Valley, Kafir People
of the major attractions of Chitral are the Kalash valleys- the home
of the Kafir-Kalash or "Wearers of the Black Robes", a primitive
pagan tribe. Their ancestry is enveloped in mystery and is the
subject of controversy. A legend says that five soldiers of the
legions of Alexander of Macedonia settled in Chitral and are the
progenitors of the Kafir-Kalash.
Over 3,000-strong Kafir-Kalash live in the valley of Birir, Bumburet
and Rambur, south of Chitral. Bumburet, the largest and the most
picturesque valley of the Kafir-Kalash , is 40 kms. from Chitral and
is connected by a jeep-able road. Birir, 34 kms. away is accessible
by a jeep-able road. Rambur is 32 kms from Chitral.
Kalash women wear black gowns of coarse cloth in summer and
hand-spun wool dyed in black in winter. Their picturesque headgear
is made of woolen black material decked out with cowry shells,
buttons and crowned with a large coloured feather.
The Kalash are fun loving people who love music and dancing
particularly on occasion of their religious festival like Joshi
Chilinjusht (14th & 15th May-spring), Phool
(20th – 25th September) and Chomas (18th
to 21st December for a week).
Polo in Chitral is as popular as in Gilgit. Polo matches are great
attractions at festive occasions. A regular Polo tournament is held
every year (First week of July) at Shandur Pass.
During early nineteenth century, Hunza resented Kashmir's attempts to gain
control and its rulers periodically expelled Kashmir garrisons, threatended
Gilgit, and politicked with the rulers of Kashgar to the north where the
Russians were gaining influence. Fearing Russians infiltration into their
northern frontiers, the British took over direct political control at Gilgit in
1889. Incesant fratricidal intrigues in Hunza and Nagar made the areas doubly
insecure. This, coupled with the Mir of Hunza's consistent intransigence induced
the British to march on Hunza in December 1891, where they fought a decisive
battle at Nilit, 60 km beyond Diaynor Bridge. After this the British garrisoned
Aliabad until 1897 when Hunza became a princely state protected by the
Government of British India. After the Pakistan was created in 1947, the people
of Hunza also gained liberation and the princely state was merged in Pakistan.