Before Islam replaced buddhism and hinduism in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, complex indigenous religions were practised. Ra or Aftab, the solar deity, was an archetypal figure from whom the rulers of Bolor ( ancient name of the Northern Areas) traced their descent. Spiritual guarantors ( shamans) performed a variety of seasonal religious festivals ensuring the overall fertility of the land and the people.

Different “altitudinal zones of spirituality” have been identified. All the major peaks, such as Nanga Parbat ( 8125 m.) and Rakaposhi ( 7788 m.), are considered the abodes of “clean spirits”, mostly female, which inhabit fairy castles. Below this is the zone of “mayaro”, domain of the markhor ( a wild goat) and ibex, both considered sacred and tended by fairies. The agricultural zone is considered neutral, man’s home. Last is the demonic sphere, a realm reserved for dangerous invisible things; demons lurking near the mouths of glaciers…

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About Rashid Faridi

I am Rashid Aziz Faridi ,Writer, Teacher and a Voracious Reader.
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