Sights of Sounds of Pakistan: Chitral Part-3

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012 2:22:31 by


Sights of Sounds of Pakistan: Chitral Part-3


The player holds the 1st and 2nd strings together and play the melody. The rest of the strings play the role of drone. The graceful sound of Chitrali Sitar is heard daily at small workingmen’s teahouses in Chitral Bazaar.

The ‘Shehnai’ and ‘Dol’ (Oboe and Drums) frenetically accompany all polo matches, especially at Shandur. Chitralis love to sing and dance. Any Chitrali can sing and dance but professional musicians, generally forming a group of 8-10, perform during festivals.

While one or two sing the verse alternatively, the sitar player and a jerrican player add music and beat to it. The rest will clap their hands and dance one by one.

There are 10 languages which are indigenous to Chitral. The Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne is of the opinion that Chitral was once the region with the highest linguistic diversity in the world.

The reason for this is obvious. Chitral consists of high mountains interspaced by isolated valleys where small communities have thrived for centuries free from outside interference.

The primary language of Chitral is Khowar ("kho" in local language is the name given to the natives of Chitral and "war" means language – the language of natives/Chitralis), which is the mother tongue of 90% of the population. Most of the remaining 10% speak
Khowar as their second language.

The other indigenous languages of Chitral, going clockwise around the Chitral Valley, are: Phalura, Gujari, Dameli, Gawar-Bati, Nuristani, Kalasha, Yidgha, Wakhi and Kirghiz. In addition, a variety of Persian is spoken in the isolated village of Madaglasht. 
All local languages, however, have no written form. Urdu being the national language of Pakistan is also spoken and understood.

It is customary in Chitral to offer the glass of water to as many people who are sitting around you before you drink it your self. It is also customary for you to get up whenever you see an apparently older person coming to join you. If you are in a group
the whole group stands until the older person sits down or asks others to be seated.

Besides Tirich Mir, Kafir Kalash and many other places in/around Chitral, Shandur and

Shandur Polo Festivities
are the major source of tourist attraction. Each year in July, the great game of polo is played on perhaps the highest polo ground of the world between the two traditional teams of Chitral and Gilgit.


To be continued…

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