By Farzana Khan
Cultural diversity of Chitral. Chitral (chetrar) means a ‘field’ in Khowar (the native language). Area-wise it is the largest district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), covering an area of 14,850 square kilometers, and has cultural diversity.
Its picturesque mountains, springs, green areas, hospitable people and rivers teeming with trout fish are spellbinding.
Chitral is also the most peaceful region of Pakistan. Its culture is unique and rich and recognized worldwide.
There are two racial groups in Chitral: Khow people and Kalash. The latter are reported to descendants of Alexander the Great.
These two racial groups have lived together peacefully for centuries. Kalash are in a minority and have a population of less than 4,000.
Cultural relativism remains the main focus in this area, never being ethnocentric either religiously or culturally. The Kalash people have their own identity different from other communities.
The language of indigenous people is Khowar while the Kalash use their own Kalasha language.
Kalash live in small villages near the banks of streams built on hillsides in three small southwestern valleys. Because of the steepness of the slopes, their houses are double-storey and are constructed of logs.
Kalash are very lively people and famous for their religious festivals.
Their headgear is prepared by woolen black material which is crowned with a large colored feather and adorned out with cowrie shells, beads and buttons.
They have their own cultural dress, especially women use a lot of jewellery and wear black frocks embroided on all sides of the frock.
Cultural diversity of Chitral
Even today in certain parts of Greece, some women sport a similar head covering.
The Kalash people love dancing and music especially on occasions of their religious festivals. The valleys of Bumburate, Rumbur and Birir have an alpine climate.
The people of Chitral have their own traditional dress, embroided by their own. Men here mostly wear shalwar kameez. Women wear dupatas and shawls along with shalwar kameez.
The most popular headdress of Chitrali men is the woolen Pakhol. In winters, men wear long baggy coats having long sleeves known as shuqa made out of wool.
Women also some embroidery caps mainly in winter season, called khoi. The local artisans are known for a wide range of woodwork, embroidery, woven and knitted textiles.
These and the diversity in the culture attract tourists from different places both national and international.
Traditional sport of Chitral is polo. World’s highest polo ground (Shandur) is also located here.
This cultural integrity attracts people especially tourists from all over the world. Chitral is a very peace preserving cultural place in Pakistan as well as in the world.