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Kalash Valley

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Kalash Valley Tour Guide | Everything You Need to Know

Traveling through the Kalash Valley is like taking a cultural vacation in one of Pakistan’s most popular destinations. This trip offers the opportunity to experience extraordinary cultural diffusion in the Hindukush mountain region. Learning about the Kalash, a cultural minority in the Kalash Valley, is also beneficial. The Kalash way of life was designated an “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO in November 2018. The thirteenth session of UNESCO, hosted by the intergovernmental committee, reached this conclusion in Mauritius.


Until 1896, the people of what is now Nuristan in Afghanistan were referred to as red kafirs, while the Kalash were referred to as black kafirs. The border between Kalash and Afghanistan allowed for contact between the two populations. Birir, Rumbur, and Bumburet are regions in Hindukush between the Afghan border and the Chitral Valley that serve as the land bridge linking Kalash and Afghanistan.

Religion and Background

Traditionally, the Kalash descended from a single man named shalak Shaw, who fought alongside Alexander the Great’s occupying army. According to another research, the Kalash is a Tibetan Belt country with roots in Tsiyane. They went there during the early Christian era. Mahmood of Ghazni forced them into the Hindu Kush valley in the 10th century. Until the middle of the 14th century, the Kalash people ruled over most of southern Chitral. However, the rais family of Chitral rose to dominance after this time. In the late 14th century, this took place.

Demziao is the name of the Kalash people’s god. However, their religious practices include animism as well as veneration of ancestors. We will also mention the idea of Dewalok. It is the idea that there are male and female angels in the universe. These men and women fulfill several duties, including conveying petitions to Deziao. In the Kalash region, there is a dichotomy between “pure” and “impure.” Onjesta refers to the pure state, while Pragata refers to the impure state. When a woman is pregnant or menstruating, she is deemed impure and must be isolated from others. This separation time, known as the “Bashali,” is where she will stay for the duration of her labor.

Kalash Valley Tour

The Kalash Valley is actually in Chitral. However, the name of this trip comes from the fact that Kalash Valley is the most popular destination in Chitral. It takes around three hours to drive from Chitral town to Kalash valley, surrounded by the majestic Hindukush mountain range.

Visit the Beautiful Valleys

The Kalash people have their unique culture, language, way of life, and tradition, having deep roots in Hinduism. Every year, a large number of people from all around the world visit there to experience this distinctive culture.

The valleys of Bumburet, Rumbur, and Birir are the most prominent in Kalash. The Bumburet Valley, formerly known as the Mumuret Valley, is the region’s top tourist destination. It is possible to reach this valley by taking a road that passes via Ayun in the Kunar Valley. The Rumbur and Acholgah are satellite valleys to the north of Bumburet.

The Kalash People

At only a few thousand strong, the Kalash are a religious and ethnic minority in Pakistan. They hold beliefs that are diametrically opposite to those of the Pakistani people. They practice polytheistic religion. Moreover, they regularly offer sacrifices to their deities. The religion of the Kalash is central to their culture, which centers on several holidays and other ceremonies. Kalashians don’t mix much with the local Muslim population, but they don’t have any strong feelings either way. They are a protected and secure scheduled tribe under the Pakistani government.

Highlights of the Trip to Kalash Valley

The capital city of Islamabad is the starting point for our trip across the Kalash valley. You will meet your guide at the Islamabad International Airport and transfer to the hotel. Then, we will have dinner together again. An orientation meeting for the Kalash valley expedition will take place. We will take an early morning flight over breathtaking mountain scenery to Chitral the following day.
Usually, the weather conditions affect the flights. We plan to take the route to Chitral if our flight cancels due to rough weather. After spending the night in the Chitral Valley and a day relaxing, we will go out to discover the stunning Kalash Valley. Moreover, we will spend a few days in the Kalash valley and celebrate the PAGANS festival. After this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, we will begin our journey back to Islamabad.

The Full Range of Services:

  • Rooms for 14 nights for two people sharing
  • All of the travel arrangements involving transportation
  • A seasoned and knowledgeable tour guide
  • Hotel Meals
  • A Jeep Trip to the Fairy Meadows
  • The Attabad Lake Boat Ride
  • Site entrance and National park fees
  • Transfer to/from the Airport
  • Portaging at the Airport and Hotels
  • Toll Taxes and Parking Fees
  • Invite Letter for Pakistan Tourist Visa

Services Not Included

  • Hotel stays with early arrival and late departure
  • Tip your tour guide, driver, porter, etc.
  • Charges caused as a result of delays outside the control of Hunza Adventure Tours
  • Time spent beyond the limits of the original schedule
  • All expenses associated with your international flight, including but not limited to, airport and departure taxes, visa fees, and travel insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages, carbonated drinks, and bottled water. Details specific to the individual, like phone calls, laundry, etc.

Why Visit Kalash Valley?

Your time in Kalash valley will be the most rewarding and enlightening of your life. The landscape at Chitral is stunning. In addition to learning about the area’s rich history and culture, visitors can also try their hand at some famous hiking and mountaineering trails.

The region’s multilingualism, including the semi-nomadic Wakhi language, and the presence of the Kalash minority community draw tens of thousands of visitors each year.

Festivals and Celebrations in Kalash Valley

The colorful dance celebration held by the minority in the Kalash valley each year is one of the most remarkable festivals in the region. Travelers seldom get the chance to witness it outside of the designated period. The Kalash valley is home to four major festivals yearly: spring, summer, fall, and winter.
The spring festival is to protect the shepherds from being driven from their pastures. The summer festival is celebrated in August to mark the beginning of harvesting. Moreover, the autumn festival is held in October to mark the beginning of grape and walnut harvesting. The winter festival is held in December to welcome the New Year and promote village cleanliness.

Who are the Kalash People?

Fewer than four thousand Kalash are there, all of whom reside in a mountainous region of Pakistan close to the border with Afghanistan. How they managed to get here is a mystery. They attributed to Slavic tribes that were lost in the highlands or to the ancestors of Alexander the Great’s army.

The Kalash community’s tradition is a living heritage whose continued existence was in jeopardy. So, it is on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritages.

Kalash people populate Bumburet, Birir, and Rumbur valleys. They are a minority even in these areas. Only 20% of the locals are of such ethnicity. The remainder is Muslims. Many of them are former Kalash who have converted to Islam.

Is Kalash Valley Peaceful?

Of course! Indeed, why not? Residents enjoy having tourists visit their neighborhoods to learn about the local culture. It has been a growing trend for many years. People are very hospitable. They will welcome you with open arms. However, some roads there can create trouble, especially in the winter. Do not travel there between December and February. At this time, the weather is too cold. So, large snow piles block the roads regularly.

The Kalash Valley Food

The Kalashi diet is based on foods native to their land and includes a wide variety of fruits, nuts, bread, and cheeses.

The Kalash Valley people have mastered their methods of consuming dried fruits and nuts, especially mulberries and walnuts, which are staples in their diet. “Bilili,” a flatbread stuffed with assorted nuts and pan-fried, is one of the most consistently prepared foods. One method to eat these dried nuts is in a meal called “ja’gai” or walnut butter, which is produced by mixing finely powdered walnuts with cheese, water, and salt. Another way to enjoy these dried nuts is in a dish called “ja’u,” a thick pan-fried flatbread baked over a traditional wood fire.

Many types of cheese, including the aged, sharp “kuind’a,” the “gulak,” and the sour-tasting “Kil’a'” (produced from rennet), are traditional in Kalash cuisine. One need only look at this list of meals to get enthused about experiencing the Kalash culture through its cuisine.

Accommodations Options in the Kalash Valley

The Kalash people are primarily located in the Bumburet, Rumbur, and Birir valleys. Biris is the most remote in terms of accessibility, and data on it is limited.

Ø  In Bumburet for the Night

In terms of visitor traffic, Bumburet is by far the most popular valley. There is a wide selection of places to stay, including hotels and inns. The locals consider it the most commercialized of the Kalash Valleys. You can find more modern conveniences in Bumburet, but if you want to meet locals and live like a local in Kalash Valley, you should look elsewhere.

Tours, Activities, and Attractions in the Bumburet and Kalash Valleys

Even if you do not plan to remain in the area, you must make a trip to Bumburet. The Kalash Graveyard is a unique area to see.

Bumburet, Site of the Kalash Cemetery

The Kalash used to leave dead bodies in this cemetery without burying them, but they changed their minds, possibly to stop diseases from spreading. The deceased is buried with his or her bed, pillow, and other personal items. They fear that evil spirits will follow them back into their homes if they do, so they refuse to take them back. There are still skeletons visible in the cemetery.

Ø  Kalash Valley Rumbur

Rumbur, in contrast to Bumburet, is a smaller and less developed community. The journey to Rumbur is more challenging than that to Bumburet. It is not uncommon for Rumbur’s roads to be closed for extended periods owing to weather conditions.

Although there is no hotel in Rumbur, there are a few small inns in the surrounding valley.

Tourism and Entertainment in Rumbur

In all directions from Rumbur are picturesque mountains, and the seas there are crystal pure. Join a group of locals for a stroll across the area’s beautiful scenery.

Combination Hotel/Camping

Recent years have seen dramatic growth in the number of tourists. In response, more and more high-end, comfortable hotels have opened their doors. It allows guests to experience the area as if they were natives. Most locals have capitalized on the influx of tourists by opening inns and motels. There are, however, other hotels to choose from, most of which are nestled amongst scenic meadows and beautiful gardens. They offer guests fresh air, breathtaking vistas, friendly service, and delicious traditional Eastern or Western breakfasts.
Many hotels offer complimentary breakfasts that often consist of omelets, bread, jam, and butter, as well as other options like fresh fruit juice and chai or coffee. Other than that, the customer has complete freedom in choosing the specifics of their order by making specific requests. Hotel options for dinner include buffets and a la carte offerings. The standard hotel menu balances crowd-pleasing international and regional dishes. There is enough space for at least five people in the hotel rooms, depending on your room of choice, and each bed comes with a cozy blanket for the colder months. You can open the windows and take in the cool air and stunning scenery outside. Each hotel room has a private bathroom.

Education System in Kalash

After requesting and receiving permission, we can check out a Kalash classroom. Kalash and Muslim youth, male and female, attend school together. Girls in the Kalash community wear traditional clothing, whereas Muslim women cover their hair and wear hijabs.

In the Kalash Valleys, getting a good education is not a human right but a privilege. Of the Kalash population, just 25% of men and 18% of women are college-educated. There is only one high school, two middle schools, and ten elementary schools in the three valleys.

The Kalash Valley: What to Do? Activities

In Kalash Valley, we recommend that you participate in the following experiences.

  • When the snow falls and accumulates on the hills of Hindu Kush, snow-skiing becomes a popular winter sport for men and women. It is easy to learn how to ski safely because most of the gear is provided.
  • Other activities are wandering around the local shops stocked with handmade goods and traditional garments that may enhance your day and be a nice gift back home!
  • Most trees are loaded with ripe fruits and nuts, and a simple pastime like tree picking can be a lot of fun. It will provide you with a glimpse into the lives of the Kalashas.
  • More activities such as hiking, boating in the nearby rivers, and eating by the riverside are other fantastic approach to improve your memorable trip to the valley of Kalash.
What is the ideal time to go to the Kalash Valley?

There are numerous festivals that the Kalash people observe all year long. The prominent ones are Chilam Joshi Festival, Uchal Festival, Poh Festival, and Choimus Festival.

  1. From the 13th to the 16th of May, Kalash people celebrate Chilam Joshi Festival to usher in spring and bid farewell to the cold months ahead.
  2. The Kalash people celebrate the Uchal Festival from the twentieth to the twenty-second of August each summer. Mahadeo is worshipped as a divinity that safeguards human life, agricultural endeavors, and domesticated animals.
  3. The Kalash people celebrate the Poh Festival at the end of September when the harvest is complete and the shepherds have returned with their animals.
  4. The Choimus Festival, celebrated for two weeks around the winter solstice, is the year’s final major celebration.

Kalash people congregate in an open area to dance to the sound of drums during festivals and in the days leading up to them. We recommend visiting the Kalash Valleys a few days before the activities. Do as much of the above as possible to understand the Kalash culture, make friends among the locals, and learn more about the language. It facilitates participation in the festivities rather than mere observation.

Guests to the Kalash Valleys should Use Courtesy.
1.      Avoid taking pictures of Kalash people without their permission.

The Kalash valleys have a severe issue with this. The Kalash are warm and welcoming. They extend courtesy to tourists but expect the same in return. Do not take pictures of them without first obtaining permission. Several Kalash women have expressed frustration about outsiders (mainly domestic tourists) taking pictures of them without asking.

2.      Take Your Trash Back.

Unfortunately, the Kalash Valleys do not have reliable garbage collection or recycling means. So, please take your trash back to Islamabad or elsewhere. They are obligated to drive their trash to Chitral. Since there is an established recycling infrastructure in larger urban centers like Chitral and Islamabad, you may wish to bring your trash there.

  • Travelers should help the local Kalash community by staying in hotels and guesthouses managed by the local community. If you stay in one of the guesthouses in Kalash Valley, you will be doing a lot to help their economy.
  • Even though the Kalash are very protective of their culture, they also know that they and their community need modern conveniences like better health care and more educational opportunities to thrive.
We Make Special Arrangements for Your Trip.

We are happy to tailor a customized vacation for you, your loved ones, or your group. Normally, the prices listed on our website are calculated for a set number of people. So, the size of your party may have an impact on the final price. If you want something specific, just give us a call or send us an email and we will try to make it happen.

Why should you make your Kalash Valley Tour bookings with us?
  • A promise of the lowest possible cost with no difficulty
  • Assisting clients 24/7
  • Demanding Tours & Entertainment
  • Quick Reservations
Do You have a Query?

Do not hesitate to call us. We are glad to chat with you and proud of our expert team status. Book a total of 15 days and 14 nights tour from Islamabad to Kalash Valley now.

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