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Chitral Valley



The Chitral Valley at an elevation of 1128 meters (3,700 ft) is popular with mountaineers, anglers, hunters, hikers, naturalists and anthropologists. The 7,788 meters (25,550 ft) Trichmir, the highest peak of the Hindukush mountain, dominates this 322km long exotic valley.



Chitral district has Afghanistan on its North, South and West. A narrow strip of Afghan territory, Wakhan, separates it from Tajikistan. The tourist season in Chitral is from June to September. The maximum temperature in June is 35°C (95°F) and the minimum is 20°C (67°F). In September, the maximum is 24°C (75°F) and minimum 8°C (46°F).


Kafir-Kalash Tribe



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 jeepable road. Birir, 34km away is accessible by a jeepable road. Rambur is 32km from Chitral, the road is jeepable upto Ayun and the remaining 16km have to be travelled on foot.

The Kalash women wear black gowns of coarse cloth in summer and hand-spun wool dyed in black in winter. Their pictureque headgear is made of woollen black material decked out with cowrie shells, buttons and crowned with a large coloured feather. In parts of Greece even today some women sport a similar headcovering.

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).


Polo in Chitral is as popular as in Gilgit and Skardu. Polo matched are a great attraction at festive occasions.


Permits


Foreign tourists require permits for visting the Kalash valleys, which are issued free of cost by the Deputy Commissioner, Chitral. Foreign visitors also have tp pay a nominal toll tax of less than one dollar per person.


Mountaineering


Apart from Trichmir 7788 meters reigning over Chitral Valley, other exciting peaks are Istornal, Bunizem, Saraghrar, Noushaq, Chosharso, Phal, Daser and Don, rising from 6096 to 7315 meters. Permission for mountaineering is issued by the Tourism Division, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.


Trekking and Hiking


Trekking and hiking in the enchanting valleys of Chitral is a dream come-true. You can take your pick: go by jeep of just walk. Some of the trekking courses are Drosh-Madaklasht-Golden-Kuguzi-Chitral 48km (30miles) and Chitral-Shighore-Sassum-Ovir-Mroi, through areas of magnificent scenic beauty in the shadoq of the Trichmir. There are no regular camping sites but you are always welcome by the friendly and hospitable locals to camp on their lands or lawns provided, of course, you obtain the owners permission.


Fishing


The angling season is from April to September. The rivers in Chitral, specially the Lutkuh River, are famous for brown trout. Golenbol and Shishi Kuh Nallahs are also famous for trout. The Fisheries Department at Chitral issues permits for a nominal charges for every three fish at a time - never mind the ones that get away!


How to get there


By air: PIA operates daily flights between Peshawar and Chitral, subject to weather conditions. The flying time is 50 minutes and the fare is very resonable.

By road: Chitral is accessible from Peshawar by the 227-mile jeepable road which goes via Malakand, Dir and the 3200 meters high Lowari Pass. Chitral can also be reached from Gilgit via the 3719 meters high Shandur Pass. Distance 405km (252miles). Time required will be 25 hours. Permits are required. Please contact Deputy Commissioner, Chitral.


Where to stay


There are reasonably priced hotels, a PTDC motel and several rest-houses.


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