I am a solo tourist biker Yumna Warraich from Pakistan and quite has 3 years of traveling expertise in northern and southern areas of Pakistan. I have intensive information and exposure to many of the highest travel destinations in Pakistan. Recently I visited the Kalash valley and explored the valley of dreamland.
History of Kalash Valley Pakistan and Biography
The Kalash Valleys are home to the renowned the Kalasha people Pakistan, a unique people to be descendants of the armies of Alexander the Great (although debates rave on the validity of this claim). The Kalash are a cultural world aside from the predominantly Muslim population of Pakistan. From the globe and saved from Muslim invaders by their location in 3 remote mountain valleys, the colorful Kalash are animists, Kalash valley faith principally non-Muslims, make their own wine, and have a plethora of different distinctive traditions and festivals.
Chitral set within the Northwest of Pakistan is a lovely valley within the Hindukush varies of Mountains. it’s forever been a very vital route for several invaders to southeast Asia, together with Alexander the great Scythians, Mangol Changez Khan, and numerous others. Chitral is a village with a 1 single street bazaar and some tourist class hotels. At the top of Bazaar on the right (Riverside), there’s the Chitral fort and Palace of Mehtar (Mir Or King) ahead of the Fort is that the Jami mosque of Chitral a formidable design with stunning inlays and decorations.
A Journey to the Dreamland
The province of Hindukush Chitral city is set at 1500 meters on top of sea level and is connected to Gilgit through Shandoor pass and to Peshawar 370 kilometer, from Islamabad 500 kilometer through Lowari pass and tunnels. Chitral has once been a Princely State, but currently a part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. A land of Highest Mountains, Roaring Rivers, Glaciers, Ancient Kailasha culture, Rich Music and festivals. The world’s highest polo ground Shandoor is settled here. Meanwhile, rare animals like markhor are found here.
You can get to Chitral from city or Swat via Dir through the Lowari tunnel. From Gilgit, you’ll get a jeep to take you to Phander (Below Shandur Pass ) you need to overnight at PHANDAR PTDC Motel and Phandar guest house and later continue to Chitral next day.
Perfumed Blossoms Everywhere
It was a beautiful time to be within the valley, the air was perfumed with the scent of apricot, apple, cherry blossoms the air was crisp and therefore the mountains coated with snow still.
Which Kalash Valley to Visit (Kalash Valley Tourism)
Before you visit the Kalash valley, you need to decide which of the 3 valleys you wish to visit:
• Birir – the smallest amount developed Kalash valley and sees the least visitors. We suggest you visit either Rumboor or Birir, as Bumburet has undergone a Disneyfication method, and is a smaller amount Kalash and additional Murree Hills at this time. the percentage of the population that’s Kalasha is additionally abundant lower in Bumborit.
• Bumburet – the foremost developed Kalash valley in terms of facilities and preferred with domestic tourists.
• Rumboor – tiny villages in Rumboor are less developed, and additional popular with foreign tourists. unlike Bumburet, Rumboor remains preponderantly Kalash.
Kalash Valley Culture
As stated higher than, the Kalash aren’t Muslim. The culture and traditions predate Islam by some years, and therefore the Kalash people can best be represented as an animist, though some scholars believe their religion will be connected to ancient Hinduism.
Unfortunately, the Kalash culture is decreasing. several non-Kalash have started living within the Kalash Valleys, and roughly five-hundredths of Kalash people have converted to Islam for one reason or another. we have a tendency to spoke to many young Kalash women who had one friend whose parents recently converted to Islam (automatically making her girl Muslim too). the ladies were still friends, however, the parents weren’t pleased with this, as several Muslims don’t believe Kalash culture and traditions.
Luckily, several of the Kalash people work hard to stay their culture alive. girls still wear their traditional dress, and there are several Kalash festivals celebrating and showcasing Kalash culture. If you intend on visiting one amongst these festivals, ensure to read about responsible touristry in the Kalash valley below.
Kalash Valleys Festivals
If you’re visiting the Kalash Valleys throughout one amongst the festivals, there’ll be many feasts for the eyes. Dance, drink and be surprised at the colorful rituals and clothes on display. The festival times in Kalash valley are:
• Chilam Joshi – May
• Uchau – autumn, typically September
• Choimus – two weeks round the winter solstice
However, if you visit outside of festival time, there’s not that a lot of within the manner of official things to try and do. The valleys are an area to sit down and luxuriate in a touch of nature and spend the hours chatting to and hanging out with the native Kalasha folks. Aim to be told a touch concerning their culture, not check sights off of a bucket list.
Know that if you’re a foreigner coming to Kalash in the hopes of doing a touch of wandering within the mountains, You used to be ready to do many day or multi-day hikes, however currently all you’ll be able to do is walk around the village, up to the mountains encompassing it, and perhaps walk to the consecutive village over.
Stay within the Kalash Valleys – Kalash Valley Hotels
This valley has many hotels and guest houses and is turning into less Kalash and a lot of Muslim by the day. Luckily, there are still many Kalash-run guesthouses wherever you’ll be able to get your dose of native culture. Kalash house is a basic however friendly guesthouse in Brun that additionally offers tenting area, and there are 2 additional Kalash-owned guesthouses nearby just in case it’s full: Alexandra hotel Krakul Bumboorat. Kalash Galaxy, Kalash view and Kalash Continental Hotel & Resort.
Rumboor solely has 3 guest houses, and also the most homely of the lot is Kalash Home Guest House. If you’re driving into Rumboor, it’ll be on your left at the beginning of Grom village—you can’t miss it! surpass the amiable Engineer Khan, the food is delicious, the family is friendly, and also the location nice. Rooms are 1200 – 2200 Rs depending on the season, food is 350 – 550 Rs per meal (for two), and you’ll be able to get home-brewed wine for one,200 Rs per 1.5 liters if Engineer isn’t within the mood to drink with you.
If it’s full, you’ll be able to attempt Kalash native guesthouse, additionally in Rumboor.
More remote and with very little within the way of facilities, we have a tendency to solely recognize of Irfan guesthouse in Guru village from the Pakistan traveler guidebook, the most comprehensive guide for Pakistan obtainable.
Kalash Valley Weather
In winter season Kalash Valley becomes very cold if you don’t like coldness then between April to November are Ideal months for the tour. The people are peace adoring and this is often the most peaceful land on earth.
The climate here is delicate, heat and temperate typically. The winter months are much rainier than the summer months in Kalash. the common annual temperature is 15.7 °C in Kalash and also the average annual rain is 700 millimeter.
Kalash Valley Dress
When it involves the way the Kalash people dress, it’s typically the female clothes that grab someone’s attention.
Kalash men have abandoned their traditional goat-hair tunics for shalwar-kameez, the pajama-like outfits worn throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan.
But Kalash ladies still wear cheos, baggy black cotton dresses brightly embroidered at the collars, cuffs, and hems.
Glass beads drip from slender necklines. Long head-dresses are embellished with regimented waves of cowrie shell and elaborate embroidery, with blood reds, stunning pinks, Byzantine blues, canary yellows and emerald greens woven along in kaleidoscopical tapestries.
Beautiful and colorful wool headdresses cascade to the women’s shoulders. These kupas are full of tight rows of cowry shells brought from the Indian coast. The shells are believed to embody prayers for fertility. unlike several Muslims, Kalash ladies stay undraped and are renowned for their beauty.
No Security Issue for touristry within the Kalash Valleys
The Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government underneath its policy of promoting tourism has withdrawn the condition of NOC for foreign tourists visiting Pakistan when that Chitral is once more receiving an outsized variety of tourists. Among tourists of alternative countries, French tourists were additionally seen in Chitral Bazaar shopping for numerous things.
Now, the relaxation of the NOC condition has worked easy and wonders for the tourism business in Chitral. Local tourist guide said, he has brought a bunch of French tourists from Gilgit to Chitral and security officials haven’t any issue thereupon.
The French tourists told to PamirTimes correspondent that they feel terribly happy in Chitral and like its people, culture and scenic beauty. French tourists said Pakistan is a peaceful country and its people are very hospitable. They said tourists from the world over should return to Pakistan, significantly to Chitral, to get pleasure from the stunning scenery and meet the marvelous people of Kalash.
How to take from Chitral to the Kalash Valleys
Regardless of that Kalash valley you visit, the approach of obtaining thereby transport is mostly similar. Direct Jeeps from Chitral to the 3 completely different valleys leave around 13:00 from close to Bank Alfalah within the center of Chitral. These Jeeps charge 400 – 600 Rs per person. However, Jeeps move to Birir only if there’s a requirement.
If you don’t wish to travel throughout the center of the day, there are shared cars getting to the valleys in the early morning and late afternoon. to search out a shared car, head to the Chitral central bus stand (the part coated area with minibusses and shared cars), and acquire a shared car to Ayun. Ayun is concerning an hour from Chitral, and a seat costs 200 Rs, or 800 Rs for the entire car.
From Ayun, shared cars and Jeeps move to the various valleys once full. They charge 100 Rs per person for the bumpy ride to your valley of selection, though cars would possibly charge a touch additional looking on the day’s demand (or lack thereof). If there are not any transport choices accessible after you arrive Ayun, a non-public rent should value no over 1200 – 1500 Rs to any of the valleys. However, if you wait for a moment, it’s usually possible to refill a car with alternative travelers and locals who are reaching to the valleys. From Ayun, it’ll take one to 2 hours to any of the valleys.
Note: If you’re a foreigner with a police escort, you’ll need to buy his seat, too.
Mobile networks within the Kalash Valleys
If you wish to own phone signal or internet whereas in Kalash, ensure to induce yourself a Telenor sim card. It’s the sole network provider operative within the Kalash Valleys.
Kalashi People Humble Request to Tourists
The Kalash Valleys are naturally and culturally lovely, however, beauty will simply be eroded by the onset of mass tourism. to try and do your part to preserve the sweetness of the world, and guarantee your tourism has a positive result, please keep the following things in mind:
• Ask before taking photos. There’s little doubt that the Kalasha people, significantly the women, are beautiful. However, many women are antipathetic to being photographed (outside of festivals). We’ve additionally detected tensions are growing between the Kalash and outsiders, partly due to the method domestic tourists arrive and begin snapping photos of girls and youngsters while not asking or showing any reasonably thought. rather than creep on the ladies, bond them, speak for a minute, then ask for a photograph.
• Enjoy the Kalash food, not prepackaged snacks. There are lots of native fruits, vegetables, and nuts growing round the valleys. Snack on those, instead of conducive to the sorry state of plastic waste afflicting the valleys. And, of course, collect your trash, don’t throw it on the bottom.
• Drink the native wine and responsibly. It’s poor kind to indicate up as a guest in someone’s space, then get totally shitfaced, loud, and harmful on their alcohol. If you cannot handle and control yourself after drunk, limit your consumption. It suggests that a lot of for those of us who will control ourselves!
• Stay in a hotel/who guesthouse run by a Kalasha person or family. very little of the tourism money that flows to the valleys find yourself in Kalasha pockets, therefore this can be however you’ll be able to guarantee it does!
Kalash Pakistan Map
Yumna Warraich is a 24 year old Pakistani Tourist Biker who has traveled across the country on her motorcycle. She recently completed her M.Phil. in Marketing from National University of Modern Languages NUML.