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The traditional cap of Gilgit Baltistan has played a major role to define the identity of people of Gilgit Baltistan. In Gilgit Baltistan, the men wear a traditional cap. The cap has different names in the major local languages. In Shina and Khowar languages, the cap is called Khoi, in Burushaski, it is called Phartsun or Pharsen and in Wakhi it is called sekeed. The design of the cap is slightly different in Baltistan and it is called Nating in Balti.
The traditional cap is a soft round toped woolen hat. It is made by a local artisan and is available in various colors. Whitecaps are most popular in the region and considered as part of a formal local dress. In many areas people especially the older generation still wear their traditional cap all the time with pride. They consider it a sign of honor. Whether they are at home in bazar, local celebrations or place of worship they prefer to wear their cap. They will have their different caps for work, a cap for formal dressing and for routine day to day business.
A Feather in your cap
The most striking feature of the Gilgit cap is the peacock plume and the feather stuck in front or on the side of the cap. It gives a very elegant look to the cap. It is considered a part of the formal dress cap and used in the groom’s dress. Very little information is available about the history and significance of feather and peacock plume on Gilgit cap. The feather in your cap term is an idiomatic phrase. It is derived from an old custom of certain warrior tribes. In certain areas and tribes anew feather was added to the worrier,s cap for every enemy slain. Similarly, the same thing was applied to hunters. A hunter was given the feather of the bird as an appreciation. These customs were practiced indigenous people of modern North America, Mongols, Turcomans, Austrian, Scottish and Hungarians. The feather in our cap is probably linked to those old customs of brave warriors and hunters. Killing the beautiful birds to get peacock plume or feather cannot be justified in this modern age. Instead, some synthetic material should be used to save the precious wildlife.