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Pakol (پکول),(also known as: Gilgiti cap)[1] or the Chitrali Hat, is a soft, Afghani round-topped men's hat, typically of wool and found in any of a variety of earthy colours: brown, black, grey, or ivory, or dyed red using walnut.[2] Before it is put on, 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.


Boy wearing a kausia (ancient Macedonian cap). Terracotta, made in Athens, ca. 300 BC

Pakol's ancestor is perhaps the remarkably similar ancient Macedonian kausia hat, worn by men in ancient Southeast Europe.[3] The Chitralis are considered descendants of ancient Greeks. It gained popularity in Nuristan a few centuries ago. It is now also very commonly worn in Swat and Dir in Pakistan and some parts of Kashmir.


The word Pakol is derived from Chitrali Khowar language which means round cap. This cap is originated in somewhere between Chitral and Gilgit. Later Pashtuns of adjoining areas like Swat, Dir in Pakistan and Nuristan region of Afghanistan adopted it. [4] According to the internationally known scholar on Afghanistan, Louis Dupree, the pakul is the regional headgear worn by the men of Nuristan, a region in northwest Afghanistan. Since they are primarily made in Chitral, Pakistan, they are also referred to as "Chitrali caps." In the 1980s, the Pakul was worn by a special unit of the Afghan Mujahideen who fought against the Soviets. Today, they are worn by the forces of the United Front (Northern Alliance). Ahmed Shah Masoud, whose home in the Panjshir Valley was not far from Chitral, as leader of the Northern Alliance, seems to have been influential in popularizing this headgear to be worn by the soldiers. He was assassinated in September, 2001. Since then this Chitrali cap is famous in Afghanistan.[5]

The patti is first sewn into the shape of a cylinder, about a foot or more long. One end of the cylinder is capped with a round piece of the same material, slightly wider than the cylinder itself. The woollen cylinder is then inverted and fitted onto a round wooden block. The rim of the woollen cylinder is then rolled up to the top. Today there are two varieties of cap: Chitrali Pkol and Gilgit feather hat also called Shati. In Gilgit-Baltistan, the white color cap is more popular and 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. Because of the woolen material, the pakol is basically a cold weather cap.

The pakol owes its global celebrity to the Tajik-majority members of the Jamiat-e Islami-ye Afghanistan, and in particular to the Shura-e Nezar group with its core Panjshiri mujahedin who, following their leader Ahmad Shah Massud, first adopted it as a standard item of their outfit. Because of this, several authors, some even deeply acquainted with Afghanistan, have sometimes condoned definitions like “Tajik hat” or “Panjshiri hat”. Actually, it could be termed by the same right,“Nuristani hat” or “Chitrali hat”, would come closer to the historical truth. In any case, pakols are now donned by countless tribes and ethnic groups: Hazara, Uzbek, Turkmen, Pamiri, Gujjar, Aimaq – and French, among the rest in Afghanistan. While it is quite famous in its origin Chitral and Gilgit and adjoining areas like Swat, Dir, Malakand, Hazara and Kashmir..[6]


  1. ^ Blackwood's Magazine, Volume 303.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  2. ^ "Terrorism, power outages hit Chitrali Patti business hard". International The News. October 23, 2010. Retrieved 2015-07-10. 
  3. ^ Ian Worthington, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière Hammond, Ventures into Greek history, p. 135, Clarendon Press, 1994
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "From Alexander the Great to Ahmad Shah Massoud: A Social History of the Pakol | Afghanistan Analysts Network". Retrieved 2016-02-28. 

External links[edit]

  • Willem Vogelsang, 'The Pakol: A distinctive, but apparently not so very old headgear from the Indo-Iranian borderlands'. Khil`a. Journal for Dress and Textiles of the Islamic World, Vol. 2, 2006, pp. 149–155.