Shoqha and Pakul with peacock plume: Traditional dress of Chitral
The traditional dress of the Chitrali people is the Showqha, a loose woolen robe analogous to the Tibetan chuba (A chuba is a long sheepskin coat made of thick wool worn by many of the nomadic peoples of high altitude in the cold mountains). Amongst the nobility central Asian chapan (a coat worn over clothes, usually during the cold winter months) robes were formerly popular, but are now rarely worn. It is multiple uses to keep out cold in the winter season.
The Pakul or Khapol or Chitrali topi, is a soft, round-topped men’s hat, typically of wool and found in any of a multiplicity of earthy colors: brown, black, gray. Before it is fitted, it resembles a bag with a round, flat bottom. The wearer rolls up the sides nearly to the top, forming a thick band, which then rests on the head like a beret or cap. .
The hat may have originated in Nuristan (former Kafiristan) and Chitral. However, its ancestor is perhaps the remarkably similar ancient Macedonian kausia. It gained popularity amongst the northeastern Pashtun tribes and the Tajiks of Northern Badakhshan. It is also worn by many in Pakistan.
There are two basic types of Pakul. The Chitrali style has a sewn brim. The Gilgiti style is worn much like a knit cap.
The Pakul is made out of loutish woolen cloth, locally known as pattee. The pattee is first sewn into the shape of a canister, about a foot or more long. One end of the canister is capped with a round piece of the same material, slightly wider than the cylinder itself. The woolen canister is then inverted and fitted onto a round wooden block. The rim of the woolen canister is then rolled up to the top. The flat-top obtrudes a little over the rolled-up edge to give the cap a tiny brim. Otherwise, all Pakistani headwear, unlike Western hats, is brimless. This is because Muslims pray with their heads covered. A brimmed hat would interfere with the sajdah (an act of prostration during prayers). The little brim of the Pakul, however, presents no such problem. The cap comes in white, gray, black and different shades of brown.
In Chitral, and Gilgit-Baltistan, the white color Pakul is more popular and is sometimes worn with a peacock plume stuck in the folds, like a badge, on the front or the side of the cap. The deep blue and green of the peacock feather, set against the white of the cap, is quite eye-catching. This cap usually uses for marriages and festivals. It is also part of the official dress of Chitral Scouts.
Many national and international dignitaries who visited Chitral also used this style of Pakul i.e. Nawaz Sharif ex-Prime minister of Pakistan, Moin Qureshi ex-Prime minister of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharaf ex-President of Pakistan, Prince Karim Aga Khan spiritual leader of Shia Ismailies and Lady Diana of UK etc.
In above photograph a man in the traditional dress is Amanullah, currently works as A.D.O in the Education department.