May 9-16, 2019
Written by: Aniqa Atiq Khan
Pakistan is in many ways the epitome of an idyllic landscape, possessing a variety of physical contours – green fertile plains, picturesque valleys, snow clad mountains, hot deserts and magnificent coast lines. With a diverse range of physical features, customs, traditions and habits of the people residing in different regions, there has always been a rich cultural heritage within the country.
Kalash Valley is an incredible amalgamation of most of those striking scenic features. Situated in the north, where individuals can find serenity away from our frenzied city life, the Kalash valley does not merely serve as a harbor of utmost tranquility. The locals truly enshrine its prevalent customs and events, like Chilam Joshi festival, where girls and boys dance to the tune of traditional drum beats and preach the underlying message of peace annually.
Nomad Adventure Services (NAS), a budget-friendly organization that are at once tour guides and travel companions, have helped pave the way since 2014 for travel enthusiasts to avail the countless opportunities whereby they can experience the splendid and unparalleled beauty that exists within Pakistan. They have covered almost every region which exhibits a unique breathtaking view of its own, ranging from magnificent rivers and waterfalls to exotic historical sites.
Continuing their journey of exploring more pleasurable settings swarmed by iconic customs and rituals, NAS has planned a trip along with exuberant groups of travelers keen to delve into the north, specifically Chitral. Their package offers a tour from 9th to 16th May, of the striking Bhamboret Valley, the awe-inspiring Kalash Museum, the historical Kalash Graveyard, the eventful Kalash Bazar, the newly built Lowari Tunnel, the beautiful village Ayun and the exquisite Kalash valley where the Chilam Joshi Festival will be celebrated- all of it being merely a gist of an enthralling trip that is yet to transpire.
The initial route taken will be through the newly constructed Lowari tunnel, leading to the village Ayun which is encircled by inexpressibly beautiful mountains. The serenity and peacefulness of the area will instill warmth within you along with a sense of relief from the chaotic hustle and bustle of the city, as you will be without modern amenities and able to connect closely with nature. You will then be taken to the Kalash Valley through luxurious conveyance provided by the Nomads. They will serve an ample amount of food in terms of BBQ, Biryani and even Qorma, facilitating access to options open for personal preference while providing music that blends in perfectly with the set ambience.
The nights will be spent camping; where you could demarcate your space on the ground using stones to distinguish each member’s personal space and sleep amidst the delightful climate encompassing the valley. You can indulge in a number of your own activities or make campfires under a blanket of stars, experiencing the wilderness of the area in its glory. It is not regular when you wake up to mornings greeting you with bright sunlight which shines as streaks of light struggling to bypass the maze of mountains blocking its way.
The three mornings will start with scrumptious breakfasts before the excursion for sightseeing will commence. The first visit will be made to the Bhamboret Valley and with its yellow and green fields, shady meadows, sparkling streams, groves of mulberry, apricot and walnut trees, wide mountain vistas; it is thought by any to be the one of most exquisite sights to have been witness.
The ethnological Kalash museum will be the next stop where their folk history, culture and civilization is preserved under one roof and the historically relevant artifacts and articles pertaining the Kalasha tradition is exhibited. This will be followed by the tour of Kalash graveyard, which ostensibly has a crumbling infrastructure as the process of burial is a recent advancement, and the bodies were placed on the ground separated by wooden planks for the past 80 years. This delineates the significance of the cemetery which has undergone a drastic modification. Individuals can then take a leisurely stroll around the vibrant Kalash Bazaar, one street bazaar in the entire valley, representing its iconic bearing. However ,the occurrence of the Chilam Joshi festival is what proves to be the ultimate source of sheer amusement.
Kalash Valleys are the home of the Kalash or ‘Wearers of the Black Robe,’ a primitive pegan tribe, renowned for their hospitability and unyielding stipulation for peace. They celebrate the Chilam Joshi Festival which highlights their cultural richness crammed with plethora of colours, underscoring the message of peace. The purpose of this festival is dominantly for the Kalash people to seek the blessings of their God and pray for the safety of herds and crops of the community.
The women dress up in traditional clothes of vibrant colours and are adorned with day-glow floral pattern with the combination of beaded necklaces, gold and silver embedded jewellery and an intricately designed headgear while the men wear traditional Shalwar Kameez accompanied with a woolen waistcoat. The tribe of Kalash women and men dance and sing in a circle on the rhythmical chant of drum beats. You, along with other foreigner and local tourists who visit this festival, can dance thoroughly and get engrossed in mere mirth and laughter, being oblivious to the disparity of the origin that separates the tribe from you.
As all good things come to an end, so will this trip, leaving you with a profound inclination towards the diverse range of cultural practices and the unexplored topographical features that Pakistan is immensely blessed with.
If you wish to register yourself for a guaranteed mesmerising trip or any further details, you are more than welcome to contact the following number: 0336-2253466