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Waxwork tribute to the founders (Photos: Khurram Amin)

Waxwork tribute to the founders (Photos: Khurram Amin)

Lok Virsa, also known as the National Folk Heritage Museum, was opened to the public over 40 years ago. Administrated by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, the Museum is part of a vast complex dedicated to understanding, preserving and propagating Pakistan’s arts, music and literature and includes the Heritage Library and the National Institute of Cultural Studies.

Showcasing cultural history… Lok Virsa showcases Pakistan’s cultural heritage; it is the only one of its kind in Pakistan. Exhibits include ‘Antiquity and Continuity’, ‘Architecture and Woodwork’, ‘Ballads and Romances Musical Heritage’, ‘Ethnic Tribes’, ‘Jewellery and Metal Work’ and ‘Sufis and Shrines’. A newly installed wax sculpture exhibit called ‘Pakistan Monument Museum’ pays tribute to the country’s history by showcasing waxworks of prominent personalities of the Independence movement (including Mr Jinnah, Fatima Jinnah, Allama Iqbal, Liaquat Ali Khan, Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi) as well as scenes from Partition and the Mughal era. The sculptures have been created by Aftab Ahmed Changaizi.

The library at Lok Virsa… The Heritage Library is a treasury of books, journals, field reports and manuscripts that explore the diverse cultural facets of Pakistan. There is also an on-site publishing house with over 200 books to its credit, most of which centre on folk music, poetry and literature. Traditional music audio and video recordings
are also produced at Lok Virsa.

The only museum of its kind dedicated to preserving Pakistan's cultural heritage (Photos: Khurram Amin)

The only museum of its kind dedicated to preserving Pakistan’s cultural heritage (Photos: Khurram Amin)

Studying culture… Lok Virsa provides arts and crafts, music and photography classes to children. Incidentally, Lok Virsa is an affiliate member of UNESCO, International Council of Music, The World Craft Council, The International Council Museum and other organisations involved in preserving and propagating the arts.

A landmark among many others… Lok Virsa rubs shoulders with other important landmarks in Islamabad including the Guns Club, Islamabad Sports Complex, Open Air Theatre, Pak-China Friendship Centre and the renowned restaurant ‘1969’; it is minutes away from Aapbara Market one of Islamabad’s popular commercial hubs.

Traditional food… The quaint Virsa Café provides yet another important cultural experience – that of desi food. The café serves local favourites and offers a beautiful view of the hills.

In a nutshell… Lok Virsa provides a compelling glimpse of Pakistan, making it a must see destination.

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– Azbail Raja

First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on January 20, 2013.