Chitral is more famous, however, for the Kalash people who inhabit the southwestern part of the region. The “Kalash Country” is spread over three Valleys; Bomboret, Birir and Rumbur. The Kalash have always fascinated anthropologists and historians by their obscure origins, colourful festivals, and curious customs and rituals.
Polo, the “Game of the Kings” is best seen here in its land of origin. Played by skillful, daring participants in traditional style, Polo tournament is held every year in July near Chitral at Shandur Pass between Arch rivals Gilgit & Chitral.
Wildlife such as Marco Polo Sheep (ovis amon polis), Markhor or Ibex (caprafalconeri), Snow Leopard and Brown Bear are found in the heights of the Hindukush Mountains and are protected species.
Chitral is easily accessible by a 50-minute flight daily from Peshawar, or by road from Peshawar to Dir and then over the Lowari Pass (3,088m), a spectacular journey of approximately 15 hours.
Shahi Mosque, a beautiful white structure built by the former rulers of Chitral, is one of the most interesting buildings in Chitral. In its courtyard are buried former rulers and members of their families. Nearby is the historic Fort of Chitral where a small contingent of the British Army was besieged for almost thirty days. From the fort is an awe-inspiring view of Trich Mir Mountain with the Chitral River flowing nearby. The winding street of the Chitral bazaar has shops selling household objects, antiques and handicrafts obtained from the remote valleys.
About 34 Km southwest of Chitral is the narrow valley of Birir, where the Kalash community is gathered together. The main village of Guru is perched on a hillside as if stuck to the steep slope. The main attractions are the women in their long black robes and their attractive headgear, skillfully made entirely of cowrie’s shells and buttons. An interesting site included in the tour is the dance hall, which during the winter is used for religious performances. Also included is a visit to a Kalash home - a unique experience.
Larger and wider than Birir, the scenic valley of Bomboret lies 40 Km from Chitral. The excursion includes a visit to Brun where the Kalash deities are accommodated as well as stops at the graveyard where fully dressed corpses can be seen lying in their coffins, the unique cattle houses, and a visit to the village of Shaikande where a Moslem minority from Nuristan lives. Of special interest here are the Nuristani carvings, handicrafts and motifs used to decorate the houses.
Some 50 km from Chitral is the valley commonly known as Garam Chashma, which means ‘Hot Springs’. This valley is famous for the snow-clad peaks of the Hindukush Range and hot sulphur springs. Specially made baths through which water flows continuously are open for anyone wishing to relax in the warm sulphur waters. This valley is famous for the fine quality of locally weaved woolen material known as “Patti” which can be purchased from local shops in the nearby village.
BUNI - Full Day
Buni is the first village in the upper valley of Chitral. Traveling about 84 km from Chitral, this excursion gives an opportunity to see a glimpse of rural life of the valley as it passes through many villages. From Buni one can see Bunizom Mountain (6,551 m), which overlooks the village. This two and a half hour journey is combined with beautiful mountain scenery and village culture, an exciting insight into an exotic world.
RAMBUR - Half Day from Bomboret
Those staying overnight in Bomboret may wish to see the Valley of Rambur, about 08 km from Bomboret. The majority of the Kalash live in this valley. Kalashgrom and Balankuru are interesting villages to visit.
BIRMOGLASHT - Half Day
Birmoglasht or Plain of Walnut Trees is some 15 km from main town of Chitral and is easily accessible through half an hour jeep drive. It is also commonly known as Summer Palace as it used to be occupied during the summer time by the ex-rulers of Chitral. Birmoglasht offers a fine view of Trich Mir, Bunizom and other snow-clad peaks of Hindukush Ranges.