Sights of Sounds of Pakistan: Chitral Part-2
Being landlocked by mountain ranges, Chitral is only accessible through dozens of mountain passes, some of which are even more than 15,000 feet high. To the south, the dangerous jeep-able Lowari Pass (3,200 m or 10,499 ft) leads 365 kilometres to the region
In the north, the easiest route during summer (it is closed by snow in the winter), and the only one which allows the use of pack animals, runs over the Baroghil Pass (3,798 m or 12,460 ft) to Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor. To the east, there is a 405 kilometres
route to Gilgit over the 3,719 m (12,201 ft) Shandur Pass.
And in the west, the Dorah Pass provides an additional route to Afghanistan. However, the easiest access to Chitral is in the southwest along the Chitral/Kunar valley towards Jalalabad (Afghanistan); this route is open all year and provides direct access
to Kabul. However the Pakistan-Afghanistan border prevents this being used as an internal route to Peshawar and the south.
Chitral’s weather is as unpredictable as in any mountain valleys. The valley remains cut off from the mainland Pakistan due to heavy snow fall with temperatures falling below 0°C (32°F).
Most of its precipitation originates from frontal cloud bands during the winter and heavy thunderstorms in the spring. The average rainfall is 414mm or 16.5 inches, while 350mm falls from December to May. At high elevations in the Hindu Kush, snowfall can
be much heavier and consequently large glaciers are a prominent feature of the landscape. In view of its peculiar weather conditions, the ideal tourist season stretches from June to September.
The maximum temperature in June is 35°C and the minimum is 19°C. In September, the maximum goes up to 24°C and the minimum temperature falls down to 8°C. The north, comprising Chitral District, has a typically continental steppe climate similar to Afghanistan
Chitral is rich in natural resources, fruits, trees and landscape. The aromatic cedar or deodar strewn on its landscape is a prize possession of Chitralis, which besides being burnt as fuel, is also used to make beautiful wood houses, furniture and coffins,
following a tradition that dates back to the first Indus cities. "Chitrali Patti", a woolen cloth prepared from catted shu is one rarity and specialty of Chitral. Besides Finger Rings ( made up of animal horn ) are also very special.
Besides, Chitral has a strong musical tradition. The Chitrali Sitar is a long necked lute about 1 – 1.3 meter long with 5 strings tuned C-C-G-C-C. There are 12-13 frets.
To be continued…