DESTINATIONS

Welcome to Chitral Valley Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa !

Chitral Valley Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Chitral River (also called Kunar River), in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It also served as the capital of the princely state of Chitral until 1969. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, which is 25,289 ft (7,708 m) high. It has a population of 20,000. The elevation of the valley is 3,700 ft (1,100 m).On its southern boundary lies Dir. In the east lies Gilgit agency and Swāt Kohistan. The narrow strip of Afghan territory, Wakhan, separates it from Tajikistan. The 7,788 meters (25,550 ft) Trichmir, the highest peak of the Hindukush mountain, dominates this 322km long exotic valley. No mountain in the region is less than 4000 feet and more than 40 peaks have an altitude of 20,000 ft. Chitral is divided into small valleys by the mighty Hindukush range.

Chitral Valley Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is undoubtedly the most romantic, captivating and enchanting place in the majestic Hindukush range. It is a mountainous area in the extreme north of Pakistan. The landscape of Chitral is extremely mysterious, with its steep harsh mountains, lush green valleys, beautiful meadows and big glaciers, which have made it one of the most difficult and inaccessible area of the world.The weather in Chitral is extremely harsh and cold in winter while the summer is very pleasant. There are certain famous places and valleys in Chitral like Garam Chashma valley, Booni, Golen valley, Madaklasht       valley, Arandu, Birir, Rumbur and Bumburat.

Historically Chitral was known as an independent princely state. After the independence, Chitral was the first state to declare the accession to Pakistan. In 1970, it was declared as district of Pakistan and attached to the Malakand Division.

One of the major attractions of Chitral are the Kalash valleys-the home of the Kafir-Kalash or “Wearers of the Black Robe”, a primitive pagan tribe. Their ancestry is enveloped in mystery and is the subject of controversy. A legend says that five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of Macedon settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir-Kalash.

The 3,000 strong Kafir-Kalash live in the valley of Birir, Bumburet and Rambur in the South. Bamburet, the largest and the most picturesque valley of the Kafir-Kalash, is 40km from Chitral and is connected by a jeep able road. Birir, 34km away is accessible by a jeep able road. Rumbur is 32km from Chitral.  Their picturesque headgear is made of woolen black material decked out with cowrie shells, buttons and crowned with a large colored feather. In parts of Greece even today some women sport a similar head covering. The Kalash people love music and dancing particularly on occasions of their religious festivals like Joshi Chilimjusht (14th & 15th May – spring), Phool (20th – 25th September) and Chowas (18th to 21st December)

CULTURE

The culture of Chitral bears traces of Greek, Iranian,Tatar and Turkish influences due to its unique location and historical links with Central Asia and Europe.The Chitrali people call the land of Chitral “Kho” and their language is Khowar. Persian is spoken only Madaglasht Valley. Pushto and Urdu have also made their into Chitral. Other languages spoken in Chitral include Kalash, Gujari, Nuristani, Dameli, Wakhi, Kirghiz, Yidgha, Gawar-Bati and Phalura. The tradition of hospitality can be observed throughout northern Pakistan but in few places it is offered as generously as in Chitral. Chitralis also have a strong musical tradition. The Chitrali sitar, a string instrument, can often be heard at many places and family gathering. Polo is the most popular sport in Chitral which has attained dary status. Matches are festive occasions, inevitably many tourists. The world famous Shandur Polo Tournament is held between Gilgit and Chitral every year from 7th to 9th of July at Shandur Pass near Laspur Valley.

Getting There

International flights arrive at Islamabad Airport from many global hubs. From the airport, the easiest access to Chitral. It takes about 10 to 12 hours drive from Islamabad to Chitral. The route is often closed in winter due to snow.

The more popular route by land is from Gilgit – taking 14 hours if all the jeeps on the 5-7 steps of the route are co-ordinated. This route is considered the safest and most scenic.

There are other routes over the high mountain passes; to the south, the 3,200-metre (10,500 ft) Lowari Pass leads 365 kilometres (227 mi) to Peshawar. In the north, the easiest route during summer runs over the 3,798-metre (12,461 ft) Broghol pass. To the east, there is a 405 kilometres (252 mi) route to Gilgit over the 3,719-metre (12,201 ft) Shandur Pass. The territory is cut off by snow from the rest of the country for up to six months a year, a problem soon to be relieved by the completion of the Lowari Tunnel.

AYUN VALLEY

The lush green marvelously beautiful and the most favorite among tourists for its natural beauty; the Ayun Valley is situated between Chitral Town and Kalash. It is sited at the bank of River Chitral. People of Ayun Valley are welcoming and cooperating like the people in rest of Chitral.

KALASH VALLEYS

An important practice in Kalash mythology is the close observation of the Kalash astronomers in the beginning of New Year in December. The Kalash believe that a new sun is born on Dec 21 and the time and style of new sun affects the flora and fauna of the land.The traditional female dress includes a black robe and an embroidered long cap decorated with cowrie shells, ornaments and beads. This style of dress is still popular among local women despite the availability of a variety of modern clothes. The Kalash seclude women during monthly periods and pregnancies by confining them to a place called Bashali. Each Kalash village has a Bashali outside the settlement. The women are allowed to work in the fields but are not allowed to go home or inside the village. Kalash belief is based on the strict separation of the pure (Onjeshta) and impure (Pragata) realms. Women, according to it, are considered untouchable and impure during their time in the Bashali. Kalash houses and monuments show that the community has a rich background of skills in various arts and crafts, especially woodwork and woollen products. Effigies and Privileges of human and animal figures in Kalash monuments are a testimony to their skill. The Kalash have unique funeral rituals. According to their beliefs, the departed soul is eager to leave the body and meet other souls after a long separation. They sing special songs and perform a funeral dance.

GARAM CHASAMA

At the distance of almost 2 hours, is located the ancient valley of Injigan, nowadays Garam Chashma, and could be approached by a jeep, car etc. but better to be inside an open jeep to enjoy the scenic beauty enroute to the area while visiting the challenging and breath taking rocky spires of Shoghore (A village), and if one has the guts then some rock climbing could be done in the area, as it has become one of the favorite spot for rock climbing after the training camps of Adventure Foundation Pakistan for a couple of years.Garam Chashma, famous for its hot springs and the water is perceived for centuries, as a natural medication to cure the skin disorders and maladies, therefore the valley is visited by local tourists as well as foreign during the season. Overnight stay at the valley could be one of the most amazing experiences while enjoying the serenity and peacefulness of the area, especially the beauty of the mountains and landscape may enchanter you. Don’t forget to obtain a permit from the fisheries department of Chitral before leaving for the valley, if you are interested in doing some angling in the Garam Chashma river and want to taste the trout.There are hotels, restaurants where some Afghani rice is offered with some vegetables but when I make an excursion to the area I prefer to stay at hotel Injigan, with a nice hot swimming pool, and the prices are also plausible

Tirich Mir:

This lofty mountain peak is the highest of Hidukush range. Tirich Mir can be viewed from a higher place of Chitral Town (Like roof top of the hotel where you stay) in a clear weather. It can also be viewed from the palace of Chitral’s King. This mountain is also highest in the world apart from Himalaya and Karakoram ranges.

Fishing and swiming in Gram Chashma

Sightseeing to Gram Chashma, Yak riding during Broghil Festival.

Kalash Festivals

The Kalash are a tribe with a long history, who have a religion and culture of their own. The Kalash are famous for their festivals. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash people celebrate three main festivals in a year.

Joshio Chilmjusht (14-15 May)

Organized to pay thanks to the Almighty on the arrival of spring season.

Uchao O Utchal (19-20 August)

To pay homage to Almighty because of grapes and other ripe fruit. They prepare wine, cheese, corn, etc.

Choimusk (7th to 22nd December)

A winter festival celebrated to welcome the New Year. It is celebrated by feasting, drinking, merry making and giving thanks to God. Winter is full of snow, rain and cold wind. People rejoice with wine, fruit, assemble for dancing, singing and enjoy every event and moment.

Governer Cottage:

This is another beautiful building of Chitral. One can easily view Tirich Mir from here in a clear weather.

Barmoghlasht:

Barmoghlasht is a beautiful and charming resort. It is situated 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) from Chitral. It is definitely a place worth visiting.

Koghazi and Goleen:

Fourteen kilometers from the town of Chitral; Koghazi and adjacent Goleen are literally a piece of paradise on the earth. This is a valley of flowers, fruits, lush green meadows, canals, waterfalls, springs, and beautiful landscapes.

CHITRAL MUSEUM

Chitral Museum with antiques, weapons and other stuff from the old times of monarchies provides great knowledge about history and culture of Chitral and Kalash people.

SHAHI QILA

Shahi Masjid of Chitral was built in 1924 A.D. It was built by Shujaul Mulk, the Mehtar of Chitral (1895 – 1936). The mosque is famous for its strong and cultural architectural style.

There are a number of limited accommodation facilities ranging from basic to three star.

Chitral can be reached by bus from Islamabad Peshawar, Swat and Gilgit. The drive takes you all the way over the Swat Malakand and Lowari pass/Tunnel in10-12 from Islamabad.

Very few restaurants offering locally sourced food.

Chitral has a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and cold winters.

Climate data for Chitral
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.3 (46.9) 9.5 (49.1) 14.9 (58.8) 21.0 (69.8) 25.6 (78.1) 31.8 (89.2) 32.8 (91) 32.0 (89.6) 28.7 (83.7) 23.7 (74.7) 17.4 (63.3) 10.9 (51.6) 21.38 (70.48)
Daily mean °C (°F) 4.1 (39.4) 5.0 (41) 9.8 (49.6) 15.3 (59.5) 19.4 (66.9) 24.9 (76.8) 26.1 (79) 25.4 (77.7) 21.9 (71.4) 17.0 (62.6) 11.5 (52.7) 6.5 (43.7) 15.58 (60.03)
Average low °C (°F) 0.0 (32) 0.6 (33.1) 4.8 (40.6) 9.7 (49.5) 13.3 (55.9) 18.0 (64.4) 19.5 (67.1) 18.8 (65.8) 15.2 (59.4) 10.3 (50.5) 5.6 (42.1) 2.1 (35.8) 11.4 (52.5)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 69 (2.72) 99 (3.9) 146 (5.75) 139 (5.47) 69 (2.72) 22 (0.87) 52 (2.05) 56 (2.2) 40 (1.57) 31 (1.22) 26 (1.02) 51 (2.01) 800 (31.5)

Sights

Tours to Chitral Valley Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa

Map