn attack on enemy camps. Pulling the tent pegs of enemy tents caused the tents to collapse and cause chaos.

After 1947 when newly independent states of India and Pakistan struggled through turmoil of partition and started great leaps forward— sometimes successful— sometime failure for modernization, the game came under clouds because of lack of state patronage which ultimately diversified to more glitzy more glamorous games like cricket and hockey. Public interest in the cities thus diverted to these games of glamour, yet the landlords, bourgeoisie and the rural folk kept it alive. Funds were provided by them, horses raised, playfields maintained and tent peggers encouraged participating; who were paid sufficient amounts to go on gracefully with the game. This has kept the centuries old game of tent pegging still alive even though the competition from the urban games.

For a long time, tent pegging in Pakistan became synonymous with National Horse and Cattle Show which was held every year in Lahore and was a mega event that covered all types of sports and cultural activities. But with discontinuation of this Show, tent pegging lost its patronage. However, the Mela Mandis [cattle selling markets] in Faisalabad and Sargodha came on the scene and the exercise lured other centres and regions of Punjab province as well. At such events, a hallmark of spring in the Punjab, arenas echo with beat of the drums and yell’s of enthusiastic crowds providing tribute to players who then display the supreme feats of valor and competitive brilliance in the field. Players from Pakistan now regularly participate in international tent pegging competitions and many of them have left indelible impressions by winning gold medals many a times.




Basant – Spring Festival of Kites

Posted on 26. Apr, 2016 by in Uncategorized

Kite Flying in Lahore during Festival of Basant (photo from Pakistntoday.com.pk)

Kite Flying in Lahore during Festival of Basant (photo from Pakistntoday.com.pk)

Basant – بسنت   (a Sanskrit word for spring) is a seasonal festival of Indo-Pak sub-continent and it has no religious bearings. Basant is the herald of the spring and celebrated in winter (Magh) on the fourth or fifth day of lunar month. This is the reason why it is called Basant Panchami. Basant season starts on this day, therefore, Basant is regarded the herald of spring, wheat grows, and mustard blossoms in this season. (Old Aryan tradition divides a year into six seasons each having two months. Mustard blossom that is yellow in color is considered the color of spring and accordingly yellow outfits were worn).

The biggest, or perhaps the best known, festival is that of Basant (or Jashn-e-Baharaan) held in February each year in Lahore لاہور , Pakistan. Basant is a Punjabi festival celebrating the onset of the spring season. This festival is celebrated with kite پتنگ flying competitions all over Lahore city especially in the Androon -e-Shehr  (The Inner City or the Walled City) area. The sky is literally filled with thousands of colorful kites of all shapes and sizes flown from rooftops. The kites are flown on strings called “Dorr” which is a special thread with cut glass embedded within which serves to cut the thread of competitor kites more effectively. Some of the kite-flying competitions get extremely competitive and serious. Women, on this day are seen wearing bright yellow dresses. This festival has gained more and more importance over the years and now attracts people from all over the world.

Basant celebrations have reached the point that invitation cards are printed out. It is celebrated on different days in the country so that the spirit of Basant is kept alive nationwide and people can participate in it on a national scale. Reputed hotels have their rooftops booked for the whole night. The whole night is spent in flying kites, dancing, singing with music blaring on loudspeakers in the background.


Basant – بسنت 

Lahore – لاہور

kite – Patang پتنگ 


Faisal Mosque

Posted on 22. Apr, 2016 by in Uncategorized

Faisal Mosque, Islamabad

Faisal Mosque, Islamabad

The friendship and relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are time tested and extremely friendly. These relations rose to their zenith during the reign of King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz Al, whose whole hearted and outright support to Pakistan earned him a special place not only in the official quarters but even down to the common man anywhere in Pakistan. Shah Faisal in his lifetime has decided to gift a mosque to be built in Islamabad, Pakistan as a landmark of the Islamic Ummah and love for Pakistani people. The late King Faisal of Saudi Arabia during his visit to Islamabad in 1966 liked the idea of the construction of a grand Mosque as well as the site and offered to bear the expenditure of the Grand National Mosque Project. Later in 1975, upon his tragic death, it was unanimously decided to name as Shah Faisal Mosque to honor a great friend of Pakistan. In fact Fasial Mosque has immortalized the Pakistan-Saudi friendship. Building work started in 1976, costing approximately 130 million Saudi Riyals. The mosque covers an area of 53,821 square feet [5,000 sq m] and can accommodate 10,000 worshipers and a further 40,000 in the adjacent squares.

Upon entering Islamabad from the Zero Point, one is overawed with the first glimpse of the massive structure at the end of Shahrah-e-Islamabad, against the backdrop of the picturesque Margalla Hills. This placement defines its importance, positioning it on elevated terraced land ensures its visibility during day and night for miles around. Its tent like structure was designed by renowned Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay, elected through an international competition. Instead of traditional domes usually associated with mosques, the main prayer hall is an eight faceted concrete shell representative of a desert tent. An impressive engineering feat, the shell reaches a height of 131′- 3″ (40m) and is supported on four giant concrete girders. The surface is faced in white marble and decorated inside with mosaics and a spectacular Turkish style chandelier

It is considered to be one of the largest mosques in the world and largest in the subcontinent. The interior of this prayer hall holds a very large chandelier and its walls are decorated with mosaics and calligraphy by the famous Pakistani artist Gulgee and Sadequain. The mosque presents a picturesque landscape when seen from the Daman-e-Koh located on the Margalla Mountain or from the Islamabad view point at the Shakarparrian Hills near the Zero Point. The mosque also presents a breathtaking view when decorated with illuminations.


Mosque – Masjid مسجد

Pakistan – پاکستان

Saudi Arabia – سعودی عرب

King – Baadshah بادشاہ