Sights of Sounds of Pakistan: Chitral Part-1
Ask anyone where Chitral is, and one may get a blank look since this land of Tirich Mir and the Kafirs, people of the lost world, is obscured behind the Lowari Top, which due to its inaccessibility generally keeps the tourist and holiday makers at bay.
But those who dare to venture and reach out to Chitral Valley, find themselves in a different world – overlooked by the mighty Tirich Mir, standing at a height of 7,692 metres as part of the Hindu Kush mountain range, and located in the far reaches of Pakistan.
Chitral is also famous for the Shandur Festival, which is held each year and where polo is played at the highest polo ground of the world at a height of 3,719 metres.
The beauty of Chitral lies as much in its rustic, mountainous terrain, as in its warm hearted and friendly inhabitants. Since it is a land high up in the mountains, at such places legends fascinate the on lookers. One such legend describes Chitral as an
abode of genies and fairies in times when no one lived here and locals still look up to the Tirich Mir, which they believe still has the castle of fairies.
Chitral forms Pakistan’s north-western border with Afghanistan along the Hind Kush mountain range. The mountain passes that connect Afghanistan with Pakistan were the routes used by the Alexander the Great and his troops, who called the Hindu Kush "Parapamisus"
meaning mountains over which no eagle can fly.
After Alexander, Tartar hordes of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane also passed through, specially through the inaccessible Baroghil Pass (3,798 m or 12,460 ft) in the Upper Chitral (bordering the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, which was once considered to be
the rout to the famous Silk Route. Chitral has been traditionally and, except for a brief spell uninterruptedly, ruled by the Mehtars who claim themselves as ancestors the Tartar ruling family of Tamerlane.
The 322 kilometres long Chitral Valley located at an elevation of 1,128 metres. The Chitral district has Afghanistan to its north, south and west. A narrow strip of Wakhan in the Afghan territory separates it from the erstwhile Soviet Union and present day
Chitral Town, capital of the Chitral District, is situated on the west bank of the Chitral (or Kunar) River, with an estimated population of some 20,000, while the Chitral District has a population of about 300,000.
to be continued…