for its natural grandeur, Chitral is an ancient and main
mountainous town in northern Pakistan situated at a distance
of 322 km from Peshawar. It is home to some of majestic
mountains, . green valleys, glaciers and snow-capped peaks
including 7706 m Tirichmir, the highest in the Hindukush
mountain range. Chitral district has two sub divisions,
Chitral and Mastuj. Lower Chitral has a near Alpine like
climate, upper Chitral has arid lands though blessed with
glaciers. Good trekking and trout fishing facilities are
available along overflowing rivers and streams adding
to the natural harm of this serene valley. Harsh winters
(Dec. April) make it inaccessible by land when Shandur
and Lowari Passes are closed due to heavy snowfall. During
summers vehicular traffic( subject to weather conditions)
resumes connecting Chitral with Rawalpindi and Peshawar.
For travel between Chitral and Gilgit via thrilling Shandur
Pass, special jeeps are available on rent at both the
towns. PIA Fokker service operates between Peshawar and
Chitral, depending on weather conditions. Located on the
banks of a swiftly flowing river, Chitral is a fascinating
place worth seeing. Its old Fort overlooking the main
city adds to its historical grandeur with a beautiful
palace inside and famous mosque outside. Foreign visitors
are required to register with the police on their arrival.
A permit from the District Administration is required
before moving to the valleys of the Kafir Kalash having
their own distinct culture and ways of life.
Lowari Pass (3200m height) forms the boundary line between
Dir and Chitral. The journey is full of adventure. This
only land route to Chitral via Dir is closed between November
and April due to heavy snowfall. A government plan is
underway to build an all weather tunnel passing through
this mighty Pass.
valley is inhabited by world-fame ancient Kalash tribe
that over the centuries has retained its own religion,
distinct customs. Kalash community is settled in three
separate valleys, Birir, Bumburet and Rambur. The tribe
regularly celebrates annual festivals during which men
and women perform colorful dances and rejoice their favorite
events with lot of fanfare. The Chilamjusht, Phool, Chawas
and Utchal are the main festivals.
or Chilimjusht: This festival is held from 14th to 15th
May to mark spring when girls pick the first flowers of
the season. Traditional dancing, visiting each other,
exchanging flowers, milk and milk products are its features.
Utchal: This colorful event is celebrated in mid-July
to mark the harvest of wheat and barley. The two- day
celebrations feature dances, singing and hosting feasts.
Chowas: Chowas is a festival celebrated in
winter from 18th to 21st December to welcome the New
Year. Its significant feature is feasting and merriment
that continue until the elders sitting on a hill top
and watching the movement of the sun then declare the
advent of the New Year. Later after coming down the
hills, they light their torches, perform dances and
sacrifice goats at the altar.
Nauroze: It falls on 21th March and
is celebrated in Itkuh, Mastuj, and Turikho Mulkho by
Ismails, the faithful followers of His Highness Prince
Karim Agha Khan. Great enthusiasm and warmth is shown
by Ismailis on the occasion.
Jashn-e-Chitral: Being main festival
it is celebrated with great pomp and show.
The date for this event is fixed every year. It has
an unusual attraction for tourists who especially take
a trip to Chitral to enjoy the event. The festivities
include equestrian sports, wrestling, polo competitions,
tug-of-war, colourful folk dances and music by the Kalash
community. An exhibition of local handicrafts is part
of this event.
Chashma (Hot Springs), also the name of a village where
these springs exist, is about 45 km to the north-west
of Chitral. These natural hot springs full of sulphur
are famous for their healing affects on skin ailments.
Great value is attached to them for recovery from headache,
pains and gout. The village can be reached by jeep in
one and half an hour. Its large market has precious
stones and other items brought here since old times
by caravans from Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province.
Traditional “Chitrali Patti”, a locally
prepared typical woolen cloth, is usually found on display
in outside markets.
old history of Chitral, the Museum of Archaeology and
Ethnology is sited at Polo Ground, Chitral. It offers
glimpses of ancient heritage and has collection of historical
articles mainly the Kalash Valley antiquity. The Parwak
excavation in 2003 has provided the first ever archaeological
material of Aryan Graves dating back to 1800 to 600 B.C.
The museum’s formal inauguration took place on 28th
November 2003. The proposal for such an historical site
came from Mr. Shakil Durrani, then serving as Deputy Commissioner
is an attractive scenic town in upper Chitral and serves
as a gateway to Shandur and Boroghil Pass. A PTDC Motel
provides good lodging and boarding to visitors. The beautiful
town is famous for walnuts, apples and grapes found in
midway between Chitral and Gilgit, the mighty Shandur
Pass is about 12250ft above sea level. In winter the Pass
is blanketed by heavy snow, which melts during summer
making it a lushgreen place. Shandur Lake with its serene
waters is on the top of the Pass that can be reached by
jeep from either side. Famous Shandur Polo Tournament
is the most popular festival during summer. It is regularly
held on July (7-9) between Chitral and Gilgit teams at
this highest polo ground. Outdoor entertainment and cultural
events being part of the sports gala attract tourists.
It also provides an opportunity to the locals to display
items of their cottage industry. Food and beverages stalls
are set up. The Sarhad Tourism Corporation (STC) regularly
participates in this annual event and is the co-organizer
of this festival in collaboration with district administration
Chitral since 1995. The STC’s tentage village and
Tourism Information Center serve as good source of providing
accommodation facilities and tourism-related information
to domestic and foreign tourists.
In a sharp contrast
to an extremely cold winter Chitral has a pleasant weather
in summer. Though spring brings incessant rain and snowfall,
the autumn is usually mild and pleasant.
Chitral or Khowar
is the local language whereas Urdu and English are also
How To Reach There
daily flight, subject to weather conditions between
Peshawar and Chitral. The flying time is 50 minutes.
To reach Chitral from Peshawar by the 365 km long partly
metalled, partly gravel topped roads, takes 12 hours.
The route goes via Malakand, Dir and the 3200 m high
Lowari Pass, open duringthe summer from May till the
end of November, which may close earlier in case of
snowfall. Chitral can also be reached from Gilgit by
jeep via Shandur Pass. Permits are required by foreigners
from the D.C.O Office Chitral to visits Kalash Valleys.
There are many private jeeps, cabs and mini buses playing
between Dir and Peshawar.
Main Glaciers Of
main glaciers are: Udren Darband : 30km; Atahk: 24km;
Roshgol: 12 km; Ziwar: 14 km; Unu-Gol:13 km; Chiantar:30
km; Zindikharom:14 km. There are many other glaciers with
less than 10 km. The glaciers still lying unexplored are
Lower Tirich Glacier
Upper Darband Glacier
Ano-gol Glacier which is a more difficult trekking
route starting from Tirich Concordia.
For tourists with craze for adventures of rock climbing
there are some ideal sites. One is at about 22km from
Chitral town at Shasha, on the route to Garam Chashma.
The other mighty rock climb is the west face of Mt.
Saraghrar, about 3000m high and one of the biggest
among the Hindukush Peaks in the Roshgol Valley. There
are beautiful lakes and water falls in these valleys
awaiting their fond guests.
is an old town with an area of 2040 sq. km, comprising
Upper and Lower Dir and administratively further sub divided
into zones-sub divisions and tehsils. Panjkora river passes
through this transit town for taking road journey towards
scenic Chitral. With incessant rains, Upper Dir is mountainous
having huge green forests. Lower Dir consists of arid
fertile valley. Until 1962 before its merger into NWFP
, it remained under the rule of Nawab, traditional ruler.
Historical sites in the vicinity of Chakdara are archaeologically
rich. Its special knives are famous.
a distance of 5 hours from the district headquarter of
Upper Dir town, Kumrat is a scenic valley of much tourist
attraction, with a noisy river raising its natural charm.
It is situated at a height of 8100 feet above sea level
in Dir-Kohistan valley. A metalle droad goes from Dir
to Sheringal while the remaining portion of 50 km onward
from Sheringal upto Kumrat is rusty. Local pine forests
are habitations of a variety of birds including Monal
Pheasant, Himalayan Snow cock. Wildlife such as Markhoor
Deer and Leopard are also found here. For adventurists
the area offers for mountaineering, trekking and rock
climbing. Among the strikingly beautiful spots in Dir-Kohistan
valley are Thall, Lamutai, Seri, Kalkot, Jandrai, Jankai,
Being closest to
Afghanistan Barawal valley, at a distance of 40km from
Upper Dir, is situated north west of Dir town. This scenic
place is comprised of sub valleys, Shingara Dara, Sunai
Dara and Nasrat Dara. The whole area is hub of wild life
with sprawling oak forests adoring the mountains. Fresh
apples, grapes, walnut, peaches, plums, pears, cherries
and honey are favorite locally produced items.
and being an attractive tourist spot, Shahi is a worth
seeing place( About 2300m above sea level) sitting atop
the mountains of Samarbagh and Barawal. In summer season
it unveils its natural attraction. Here one can view its
plain area of nearly 1 km long encircled by towering mountains
i.e. Soorgulo Sar, that brings forth the natural magic
of Samarbagh, Kambat and Mayar.
Places like Skhokas, Rokhna, Shalkandi and Samarbagh present
an ecstatic sense of natural beauty. Distance to Shahi
from Peshawar via Samarbagh is around about 234 km and
via Barawal-Dir about 276km.
Just 20-25 km from
Shahi, one comes across the scenic small valley of Binshahi
( About 2500 m above sea level). The place, inhabited
by its original Mishwani tribe, can be reached from Shahi
on a sharply bending upward going metalled road snaking
through mountains. Shalkhokas Danda, a famous lake adorns
it. The visitors can relish mountain climbing and trekking.
Dense conifer forests are found on the mountains. The
area is adjacent to its proximity with Kunar province
Laram Sar (About
6000 to 7000 above sea level) is a lush green scenic spot
in Lower Dir. The important surrounding hamlets include
Danda, Tangobagh, Segay, Babakhwar, Kasso, Gudyakhwar
etc. Situated at a distance of 21 km from Ouch and about
30 km from Chakdara, Lram Sar is close to Ouch and Rabat.
Timergara, the main town of Dir, is laying on its western
side with famous modern tourist resort of Malam Jaba being
on its eastern side. On its south western side is the
famous historical Talash Valley. Laram Sar can be reached
from different areas like Rabat, Talash, Ocuh and Timergara.
It is also accessible by two roads, one from Ouch, about
21 km long and metalled for about 5 km up to the base
of Laram Mountain, and then an unmetalled portion of about
17km to the top of Laram. The second road goes from Rabat
Bazaar. From Peshawar to Laram Top via Ouch the total
distance is about 178 km. The mountaintop has a radar
system and TV booster.
from Chakdara towards Dir, a route turns to the old village
of Uchh. It is around 8 to 10 kms from Chakdara. One suddenly
finds the glimpses of a Buddhist stupa of Andan Dheri
welcoming visitors just before they step into Uchh. The
architectural grace of the main and other small stupas
is found in the art of stone-masonry of which they had
been made up in ancient times. The sculptures of once
flourishing Gandhara Art, dating back to Christian era,
were found through excavation here at this small town.
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