Chitral Valley is a remote area located in the northern region of Pakistan. It is situated at an altitude of 1.128 m on average. The most spoken language in Chitral valley is Khowar. The place is well known for its beautiful landscapes and scenic locations. However, it seems a little tough to reach the place due to the condition of the roads which could be blocked because of landslides. But, still, people come from far places to visit the beautiful valley.
People usually enjoy the journey by road as they can see stunning views of natural beauty during the journey as well. Similar to other northern areas such as Swat, Hunza, and Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral also has many tourist destinations. The most famous places are the Shahi Masjid, the Mehtar’s fort, and the Khowar houses. Moreover, the popular tourist destinations in Gilgit-Baltistan include the Hunza Valley, Manthokha Waterfall, Shangrila Resort Skardu, Shigar Fort, Khaplu Fort, etc. Kalash valley is one of the most famous and major attractions of Chitral. It is believed that the origin of the people of Kalash is Turkish and Persian.
Moreover, another belief is popular that these people are the direct descendants of Alexander the Great’s soldiers. The unique clothing and dance of the people of Kalash are very famous. Moreover, their music is also the specialty of the region. During festivals, their women and old people play drums and dance in a circle. Their dance is a way of thanking God for the blessings given to them. Furthermore, during these festivals, unmarried women are allowed to choose a man for them to marry. It is believed that the values and beliefs of the people of Kalash are so hard that these are impossible to follow.
The most famous tradition of the Chitral region is known as ‘Mahraka’. In Mahraka, people from various regions of the valley gather and discuss the important and serious matters of the region. The people who can join the gathering are not random, rather they are chosen based on the criteria of age and wisdom. Many administrative problems and other issues are also solved in the gathering by the elders from different regions and religions. The majority of the residents of the Chitral valley are Sunni Muslims and there are Shia Muslims as well.
However, it is believed that the people of Kalash believe in various Gods therefore they are usually considered as athiest. They follow very old religious rituals. Mostly the people of Kalash speak Kalasha also known as Kalasha-mondr. However, Urdu and Pashto are also understood by almost everyone in the region. Other most famous festivals in the Chitral valley are Jashn-e-Nowroz and Shandoor Polo festival.
Jashn-e-Nowroz is a religion celebrated annually on 21st March. The festival is celebrated in the memory of the Sufi Saint ‘Pir Nasir Khisraw’ who introduced the Ismaili religion to the region. Moreover, the festival of Shandoor Polo is famous at the national and international levels as well. The event is usually scheduled during summer in the month of June and July. The festival is celebrated on a ground that is 10,000 feet above sea level. The Polo match happens between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit.