In the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan lies a beautiful and cultural district known as Chitral. The district is a very popular tourist spot of this country mainly because of its customs and traditions which stand out from other places of Pakistan. Sharing borders with other popular tourist places like Swat and Gilgit Baltistan, Chitral is usually included in the trip of majority of tourists who make arrangements for Pakistan tour. The history of Chitral Pakistan, tourist attractions, weather and accommodation will make you visit this place at least once in your life. The locals speak Khowar language and take pride in their unique cultures and traditions whose roots date back to many centuries. They are known as Khow and are well-recognized for their ethnic diversity. Religiously, however, approximately 97% of the population comprises of Muslims while it is said that Kalash tribes are atheists.
From Northern Afghanistan and Tarim Basin to region near Jalalabad in Afghanistan and plains of Gandhara, Chitral Pakistan has served as a very important trade route throughout history. Given its location high up in the popular Hindu Kush, Chitral remained untouched by the invaders. In ancient times, Chitral was commonly known as Kashkar and historians generally link the history of Chitral with the tales of fairies and a genie who stole the ring of Hazrat Suleiman. Chronologically, the history of Chitral starts from the Iranian rule, followed by Kushan rule, Chinese rule, Kalash rule, Rais rule and finally to Katur rule. Until 1895, the region known as Chitral today remained a monarchical state and it was not until 1969 that it was made an administrative district of Pakistan. Kohistan, or land of mountains, is another name that historians claim for Chitral which was soon inhabited by the Khows. The lowest pass that leads into Chitral is Lowari Pass and this pass is approximately 10,000 feet high.
Culture and Traditions
The tradition of Chitral is quite conservative in which the father is the head of the family. Joint family system is dominant in the region and privilege is given to the eldest son. The Khows are well-known for their respectful and generous hospitality to guests. The locals of Chitral love social gatherings and have a traditional love for music. They regard music as an art and musical concerts are frequently organized in Chitral. Marriage is a major part of their culture which is celebrated with great joy. Every marriage follows a few steps including ‘Wachik’ which is the proposal, ‘Gali Botaik’ which is engagement, ‘Phatak’ which is the provision of meal to villagers, ‘Nikah’ which is the contract of marriage, ‘Ruzayo Angeik’ which is the marriage followed by ‘Ishtok’ or musical program and finally ends with ‘Ghechi Naik’ i.e. bride going back to her parents house.
A lot of events take place related to agriculture and livestock as per the culture of Khows. ‘Jashn-e-Nawroz’ is a religious festival celebrated on the 21st of March each year. A very popular cultural festival is Shandoor Polo festival celebrated from 7th to 9th July and the best event of this festival is the Polo match between Chitral and Gilgit teams. ‘Jashn-e-Broghil’ consists of Buzz Kashi matches and is held from 15th to 17th July each year in Broghil, the last village of Chitral District. Other festivals include ‘Chilam Joshi‘, ‘Uchal’ and ‘Chitirmus’ that are celebrated with great enthusiasm in Chitral.
Things to do
Needless to say, you must attend some of these festivals on your visit to Chitral and witness at least one marriage to know the culture of this place. However, there are a plethora of places you must visit when you plan a trip to Chitral. TripKar.com brings you a list of things to do on your visit to Chitral:
Explore Kalash Valley
Surrounded by the great Hindu Kush mountain range, Kalash valley remains one of the most beautiful valleys of Northern Pakistan. The culture and lifestyle of the Kalaash people are worth witnessing and experiencing. The scenic beauty of Kalash Valley is admired not only by local but foreign tourists alike.
Visit Chitral Fort
Visit the Chitral Fort, a historical landmark built in 1895 when the ruling Chief, Mehtar, died. A range of historical events that are highlighted in the history of the city took place in the Chitral Fort during that era and so today tourists love to witness this place. You should not miss out on Chitral Fort on your visit to the glorious city.
Enjoy the Breathtaking View of Tirich Mir
The highest mountain of the Hindu Kush range, Tirich Mir remains one of the most visited mountains of Pakistan by tourists. The mysteries and stories of genies and fairies residing in this mountain make the journey of tourists even more exciting and fun-filled. Before you reach Tirich Mir, you will come across the last village of Chitral Pakistan known as Tirich located in Mulkow. You can hire a guide or porter from the locals willing to provide this service. The origin of the name is linked to the King of Tirich.
Travel to Gol National Park
Finally, a must visit place in Chitral Pakistan is the Gol National Park. Located beside the Chitral River, Chitral Gol National Park includes three valleys. The way to park is quite dangerous, especially during rain.
Weather and Accommodation
The Chitral weather is quite predictable throughout the year. While summers are usually pleasant, the climate becomes harsh and cold in winter so plan your trip accordingly. Book your hotel in Chitral Pakistan and enjoy the weather as you tour around the region.