Saturday, 19 April 2014

Culture and Tradition of Chitral Valley

 People without the knowledge of their Past History, Origin and Culture is like a Tree without Roots.

Chitralis are recognized by their Sincerity, Love , Hospitality , Brotherhood and their Unique Culture.The people of Chitral and Kalash are also very famous for their extremely unique dresses and dances which they carry out, they are very fond of music as well (Specially the tribes of kalash). There are drums playing which the women would dance in a circle and some elderly people would be sitting on the side and singing old songs during festivals. All the dancing which takes place is supposed to be medium to which the Kalash people thank their gods for everything that the Almighty has provided them with. Women who are not married yet or are single are supposed to find themselves a husband or man during these festivals. The culture of Chitral and Kalash is something which can be termed as “inimitable” which generally means very hard or impossible to follow for other people. In the southern region of Punjab you would find Kalash people who are known to be atheist and keep their values and culture very close to them, they practice it for centuries and it is an extremely old culture. A very important element of the Chitral Culture is “Mahraka”. The meaning of Mahraka is basically is just a gathering of a group of people from the region, and this gathering is headed by a religious leader from the majority. Age and wisdom are the only two criterions which are required from people in order to be able to attend such gatherings, which goes on to show that these are not for just any random person but serious matters are discussed in it and high standards are set. Mahraka plays a very vital role when it comes to the dissemination of ethnic culture and wisdom in the region. A lot of administrative problems as well as other issues were discussed in this meeting of the elders and decisions were made. There was proper dinner and food served at these meetings.

Music is a very important part of the Chitral culture, drums and sitar are played while men get in circles and dance during annual festivals and weddings as well. Some instruments which are popular amongst the people of Chitral are; Sitar, Dol, Sunai, Damama, beru, Gharba.

The people of Chitral are very skilled and they make a lot of hand made products which are then sold worldwide, an American entrepreneur took this advantage and took handkerchief which were made by the Chitrali women and sold them in American earning huge profits. These people are not only skillful but very creative as well.
zholai, pushor tiki, kali, Kawirogh, and lazhek.

The Chitrali music & musical instruments are very famous in the region. folk singers and reed instrument players have a special respect in the Kho society and a must in their festivities. Mainly used instruments are Shehnai, Sitar, and reed instruments. The Chitrali sitar is a popular musical instrument not only in Chitral but adopted in Ghizar, Gilgit Hunza region and by the Pathans of the Frontier and Afghanistan. It is made out of mulberry wood with five steel strings arranged in three courses, the outer ones have double strings, tuned in unison, while the inner course is single. here are few most papular music tone of the area.
  •  Shishtoo-war (Sauz) is popular folk music played with shehnai on happy occasions mostly on marriages etc. 
  • · Shab-daraaz (Dani) is a sad tone based on heartbroken love poems. 
  • Ghalhwar is a combination of Dani and Sauz. This is a mixture of fast and classical music played at the starting of a polo match.
Music is Played during different Events and Celebrations.Some of the Musical Instruments  are
  • Sitar
  • Dol
  • Sunai
  • Damama
  • Beru (Flute)
  • Gharba
  • Barwazi
Chitral Dance
Chitral Dance
Chtrali Sitar
Makinng of Chitrali Sitar


There are a lot of traditional dishes of Chitral such as the Pandir Muzhi which is made from walnut and cheese,Other popular dishes of Chitral are zholai, pushor tiki, kali, Kawirogh, and lazhek.

Some of the delicious local foods that were prepared for this special event include Shoshp (a traditional Chitrali desert made with milk and special flour), Chhira Shapik (local dish made with unleavened bread, milk and butter), Ghara, Shoshpalaki (honey bread), Chamborogh (apricot juice), Sanabachi (salty local dish cooked in butter with a mixture of flavors), Mol (a local dish traditionally used as medicine) and Lajeik (local porridge).

Food is generally prepared by women in this region.

Chitrali bread (Chapoti)
Chira Shapik
Shoshp with Milk 
Chamborogh (Apricot Juice)


There are various festivals which are celebrated in the district of Chitral which people from other parts of Pakistan have most likely never even heard about. One of such festivals is Jashn-e-Nowroz which is celebrated on 21st march every year. This is basically a religion festival which is celebrated in the memories of a Sufi saint who introduced the Ismaili faith in this region, the name of the Sufi Saint was Peer Nasir Khisraw. Another very famous festival held in this region is the Shandoor Polo festival, now everyone in Pakistan as well as around the globe is aware that Polo is played in this region at 10,000 feet’s above the sea level and this is not something very ordinary, ordinary people have breathing issues at such heights but these people not only manage to breath but play in such conditions which shows how strong and immune they are to these conditions. The main event and match is between the teams of Gilgit and Chitral who are arch rivals. This event is played normally during the summer because it is impossible to play during the harsh weather which the winter brings, so normally the event is organized in the month of July annually.

These were the main festivals celebrated in the Chitral district however the tribes of Kalash have some of their own festivals which they celebrate which are included as follows. Chilmijhust which is also known as Joshi is celebrated during the spring harvest season which lasts for around 4-6 days every year. This is followed by another festival in the month of August which is called Uchal. During the month of December the festival of chitirmus which is celebrated with great joy and to pray for a better year which is coming.
Qaqlashth Festival
Bow & Arrow Competition During Qaqlasht Festival in Chitral
Chitral Festival
Chitral Festival
Chitral Festival
Broghil Festival
Yak Polo-Broghil Festival
Shandur Festival
Paragliding in Shandur 
Shandur Festival
Shandur Festival


Clothing has the power to Represent Cultures. In other words, clothing has Multiple meanings and Reflects our Culture.
The People of Chitral Wear Simple Dress Shalwar Kameez , Khapul (Chitrali Hat) Shoqa (Long Coat made of Woolen).

In April 22  Noorul Wahab Saba, son of Noorul Saba, a resident of Moreder, Chitral, won All Pakistan Inter-Universities Cultural Dress Competition held at Preston University Islamabad on April 16, 2012.

Mr Wahab is a student of economics at Islamia College University, Peshawar, and he represented Chitral at the cultural competition. People from Chitral said it was not only a big win for young Wahab but also a recognition of the unique culture and tradition of Chitral at the national level. Such events and exposures would be a catalyst for further promoting the traditional dress of Chitral.

Noorul Wahab Saba
Chitrali Cap and Shoogha
Chitrali Cap
Chitrali Cap and Coat

Marriages in Chitral 

Marriage in CHitral is an Important Event Which is Celebratd with a great Fun and joy. 

Marriage in Chitral
Marriage in Chitral
Marriage in Chitral


An artisan displaying her Handicraft
An artisan displaying her Handicraft

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