Chitral or Chetrar (Urdu: چترال) (Khowar:چھترار) (Persian: چیترال), translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River (also called Chitral River), in Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, 25,289 ft (7,708 m) high. It has a population of 20,000, while the district (of 14,833 km² or 5,727 sq mi), has a population of 300,000. The altitude of the valley is 3,700 ft (1,100 m).
The Kalash are ancient tribe and have a religion and culture of their own, their culture is unique as well as amazing one. The Kalash is famous for their festivals. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash People celebrate three main festivals in a year.
- JOSHIO CHILMJUSHT ( 14TH -15TH OF MAY)
Organized to pay thanks to Almighty on the arrival of spring season.
- UCHAO O UTCHAL (19th – 20th August)
Pay homage to Almighty because of grapes and other ripe fruit. They prepare wine, cheese, corns etc.
- CHOIMUSK (7th to 22nd December)
It is a winter festival celebrated to welcome the New Year. It is celebrated by feasting, drinking and merry making. It is thanksgiving function to Almighty. Winter is full of snow, rain and cold wind. People rejoice with wine, fruit, assemble for dancing, singing and enjoy every event and moment.
How to get there?
It takes about 8 to 10 hours drive from Islamabad to Chitral, one can also reach Chitral by air from Peshawer Airport.
The more popular route by land is from Gilgit- taking 14 hours if all the jeeps on the 5-7 steps of the route are co-ordinated. This route is considered the safer and more scenic.
Another land route is from Peshawar. Jeeps leave Chirtal Mayoon (600 rs) at 4am in Khyber Bazaar and take 14 hours; crossing over the beautiful Lowri pass. As of July 2009 the Lowri Pass has been reopened after the violence in Swat and Malakhand which spilt over onto the pass had been eliminated. Due to a heavy police and army presence, the route has become safe for tourists. It is said that the works on the Lowri tunnel will recommence by September resulting in an opening before years end- should no incident occur.
As regards the Kalash Valleys, jeeps are available in the morning and mid afternoon (8o rs or 1000 for ‘special taxi’) which run via Ayun. Roads to Valley are unmetalled and on one side of the jeep are Hindukush and on the other side is the river. A 200rs toll applies to enter the valleys. Most people only visit central valley Bambore at where there are many hotels & other amenities. Rumbur is less often visited but has a higher proportion of kalash and a greater historical significance to the kalash people (but watch out for the converted Afghan-Kalash at the northern end of the valley who, while not dangerous, are unfriendly to foreigners and enemies to the kalash as the result of them squatting on kalash lands).
PTDC Chitral Hotel:
PTDC Bomburet Hotel: