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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Valley of Beauty Chitral Valley

Darkot Village,Upper Yarkhun Valley Chitral Pakistan

History

Chitral town is the capital of Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. It is situated on the western bank of the Kunar River (also called Chitral River) and at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak (25,289 feet) of the Hindu Kush. Chitral is an old princely state which was merged in Pakistan in 1969. Chitral is 365 km from Peshawar and connected through Lowari Pass. The route is closed during winter and the town is cut off by snow from the rest of the country for six months in a year.The Chitral Valley is the historic home to two main ethnic groups, Ancient Chitralis and the Kalasha.

Ancient Chitralis, called Kho, probably came from what is now northeastern Afghanistan. Local legends recall a golden age around the 8th century under a semimythical Buddhist king called Bahman, at around the same time a Chinese army temporarily occupied the valley. Smaller numbers of Kalasha have simultaneously occupied several small valleys, stretching into Afghanistan, where they followed their own religion and claimed to be descendants of Alexander the Great’s armies. Although Tamerlane subdued Chitral en route to Punjab in 1398, even he took a beating from the tough Kalasha.

Shahi Masjid Chitral
The end of the 19th century was the time of biggest change for Chitral, as the region was swept up in the Great Game. The Afghan Kalasha were converted to Islam by swordpoint in 1893, and their homeland’s name changed from Kafiristan (‘Land of the Infidels’) to Nuristan (‘Land of Light’). Simultaneously, the death of Chitral’s first mehtar (prince) sparked a particularly bloody fight for succession that eventually drew in the expanding British empire. Afzal ul-Mulk (son of the first mehtar) seized the throne and set about picking off his siblings in an age-old tradition of consolidating power. As various brothers either fled to Gilgit or sent rival forces from exile in Afghanistan, the British manoeuvred Afzal’s brother Nizam into power, only to see him bumped off by yet another relative. Deciding enough was enough, a detachment of 400 British soldiers was sent to occupy Chitral fort (themehtar’s ancestral home), put a 12-year-old ul-Mulk on the throne and attempt to take charge.

This at least unified the Chitralis, who immediately laid siege to the interfering British. Now in a tight spot, the garrison was eventually relieved after seven weeks when a relief force from Gilgit hauled cannons over the Shandur Pass in shoulder-high snow. This epic trek allowed the British to draw attention away from their badly handled interference and celebrate a heroic campaign of empire ­instead, with medals and knighthoods for all.

Following this debacle, Chitral was left largely to its own devices, although it was transferred in the early 20th century from Gilgit to the newly formed NWFP. Princely privileges continued well past Pakistan’s independence, until being formally abolished in 1972, although the ul-Mulk family still hold much sway politically. The local passes were favoured smuggling routes for mujaheddin fighting the Soviets during the war in the 1980s, and the sensitive Afghan border means that the central government still keeps a fairly close eye on Chitral.

 Regular PIA flights from Peshawar and Islamabad operate on daily basis subject to weather conditions.
This page shows the photos of Chitral district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

Shahi Masjid Chitral

Location

Chitral is situated on the west bank of the Chitral River (or Kunar River) at the foot of Tirich Mir which at 7,708 m (25,289 ft) is the highest peak of the Hindu Kush. Until 1969, it served as the capital of the princely state of Chitral

Languages

The general population is mainly of the Kho people, who speak the Khowar language (or Chitrali), which is also spoken in parts of Yasin, Gilgit and Swat. The Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Although Khowar is the predominant language of Chitral, more than ten other languages are spoken here.

Population

The main tribe, the Khow, speak Khowar. The Chitral culture is Islamic and contrasts considerably with the urban cities of Pakistan as well as the adjacent district of Gilgit. Women are nearly invisible except to their male relatives and other women. They avoid walking the streets of the town, so men or children do most of the shopping. Travel requires the company of a close male relative and sometimes the wearing of a burqa.There is also a small population of Nuristanis, Tajiks and Uzbeks most of whom arrive from Afghanistan seasonally for trading

How to Reach Chitral

The best time to go to Chitral is summer (May to September). You can take a PIA flight from Islamabad or Peshawar. This 50 minutes flight operates 4 days in a week, subject to weather (Flight status and schedule can be checked at the official website of PIA: http://www.piac.com.pk/ ). You can also go to Chitral by road both from Islamabad and Peshawar. It takes around 15 hours from Islamabad to reach Chitral by road and about 7 hours from Peshawar.

Chitral Airport

Chitral Airport is a Small Airport Situated 3.7 km north of Chitral Town.
Chitral Airport

Tirich Mir Peak

Tirich Mir is the highest peak of the Hindu Kush Range, located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Tirich Mir overlooks Chitral town and can be seen from the main bazaar. Its height is 25,289 feet (7,708 metres). The mountain was first climbed in 1950 by a Norwegian expedition.

Tirich Mir

Paragliding in Chitral

Paragliding is the way of getting fast popularity amongst the young generation in northern Chitral, which has one of the world's best launching spaces in the world as some expert paragliders mention it. If the sport will be properly patronized and promoted, then it can be turned into a bigger industry bringing handsome from the visitors and those who love the sport.

(HIKAP) is the only registered paragliding association in KPK working for promotion of tourism and to encourage a healthy sports among the youth of chitral.

Paragliding in Chitral

A Paraglider Flying Over Chitral Airport

Chitral Museum

The small new Chitral Museum is located next to the polo ground. 

Chitral Museum


The Langland's School and College Chitral

The Langlands School and College, Chitral, formerly known as Sayurj Public School was founded in 1979. Major Geoffrey D Langlands, a Briton educationist, has finally retired at the age of 94 and handed over the charge to 58-years old Carey Schofield in 2012.

The Langland's School

Mr Geoffrey D Langlands Founder of Langland School

Lowari Pass or Lowari Top

Lowari Pass (Elevation 10,500 feet) connects Chitral with Dir. Lowari Top is the lowest pass to enter Chitral, the rest all being 12,000 to 15,000 feet. The Lowari Top is one of the four major mountain passes to enter Chitral. The others are the Dorah Pass from Badakshan in Afghanistan, Shandur Top from Gilgit, and Broghol Pass from the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanista. Lowari Top is closed by snow for all type of traffic from late November to late May every year. In 1954, the Mehtar of Chitral was killed when his airplane crashed into Lowari Top. The Lowari Tunnel is currently being constructed beneath Lowari Pass by a South Korean company, SAMBU JV.

Lowari Top

Lowari Tunnel

It’s the first time that Lowari Tunnel remained open throughout the harsh winter of 2011-12. The 8.75 km long tunnel, which is still under construction, was built to reduce the distance between Dir and Chitral districts and ease movement of traffic throughout the year. More than 150 vehicles use the tunnel every day. Snow clearing machinery of FWO (Frontier Works Organization) works 24 hours to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Before the tunnel was constructed, people of Chitral had to make detours into Afghanistan while travelling to or from Peshawar because Lowari Top remained closed for six months in winter.

Lowari Tunnel

Shandur Polo

The Shandur Polo ground is in the district Chitral, and is situated at 72’ 35 east longitude and 36’ 06’ north la titude. It is bordered on the west by Yarkoon valley of Chitral and on the northerners by the valley of Gilgit district.

The Shandur Pass, elevation 12,200 feet (3,719 m), is located in District Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. There is also a beautiful lake in the area. The Shandur Polo Ground, the highest in the world at 3,700 meters, is a venue for a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The Shandur Polo Ground is about 168 Km from Chitral city and accessible by jeep. Gilgit is about 211 km from this polo ground

Shandoor

Shandoor

Paragliding in Shandoor

Qaqlasht Festival

The 4-day long Qaqlasht Festival is organized every year in mid April at the sprawling ground of Qaqlasht, 80 Km from Chitral town. According to local legend, Qaqlasht Festival is being celebrated for the last 500 years. Many sporting teams participate in a variety of games including cricket, football, volleyball, polo, Ghaluzchun Ghall (Polo without horse, more like a field hockey) Sia-Khaman (a shooting competition with an antique gun called Sia-Khaman)), falconry (an event where falconers exhibit skills of their falcons to hunt its prey), tug-of-war, athletics and paragliding. A Quiz competition for students, a poetry program, a cultural show and musical concert are also held.

Qaqlasht Festival

Qaqlasht Festival


Garam Chasma

Lutkoh Valley, commonly known as Garam Chashma because of its hot springs, is 45 km from Chitral town and takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach by jeep. There are sulphur springs which have healing effect on skin diseases, gout, rheumatism and chronic headaches. For the convenience of tourists “hamams” (baths) have been constructed near the springs.

Garam Chashma

Garam Chashma


Snow Leopard in Chitral

Chitral National Park (also called Chitral Gol National Park) is located in Gol Valley and Kalash land of Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. The word Gol in the local language means ‘the valley’. The Park is at a distance of two hours drive from Chitral town.
The snow leopard, an endangered species, lives in the mountain ranges of Central Asia. In Pakistan, their protected areas are Chitral National Park, in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province and Khunjerab National Park, in Gilgit-Baltistan Province. They live at the heights of 11,000 to 22,000 feet above sea level. Their base colour varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts.They have stocky bodies, thick fur, and small and rounded ears, all of which help to minimize heat loss. They have long and flexible tails, helping them to maintain their balance. Their tails are also very thick and covered with fur which they use like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep. The snow leopard cannot roar.

Snow Leopard in Chitral

Snow Leopard in Chitral


Markhor in Chitral (Ibex)

Markhor in Chitral Valley Pakistan.

Markhor in Chitral

Markhor in Chitral

Markhor in Chitral


Broghil Valley

Broghil valley is one of the beautiful valleys located in Khyber Pakhton Khawa near Afghanistan border. It is the northern valley of Chitral and the distance from main chitral valley is about 250 Km. the ethnic group of Broghil is Wakhi the local language is also named Wakhi. The ethnic group of Broghi came in to being with the joint of Tajik, Chinese, and Afghan ethnic groups. They came here for food, shelter, job and new home.

Broghli valley enhances more than 30 lakes smaller and bigger all of them are natural and the water of lakes coming from glaciers and stones. There is Broghil pass is very important passage which connects Afghan and Pakistan borders the impotent pass is called Darwaza which connects Aghan border from the north west. From the southeast direction the valley connected Yasin valley through Darkot pass.

Darkot Pass Broghil Valley Chitral.

Broghil Valley

Broghil Valley


Kalash Valley

The Kalasha or Kalash are indigenous people who live in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They speak the Kalasha language and practice polytheistic religion (Belief in many gods). They are related to the Nuristani people of the adjacent Nuristan (Previously known as Kafiristan) province of Afghanistan. However, most of Nuristani people had embraced Islam by the end of 19th century.

Beautiful Kalash people, having blond hair, fair skin, and green eyes,Kalash people live in three remote mountain valleys: Bumburet, Rumbur, and Birir. These valleys are opening towards the Kunar River, some 20 km south of Chitral city. A mountain pass, located at a height of approximately 3000 m, connects the Birir and Bumburet valleys. The Kalash villages in all three valleys are located at an altitude of about 1900 to 2200 m. The maximum temperature in summers varies between 23° and 27 °C (73° to 81 °F) and the minimum temperature during winters varies between 2° and 1 °C (36° to 34 °F).

The Kalash people have a distinctive culture which is completely in contrast with the other tribes living close by. In their religion, sacrifices are offered and festivals held to thank their gods for the bountiful resources in their area. Kalash valleys are made up of two peculiar cultural regions, the valleys of Rumbur and Bumburet forming one and Birir valley the other, Birir valley being the most traditional of the two. Kalash are much closer to Indo-Iranian traditions, but some of them claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers, however, extensive genetic testing has shown no connection. Kalash people have blond hair, fair skin, and green eyes.

Kalash Festival

Kalash Festival

Kalash Festival

Kalash Festival

Kalash Valley Chitral Pakistan

Kalash Valley Chitral Pakistan

Kalash-Snow-Golf-Chitral Kalash Festival

Chitral Scout

The Chitral Scouts (CS) (Urdu: چترال سکاوٹس‎), also known as Chitral levies, originally raised in 1903 as the militia of the princely state of Chitral, is now a unit of the federally controlled Frontier Corps of Pakistan. Recruited mostly from the Chitral and Kalash Valley areas along the western borders and led by officers from the Pakistan Army. The Frontier Corps of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa falls under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. Its Headquarters is at Chitral town and it is commanded by a Colonel of the Pakistan Army.

The Chitral Scouts have seven wings, each headed by Army officers with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or Major. Its role is to keep guard over Pakistan's western borders in peace-time and to assist the civil administration in maintaining law and order in the district of Chitral.

Chitral Scouts

Chitral Scouts

Chitral Scouts Mess.


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