National Geographic: Remote Gojal in N. Pakistan Where 20,000 Ismailis Live Is Nothing Like You’d Expect

“Alvi, dressed in low-hanging shorts and a Yankees cap, is far from a fundamentalist: He’s Wakhi, part of an ethnic group with Persian origins. And like everyone else here, he is Ismaili—a follower of a moderate branch of Islam whose imam is the Aga Khan, currently residing in France. There are 15 million Ismailis around the world, and 20,000 live here in the Gojal region of northern Pakistan.” — Matthieu Paley, National Geographic, October 24, 2016.

One of the most striking and beautiful group portraits on Simerg is the one below by world renowned photographer Matthieu Paley that shows Ismaili girls commemorating a visit by Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, to the Pamirs in the 1990’s. Paley has just contributed a magnificent story and photographs for National Geographic. See his piece by clicking on the image below or on This Remote Pakistani Village Is Nothing Like You’d Expect by Matthieu Paley.

The photo was taken during Didar (Invitation) – a celebration that takes place on 28th of May every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Aga Khan’s visit to the village in the 1990s. During the celebrations the villagers dress up, dance outdoors to the accordion and drums and sing ginane (religious songs), which tell of him being their Noor (light). The photograph was taken as these girls, dressed in bright atlas silk fabric with crowns on their heads, were going out to dance. Photo: Matthieu Paley. Copyright.

The photo was taken during Didar (Invitation) – a celebration that takes place on 28th of May every year to commemorate the anniversary of the Aga Khan’s visit to the village in the 1990s. During the celebrations the villagers dress up, dance outdoors to the accordion and drums and sing ginane (religious songs), which tell of him being their Noor (Light). The photograph was taken as these girls, dressed in bright atlas silk fabric with crowns on their heads, were going out to dance. Photo: Matthieu Paley. Copyright.

For Matthieu Paley’s photos on Simerg, please click Matthieu Paley: Journey to the Roof of the World (Portraits of Ismailis).

And, please do not miss our last post, New Video: An Inspiring Moment that Will Never Be Forgotten as Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, Blesses Murids in Kyrgyzstan

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STARTING SOON AT SIMERGPHOTOS: ALI KARIM’S SILK ROAD TRAVELOGUE

Later this week, http://www.Simergphotos.com will begin to serialize a travelogue by Ali Karim of his recent visit to parts of the Silk Road, including Xinjiang and Hunza. Do not miss Karim’s memorable post commencing in a few days.
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A scene from Kashgar’s vibrant night market. Photo: Ali Karim. Copyright.

Date posted: October 25, 2016.
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35 Historical and Rare Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan by “Papa Jaan” On One Image

Please click on the following image to zoom on an excellent PDF version of the photo

Please click on image to view PDF file. Copyright Simerg/Abdul M. Ismaily Family Collection.

Please click on image to view PDF file. Copyright Simerg/Abdul M. Ismaily Family Collection.

Simerg was thrilled and privileged to recently publish on its sister photoblog never-before-seen photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, which were captured by Abdul M. Ismaily (1926-1981) during Hazar Imam’s visits to Hunza, Uganda and Pakistan in the early 1960’s. The collection was provided for exclusive publication on Simerg by the family of the late “Papa Jaan,” through Muslim Harji of Montreal.

We pay a small tribute to the memory of “Papa Jaan” for his outstanding photos by presenting a PDF image (click image on top) which contains 35 images from more than fifty that appeared in the Hunza, Uganda and Pakistan pieces. First time visitors to this website as well as readers who may have overlooked one or more photo posts are invited to click on the following links:

Copyright. Simerg.

Date posted: February 23, 2016

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Pakistan Visit 1961: Exclusive Photos of His Highness the Aga Khan, Mawlana Hazar Imam, by Abdul M. Ismaily

PLEASE CLICK: Exclusive: Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Visit to Pakistan by the Late Abdul M. Ismaily (“Papa Jaan”)

Please click on image for exclusive photos by Abdul M. Ismaily

Please click on image for exclusive photos by Abdul M. Ismaily

Date posted: February 20, 2016.

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Special Series — Ismaili Oral Testimonies from the Mountains of Northern Pakistan: (I) A Mountaineer’s Adventures

“…In the Diamir Face, Nanga Parbat is one of the most difficult and technical mountain to climb. Where there is 100 metres of negative incline climbing, and in that wall there are stairs in four places and one has to hang on those places….You cannot rest freely on the climbing route of Nanga Parbat, if you walk for eight hours then you have to stay on the rope for eight hours for having rest. It is not like G-2 and Broad Peak where you can rest, you can sit and then continue your climbing. But in Nanga Parbat you have to stay bent on the rope continuously for eight hours with no possibility of sitting down…”

PLEASE CLICK: Mountain Voices —  Ismaili Testimonies of Life in the Remote Mountains of Pakistan: (I) A Mountaineer’s Adventure

The road to school is full of potential dangers for Shimshal children. Photo: Pam Henson. Copyright.

The road to school is full of potential dangers for Shimshal children. Photo: Pam Henson. Copyright.

7 Key Themes from the Chancellor’s Speech, With Glimpses of the 2013 Aga Khan University Convocation

PLEASE CLICK: Glimpses from the 2013 Aga Khan University Convocation, with a Summary of Seven Key Themes in His Highness the Aga Khan’s Address

Please click for "Glimpses"

Please click for “Glimpses”

Photo Essay: Chitral By Badrudin Kurwa

“The people everywhere were humble, friendly and welcoming. If you greeted them “Ya Ali Madad” they broke out in a big smile and hugged you. At the Jamatkhana in Shogore (and Booni) people could tell I was not a local, and they came one by one and met me without hesitation…”

Please click: Photo Essay: Chitral Through the Lens of an Eye Surgeon

Imamat Day Flag Raising Ceremony in Chitral. Please click on image for photo essay.

Imamat Day Flag Raising Ceremony in Chitral. Please click on image for photo essay.

Historical Photo Essay: The Ismaili Connection with the Town of Amir Pir in Sindh, Pakistan, by Gulshan Chunara

A very small town by the name of Amir Pir is the setting for a photo essay about the town’s Ismaili connection going back 170 years to the 46th Ismaili, Shah Hasan Ali Shah, Aga Khan I (a.s.).  Gulshan Chunara and Salina Hasan respectively provide the text and photos for this intriguing historical piece…Click for Photos

Imam Ali Shah (a.s.), Aga Khan II, residence. Photo: Salina Hasan. Copyright. Please click on image for photo essay.

Imam Ali Shah (a.s.), Aga Khan II, residence. Photo: Salina Hasan. Copyright. Please click on image for photo essay.

Ismaili Women of Shimshal: Celebrations After a Difficult Trip and Other Fascinating Stories by Pam Henson

‘‘When I was 15 there were 21 people living in the house and my friend Hasiet and I had to do all the weekly washing for the whole  family, even in winter. It took all day and I got frost bite in my feet  several times. My toes would turn black. We’d go down to the river  and make a fire to heat the water. We used to burn our socks, trying  to warm our toes by the fire. It was hard to find enough money to  buy new ones with all those people in the house.’’ — Hussn Bibi

Tales of Ismaili Women of Shimshal: Eid Festivities, Celebrations after a Dangerous Trip, and Stories of a Health Worker and a Wood-Cutter

Please click for Ismaili Women of Shimshal, Part 2.

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Previous installment:
Remarkable Tales of Ismaili Women from Shimshal, a Remote Village in the Karakoram

His Highness the Aga Khan – “The Smile of a Prince” by President Léopold Sédar Senghor…and more

Flashback into the 1960′s: Admiration for His Highness the Aga Khan by President Senghor and A K Brohi

“….What we admire in you above all is the fact not that you have a modernised religion, but that you have been able to integrate a modern outlook with religion so that religion has been allowed its true role which is not merely to provide an all-embracing explanation of the universe but also to furnish the fundamental solutions of the problems which life poses us…”

Please click for “Admiration for His Highness the Aga Khan”