Kalash Valley is located in district Chitral of Khyber pakhtunkhawa, the province of Pakistan. The region is extremely fertile that covers the mountains in rich oak forests and agriculture. Kalash or kalasha is 1130 m above the sea level and consist of indo-Aryan people. The valley is consisting of three small valleys “Kalasha Desh (three valleys)”.
- Rumbur Valley
- Brumbret Valley
- Birrir Valley
There are three history references that the people live here are the ancestors of Great Alexander, other tells that they are the Afghani people who travelled to Pakistan about 2000 years back , called as Nuristan ethnic originated or know as people of Kafirastan. The third reference is that they are ancestors of Greeks and have been converted to Islam.
Kalash people have a unique culture that is completely different to other Islamic ethnic groups. They are said to be the polytheists by historians and nature plays an integral spiritual role in their lives. They make sacrifices and hold festivals to thank the natural resources of all nearest valleys. Kalash culture is more than 2000 years old and they have not changed a bit of their culture.
Languages and customs
People speak two native languages “Kalasha and Khowar”. Their language is sub-branch of indo-Aryan group also considered as a member of Chitral sub-group.
Customs and festivals
It’s very hard to define the culture of people of Kalash; in fact, they have a unique culture amongst other cultures. They do not adopt any religion and if someone adopts other religion he or she is no more part of their culture. They build their culture strong this way. Kalash women wear a long black dress called Robes and these Robes are embroidered with shells and men wear a simple national dress (shalwar kameez). These people celebrate three festivals during the year
- Jhosi festival in late May
- Uchau in autumn
- Caumus in mid winter.
These festivals are celebrated to thank their god and goddess of nature that protects the natural resources a whole year. People visit this beautiful land and rejoice with their festivals and customs.
Tourists from all over the world build up a huge part of the economic activities of the Kalash. For the needs of new visitors, small stores and guest houses have been established, providing unique luxury for visitors of the valleys. People visiting the valleys have to pay a toll to the Pakistani government. Pakistani government uses the foreign aid and these all funds to preserve and care for the Kalash people and their historical culture. People of the Kalash are moving towards a cash-based economy whereas previously wealth was measured in livestock and crops and dealings were dealt in the barter system.