Kalash Valley

Kalash or Kalasha are ethnic people who live in isolated Bumboret, Rumbor and Birir valleys in southern Hindukush gorges in present day Chitral in the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.

Way of Kalash Valley, Chitral, Pakistan
Way of Kalash Valley, Chitral, Pakistan

These three sub-valleys are called as Kalash Valleys or Kafiristan (Land of Infidels) because of the unique and proud inhabitants who live there. These people are named non-believer, Black Robe, Kalash, Kafir, Kalasha, or Siah-Posh. These three isolated valleys face the Kunar River. These are small but beautiful, wooded, fertile and rugged valleys. Deodar and holly oak trees feature these valleys. This area borders Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and China.

Women of Kalash in Traditional Clothing
Women of Kalash in Traditional Clothing

These lively people live in small villages founded adjacent to stream banks or on the hillsides. They are very faithful to each other, jealous of their freedom and proud of their culture. They are agriculturists by trade but do not employ modern machinery. They live on lentils, wheat, maize and millet. They herd goats as well. These valleys are abundant in, grapes, walnuts, plums, apples, mulberries, and apricots. They prepare a fiery kind of wine from sweet grapes. Meat is relatively rare here. According to an educated guess, their count is about 4,000. These people live in mud, wood and stone houses. They are four thousand ancient people of Pakistan who follow a culture of their own.

The worth visiting sites are Brun, Batrik, Karkal, Kalash Grom, Balanguru, Acholga, Ghaz Guru, Guru, Aspar, and Sheikhanandeh. Then, there are scared places. Their chief deities are Sajigor, Mahandeo, Balumain, Dezalik, Ingaw and Jestak. As they are lively people, so they celebrate several festivals. Some of those are Joshi (spring festival in May), Uchaw (in August for better yield) Pul (in September), Chaumos is the grand festival celebrating the New Year.

These people stir interest among the people worldwide. Therefore, the list of visitors to this people not only include tourists, but also photographers, missionaries, anthropologists, historians, and sociologists. Regarding their origins, these are said to be of Indo-Aryan stock who had moved to Afghanistan a few millennia ago. Miraculously, they are so amiable to visitors.

The climate here is categorized as Alpine. Summer is mild while winter can be harsh there. On average, it rains from 28 to 32 inches there. The elevation of these three sub-valleys varies from 1,670 to 2,309 meters. These are 32 to 36 kilometers south of Chitral. This distance can be covered in two and a half an hour by an off-road vehicle. Touring these areas requires official permission from Deputy Commission of Chitral at a nominal fee.