For the people of Artsakh, humor is an integral part of character in any situation. A symbol of their love for humor and joy is the memorial stone dedicated to Pyly Pughi, the court clown of Varanda Malik Shahnazar.
Pyly Pughi’s memorial stone is located in a cave between the villages of Shosh and Mkhitarashen. It was built in 1976. So who is this famous Artsakh person who has become a symbol of joy? Pili Puği is a real person who was born in 1731 in the village of Shosh in Varanda. His real name was Boghos, but he was popularly known as Pili Pugi for his wit and sense of humor (“Pel” means crazy). Pyly Pughi had a great reputation among the people of Artsakh, and his name also reached the treacherous ruler of Varanda, Melik Shahnazar. The latter invited the lovely Pılı Puği to his palace to live with him. This cheerful man bravely criticized and ridiculed Melik’s wrong decisions. This is why Pılı Puği’s anecdotes are mainly associated with Melik Shahnazar. Many materials bearing the name of Pili Pugi are preserved at the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia, the Museum of Literature and Art named after Yeghishe Tsarents and elsewhere.
Pılı Pugi died in 1810, but she still lives on in folklore and is known in all Artsakh families. Her memorial stone in the Hunot Canyon Natural History Reserve keeps her memory even brighter and passes it down from generation to generation.