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Asia > South Asia > Pakistan > Northwest Pakistan > Chitral

Chitral

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Chitral is the capital of Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

It takes about 8 to 10 hr drive from Islamabad to Chitral.

The more popular route by land is from Gilgit - taking 14 hr if all the jeeps on the 5-7 steps of the route are co-ordinated. This route is considered the safest and most scenic.

Another land route is from Peshawar. Jeeps leave Chirtal Mayoon (Rs 600) at 4AM in Khyber Bazaar and take 14 hr, crossing over the beautiful Lowri Pass. However, this route has sometimes been closed due to fighting, so check on current conditions before planning your journey.

As regards the Kalash Valleys, jeeps are available in the morning and mid afternoon (Rs 80 or 1000 for 'special taxi') which run via Ayun. Roads to Valley are unmetalled and on one side of the jeep are Hindukush and on the other side is the river. A Rs 200 toll applies to enter the valleys. Most people only visit central valley Bambore at where there are many hotels & other amenities. Rumbur is less often visited but has a higher proportion of kalash and a greater historical significance to the kalash people (but watch out for the converted Afghan-Kalash at the northern end of the valley who, while not dangerous, are unfriendly to foreigners and enemies to the kalash as the result of them squatting on kalash lands).

By bus[edit]

When the passes are open, microbuses run from Peshawar to Chitral. The journey takes around 12 hr and crosses the Malakand and Lowari passes. The route is often closed in winter due to snow. Direct buses only run at night. If you travel during the day you will have to change buses at Dir.

Shared jeeps run from Chitral to Mastuj and Chitral to Khot Valley from where it's possible to pick up the NATCO bus to Gilgit. This will require a night in Mastuj.

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

  • Kalasha Valleys - home to the waning and fascinating Kalasha people.
  • Tirich Mir, at 7708 m the highest mountain in the region

Do[edit]

  • Fishing
  • Sightseeing

Kalash Festivals[edit]

The Kalash are a tribe with a long history, who have a religion and culture of their own. The Kalash are famous for their festivals. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash people celebrate three main festivals in a year.

  • Joshio Chilmjusht (14-15 May)

Organized to pay thanks to the Almighty on the arrival of spring season.

  • Uchao O Utchal (19-20 August)

To pay homage to Almighty because of grapes and other ripe fruit. They prepare wine, cheese, corn, etc.

  • Choimusk (7th to 22nd December)

A winter festival celebrated to welcome the New Year. It is celebrated by feasting, drinking, merry making and giving thanks to God. Winter is full of snow, rain and cold wind. People rejoice with wine, fruit, assemble for dancing, singing and enjoy every event and moment.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

  • Free Food. In Nisar village there are a lot of grapes, dry fruits and corn trees. So you can eat them directly.

Drink[edit]

  • Wine. In this valley every house prepares a wine made up of dry fruit, salt, oil, wet wheat and grapes that is drunk in the winter season.

Sleep[edit]

  • Hindukush Heights, +92 943 413151, +92 943 413152, +92 344 97 00 800, +92 300 85 21 887, fax: +92 943 413153. Not preferred for locals as it is the most expensive hotel in the Chitral area. It is mostly visited by foreigners. Though it is very beautiful and luxurious with a stepped construction, it offers the same views as other hotels in the Chitral region.
  • Terichmir View Hotel, Shahi Masjid Rd. Situated on the bank of the Kunar, Chitral River. Has decent accommodation and a beautiful view of the city at the footstep of Terichmir Mountain.
  • Mountain Inn. Situated in the bazaar, this hotel has a beautiful apple orchard and decent rooms that are relatively inexpensive. Does not offer much view, but if you are in Chitral for work or plan on travelling all day, this is a good place to stay.
  • Barakai, Near AKRSP office and WWF field office. This is a very secluded hotel, if you want your privacy. Recently built (as of 2016), with new furnishings.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Gilgit - jeep rides are possible via the Shandur Pass


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