The Colors of Chitral
The isolated district of Chitral lies in the extreme north of NWFP Pakistan. It is a land of breathtaking beauty. The lofty rugged mountains, lush green valleys, huge glaciers and long winding river make a mesmerizing landscape. Surrounded by the majestic Hindu Kush mountain range, it is situated at a height of 1128 meters above sea level. Tirich Mir (7705 meters) the highest peak of the Hindu Kush also lies in Chitral. The average height of the mountains here is 4000 feet or more and is a heaven for mountain climbers, trekkers and hikers. With plentiful fish available, angling and fishing are other popular activities thus making Chitral an ideal tourist spot.
Chitral is bordered by Afghanistan on three sides (north, west and south west) and has Dir valley in the south and Gilgit agency in the east. Geographically it is isolated as the steep harsh mountains make it practically inaccessible. It can be reached by air through Peshawar city and by road through a number of mountain passes. The Lowari Pass from Peshawar and the Shandur Pass from Gilgit are the 2 practical land routes. Journey in a jeep is recommended as it is safe and you can also enjoy nature at its best. The best time to visit Chitral is from June to September.
Besides its scenic beauty, Chitral is also proud of its rich cultural history. It was a gateway from where many conquerors have entered south-east Asia. The Kafir-Kalash tribe, inhabitants of the Kalash Valley are said to be the descendents of the Greek army led Alexander the Great. They have maintained their customs and culture and by not marrying outside their tribe, their resemblance to their forefathers. The Kalash people are very fond of music and dancing and feasting is a part of their festivals. Some Gandhran relics have also been found in Chitral valley.
Another feature associated with Chitral is the game of Polo. Polo is played here almost in its original form. The game is rather rough and often results in injuries to the players. The Shandur Polo Festival played on the roof of the world is a major tourist attraction. Football is also a popular game in Chitral.
Music in the Chitral Valley is also unique. In the evenings the bazaars echo with the soul stirring sound of Tumba a stringed instrument very similar to sitar.
So if you are planning to go on a vacation next summer keep Chitral on the top of your list.
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