PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

PAKISTAN

TOP DESTINATION FOR VACATIONS OF 2020

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Chitral

Chitral is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the Chitral River in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan in north western part of the country.  The town of Chitral is located at the 1500 meters elevation above sea level and is one of the tourists’ destinations.   There is one single bazaar street in the town of Chitral that includes a few tourist class hotels. Towards the end of Bazaar on the right (River side) there is the Chitral Fort and Palace of Mehtar (former ruler).    In front of the Fort is the Main Masjid of Chitral is located having an impressive architecture with beautiful inlays and wood carving.  Names of 2 better quality hotels are PTDC Motel and Mountain View Hotel located in main bazaar.

Chitral is linked with Peshawar via air, however, most of the people coming from rest of the country take the route of Lowari Tunnel.  Chitral is 421   kilometers from Islamabad and it keeping in view the road and climatic conditions 8 to 10 hours are required to complete this journey.  If one is coming from Gilgit than, one can go to Phandar Valley, spend a night there and approach Chitral via famous Shandur  Pass.  Foreign tourists are registered upon entering in Chitral at Lowari Tunnel or Shandur Pass Police Check Posts.   PTDC Motel at Phander Valley is an excellent place to spend night.

Khowar is local language, however, most can speak Urdu and fair amount of people can understand and converse in English as well.  Local people are superb craftsmen beside being fine horsemen excelling in the game of Polo.

In some of the valleys of Chitral, Kalash people live whose origin is unknown, however they look like Europeans.  According to some of the folklore, they are the lost segment of the army of Alexander the great who passed through this area.   A tourist needs to get permit by paying Rs.600 per person to go to a Kalash Valley from local government office. The money is used for creating better conditions for tourism and for the welfare of Kalash people. 

Kalash Valleys

Kalash are unique people who live in 3 main valleys of Chitral including Bumburet, Rumboor and Birir Valleys.    Bumburet is most developed valley, however, this people of this valley have also been influenced by local Pakistani culture as well and this is better place for local Pakistani tourists.  If one wants to really observe the actual Kalash culture then Rumboor or Birir valleys are ideal destination.  Foreign tourists prefer going to Rumboor Valley. 

Public Transport is available from Bazaar area to take tourists to Kalash Valleys of their choice at reasonable rate.  Sharing of transport can further reduce the per head fare.  Best time to visit Kalash people is May when they are celebrating their Chilam Joshi festival offering plenty of feasts for the eyes. Dance, drink and be amazed at the colourful rituals and clothes on display.  Decent hotels are available in both Bumburet and  Rumboor valleys at reasonable rates.  

Kalash women are beautiful and are neither introvert nor shy in talking to a tourist.  However, there is need to take permission politely before taking a picture or selfie with Kalash women.  Moreover, unlike rest of the Pakistan, local wine, is available in Kalash villages, which is strong enough.  Foreign tourist should be careful while consuming it especially those who cannot control themselves after being drunk.

The Kalash Valleys are naturally and culturally beautiful ideal to sit and enjoy a bit of nature, befriending and hanging out with the local people with a view to learning about them and their culture.

Tirich Mir

Tirich Mir  is the highest mountain of the Hindu Kush Range, and the highest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas-Karakoram range, located in Chitral District of Pakistan.  It stands tall and proud with elevation of 7,708 m in the Hindukush Range. Its truly majestic and a dream to be scaled & its adjoining area requires lot of exploration. The mountain was first climbed on 21 July 1950 by a Norwegian expedition consisting of Arne Næss, P. Kvernberg, H. Berg, and Tony Streather.  Tirich Mir overlooks Chitral town, and can be easily seen from the main bazaar. It is believed the origin of the name Tirich Mir is “King of Tirich” as Tirich is the name of a side valley of the Mulkhow valley of Chitral which leads up to Tirich Mir.

The last village in Chitral before reaching Tirich Mir is the village of Tirich. It is located in Mulkow. The people there speak the Khowar language. The residents are available for hire as porters and tourist guides and will lead trekkers part way up the mountain.

Shandur Polo Festival

Famous Shandur Pass is located at the height of 3,700 m above sea level and is often called the “Roof of the World”. Beside Shandur Pass the important landmark of the Shandur National Park is Shandur Polo Ground located at 4 hours drive from the Town of Chitral and at almost same height as of the Pass.  Shandur Polo Ground is considered to the highest polo ground in the world and is located next to Shandur Lake.    Every year from 7 to 9 July, one of the celebrated festivals of Pakistan is held over here called “Shandur Mela”.  Culminating event of this festival is free style polo match between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit.  It is one of the most thrilling and adrenaline pumping experience not only for players but for viewers as well which they can never forget. The festival also includes folk music, folk dance, traditional sports and a camping village is set up around the Polo Ground.  If one is in the surroundings or in Pakistan in the month of July, this is a MUST-WATCH event and great experience.   Some foreigner after attending the Shandur Mela prefer to walk to Phandar Valley to enter in Gilgit Baltistan region on an easy downhill trail taking 2-3 days of walk while staying in local villages at night.  Camping in open areas is possible after informing and taking permission of local authorities.  However, staying in villages at night offers an opportunity to know more about local people, their culture and cuisine.  

Beside above mentioned place there are many must visit places in the valley including Chitral Fort, Museum, Ayan Valley, Garam Chashma or hot spring etc.    Chitral is a land full of amazement, the grassy land, the tall fruit-laden trees, rare spice of flora, pleasant climate, tremendous waterfall, the cold water of the stream, make anyone spellbound with its bewitching ravishing beauty.