CHITRAL :THE LAND OF MOUNTAINS:
I was missing one of my dearest friends, who is from Chitral and that’s how the idea of writing this post came to meJ..she was always talking about how beautiful chitral is and she wants to take me there someday so that I can believe her..i always told her that I did ..but she still insisted that I should go with her.(of course my parents didn’t allow me other wise I would have packed my bags there and then)..but some day I will for sure visit it, as soon as I get the chanceJ
SOME FACTS ABOUT CHITRAL:
Chitral like most of the mountainous and hilly areas of Pakistan, lies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and is at the highest peak of the Hindukush mountainous range “The Tirich Mir” being 25,289ft high.
The local language is the Khowar, or the Chitrali language, which is spoken in 13 different dialects. Pushto is also a common language where as Urdu is quite commonly spoken and understood.(the Chitrali is avery difficult language to understand:S..my friend used to speak to her mother in Chitrali and it was like using a code language..you are completely lost and cannot grasp a single word of it)
Chitral has seen Buddhism and Hinduism before Islam became the religion of the region..traces of Buddhism and Hindu temples are still found in the area.
It is the largest district in KhyberPakhtunkhwa and covers an area of about 14,850 sq km.
Chitral was a Princely state until 1969, it was annexed to Pakistan in 1970 as the New Chitral District in the Malakand Division.
Communication can be made via telegraph, telephone and postal service.
HOW TO REACH CHITRAL:
Chitral is accessible via road from Peshawar (365 km) partly constructed and partly melted road and the best option of vehicle is to travel by a Jeep.
Chitral is connected to the rest of Pakistan via two road routes i.e the Shandur top from Gilgit and from Dir, via the Lowari pass.(a tunnel is being constructed The Lowari Tunnel, which will provide a short and easy access to chitral via Lowari pass.)
Chitral can also be reached via Afghanistan via Broghol and Dorah pass but both are closed in winters.
Chitral is accessible via air and regular 3 hour flight take off from Islamabad and Peshawar.
WHERE TO GO IN CHITRAL:
The beautiful valley of chitral is yet almost untouched by travelers and tourists. Tourism is yet not so popular in this area, it is a place yet to be explored properly.
Some of the places that are famous enough for visiting are:
THE CHITRAL FORT:
This historic fort is standing over the Kunar river and gives a wonderful breathtaking view.(forts on such places are always magical) but the fort is now decaying (no proper care is being taken)and you can see the stone and wood under the once plastered walls of this commanding fort.
THE TIRICH MIR BASE CAMP:
|TIRICH MIR BASE CAMP|
The Tirich Mir base camp offers a wonderful hiking and trekking experience and once you reach it you can enjoy awing natural sights and can do camping there.
THE GARAM CHASMA: (THE WARM WATER SPRING)
At 45 km north to Chitral, at an elevation of 6,100 ft, is the Garam Chasma. Although it is very difficult to reach but its worth the effort. The boiling sulphur springs surrounded by Orchid and verdant and the snow covered peaks you don’t want to miss the sight.
Hamams(baths) have been constructed near the springs as the spring water is said to have a healing effect on human skin for various diseases such as chronic headaches,rheumatism and gout.(I wonder if it really
THE KAFIR KALASH VALLEY:
One of the major tourist attraction towards Chitral is that tourists get to visit the famous Kalash Valley. With their unique cultural identity ,their black robes with colorful bead and feather on their head gears and their festivals it is a must visit.
(p.s I remember PTV showed a drama which was based on Kalash Valley and its people)
CHITRAL NATIONAL PARK:
|A VIEW OF GOL PARK|
It is also known as the GOL PARK. It is located in the Gol and the Kafir Kalash valley area besides the Chitral river at a 2hr drive from Chitral. The park includes three valleys, cold water streams, cedar trees,several glaciers also lie in the park.
It is the safe house for snow leopard, the markhor goat, black bear,red fox, yellow throat ed martin, the Tibetan wolf, Siberian ibex, Himalayan otter and the Ladakh urial.
FESTIVALS OF CHITRAL:
The most famous festival of the valley is SHANDOOR POLO FESTIVAL, in which Chitral and Gilgit are the opponents. This festival is becoming famous all over the world and people come from every direction to enjoy, photograph and camp at the world’s highest polo ground.
SHAN E CHITRAL :
This festival is celebrated from 15 to 22 September each year. It is a week long festival celebrating the traditional sports and cultural activites of Chitral.
Each year the events which takes place are the traditional Chitrali dancing and singing , swimming across the rivers, wild mountain polo, traditional music, rock climbing, wrestling on wooden logs placed on rivers and the display of traditional handicrafts.
WHAT TO BUY FROM CHITRAL:
The handicrafts, traditional jewellery, wooden works, the chitrali cap, the wall hangs, the Kalashi robes and jewellery covers the major shopping of chitral..one of the things that I always asked for from my chitrali friend was the dry fruit of chitral ..it is yummy
WHERE TO STAY IN CHITRAL:
Various local hotels and motels are available and if you are not comfortable staying there, you can always stay at PTDC, among the famous hotels are Tirichi Mir view hotel and the Chitral mountain Inn.
Take me with you if you are planning to go there:D