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Himalaya

Day 10: Chitral

Pakistan 
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A boy recites the Koran, which he must learn by heart.
Michael Palin - HimalayaChitral's ageing fort is upstaged by its neighbour, an exuberantly decorated mosque in a central Asian style with onion domes and white stucco, paid for by Siraj's grandfather in the 1920s.

I ask him if it was common for ruling families to sponsor mosques.

He laughs.

'Well, I suppose, like in England, they wanted God on their side.'

The sound of chanting comes from a long, columned chamber off the courtyard. We step inside. Sixty young boys are learning the Koran by heart. They kneel before copies of the Book, rocking backwards and forwards on their haunches as they recite.

A mullah sits at a small table, peering myopically at a text as he listens to a boy sitting in front of him.

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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 10: Chitral
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Chitral
  • Book page no: 31

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