With a lot of theories surrounding the Kalash People, Kalasha Valleys are the most diverse region of Pakistan. Kalasha Valleys, the hometown of Pakistan’s smallest ethnic and religious group, is located in northern areas of the country. The Kalash People follow some unique cultural, social and religious patterns, opposing the Popular Culture of Pakistan. There are three main valleys of the Kalash people; Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir, located in the Chitral district. Bumburet is the largest of the three. The Kalash people follow an ancient form of Hinduism. They are living in the historical region known as Kafiristan for centuries. They speak “Kalasha” language. But their ethnicity is still a matter of dispute as according to some theories, they are the descendants of Alexander and according to other theories, they are ethnically Albanian. Currently, the facilities for the tourists are increasing day by day due to the rapid boost in the tourism industry of the Kalasha Valleys, which is providing employment opportunities to the local population. So, take a break from your daily routine work and visit Beautiful Kalash Valley.
As the climate of Pakistan is hot and humid, these valleys attract thousands of tourists from whole Pakistan as a summer destination. At a height of 2000 m above sea level, Kalasha Valleys are relatively cold in summer as compared to other parts of Pakistan. The summer temperatures range from 23 to 27 degree Celsius. The winter is very cold and temperatures range from 1 to 2 degree Celsius. The average yearly precipitation is 700-800 mm, more than most regions of Pakistan.
2- Marriage Traditions
Girls are married early and they are free to choose their life partners. Females have a special right to change their husband at will. The female who wants to change his husband writes a letter to the man she wants to marry. If the man agrees, he will pay double the amount of money the previous husband has paid to marry that woman.
3- Joshi Festival
Joshi Festival is celebrated in end of May. According to Kalash traditions, the deity “Goshidai” protects the herds, So, Joshi festival is celebrated to thank the deity. People start to preserve milk ten days before the festival and offer libations on the first day of the festival. On the festivals of Kalash people, women are not separated from men and both genders participate in a joint environment. This festival attracts many tourists from different parts of Pakistan and the world.
4- Colorful Outfits
The dress of the Kalash women is considered as their unique feature. The wear long black robes with colorful patterns. Cowrie Shells, attached with long black robes, adds to the beauty of their dress. The Kalash men do not wear a traditional dress and usually wears the Pakistan Shalwar Kameez.
5- Do Some Genetic Research
Different groups of researchers have already done research on the disputed genetic origin of Kalash people. But most of them rejected their linkage with Alexander and Greeks. Some of them links the genetic makeup of Kalash people with west European genetic lineage and others have linked them with Indo-Iranian lineage. So, if your field of interest is genetics or molecular biology, you can organize a genetic research on Kalash people. So, come here with your research team, live here for weeks, take the samples and do some analysis.
6- Unique Kalash Language
If you have a taste for languages, you can visit Kalasha Valleys, live with the people having some unique traditions and a unique language, try to learn the language and enjoy some days free of everyday tensions. The Kalash language belongs to Chitral sub-group of the Indo-Aryan branch, which is a part of the Indo-European family.
7- Chawmos Festival
The festival of Chawmos is celebrated in winter for a duration of two weeks, in the month of Chawmos mastruk according to Kalash Calander. This festival officially ends the field work and harvest of that year. This is celebrated in order to give thanks to a diety named as “balumain”, who is considered to visit the Kalash people for the duration of the festival. Food sacrifices are offered along with some music and dance. At this festival, impure people are made pure by fire rituals. Kalash people form a chain by joining hands. Men wear the dress of women and women wear the dress of their male counterparts. The impure men sings the passionate songs and the pure men sings the songs of honour.
8- Natural Beauty
The fascinating beauty of Kalasha valleys attracts thousands of tourists each year. It includes the high altitude mountains, oak forests, Kunar River and the fertile land used for agriculture. Wheat and maize are the main crops. The fertile soil produces a variety of fruits including apricot, grapes, walnuts and apples. The traditional houses adds to the beauty of the valley.
9- The Cultural Diversity of Pakistan
If you love to see new and diverse things, then Kalash valley will provide you with an opportunity to see the cultural diversity of Pakistan. You will see an ancient Indo-Iranian culture with centuries old traditions, rituals and customs.
10- Ancient Religion
The Kalash people still follows an ancient form of Hinduism. They sacrifice goats for their deities, which are numerous. Although, most of the people of the historical Kafiristan region including Nuristan of Afghanistan and Kalasha Valleys of Pakistan, have converted to Islam, but still there is a small population of the Kalash people following their century’s old traditions. Currently, they are around 3000 in number. Since the last decade, their number is almost doubled due to the protection provided by the Pakistani government. They celebrate three main festivals to give thanks to their deities; Joshi Festival to give thanks to “goshidai” diety, which is supposed to protect the herds, Chawmos Festival to give thanks to “balumain”, which is supposed to visit the valley in the winter. Uchau is another festival celebrated in autumn. The Kalash people gives sacrifices, and dance with some music on these festivals.
10 Reasons to Visit Beautiful Kalash Valley Pakistan
- Cool Climate
- Marriage Traditions
- Joshi Festival
- Colorful Outfits
- Do Some Genetic Research
- Unique Kalash Language
- Chawmos Festival
- Natural Beauty
- Cultural Diversity of Pakistan
- Ancient Religion