3-day Uchal festival kicks off in Kalash valley

Published on: 21/08/2019 | Comments: No comments 

CHITRAL: The foreign and domestic tourists and the local people thronged the Rambur and Bamburet valleys as the three-day Uchal festival kicked off in the scenic Kalash valley in the Chitral district on Tuesday.

?A large number of foreign and domestic tourists have reached the valley to enjoy the festival. Many of the tourists also visited the historic museum located in the Kalash,? a local official said.

The Uchal festival continues for many days moving on to different locations within the valley. The mega event of Uchal festival will be held in Rambur, Bamburet besides Anish, Broon Karakul and other small villages in Kalash valley.

The young boys and girls gathered at the community hall in Rambur and sang songs and danced to the drumbeat. The festival celebrated in annual harvesting with singing, dancing and paying homage to the nature for blessing them with good food and fruits. It is marked in the barley and wheat harvest season every year in August. The people of Kalash community prepare cornbread, buttermilk and cheese to celebrate the festival.

In the festival, Kalash women and girls decorate their houses and the ceremony is accompanied by dancing and rhythmical chant to the drumbeat. They wear traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled headdresses and adorned with coloured necklaces and dance in a circle. During the festival, prayers and processions are held at a high plateau outside the village in Balangkuru where the long night of dancing begins.

The Uchal festival is one of the cultural festivals celebrated by Kalash community like many other festivals around the year.

.. Source

Chitral’s winning captain speaks against VIP culture at Shandur

Published on: 11/07/2019 | Comments: 3 comments 

Chitral: Captain of the winning Chitral team at Shandur polo festival, Shahzada Sikander UlMulk has spoken out against glaring VIPsm at Shandur festival. In a video message he said the government officials should not focus solely on their own comfort and convenience at the festival but instead do something for the comfort and convenience of the thousands of spectators who come from far and wide on their own expense to witness the game. The YouTube video is produced below

Well played Gilgit; Chitral is the winner again

Published on: 09/07/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

Chitral: Shandur Polo festival had a throbbing climax when the Chitral A and Gilgit A teams fought it out neck to neck till the finish when Chitral put the ball through the goalpost in the dying moment of the match to win the Cup by a short head i.e a lead of one goal.

In the first half of the match Chitral team led by by five goals against two of Gilgit appearing the clearly stronger side. In the second half however Gilgit came on strong and equaled the score at 5-5. All this time Chitral was mostly on the attacking side but failed to convert many attacks into goals while the Gilgit players did not miss the chances they got.. The Gilgit players showed good stick work and control over the ball. However merit outshone finally when Chitral led by Shahzada Sikander Ul Mulk was rewarded with the winning goal, seconds before the trumpet blew. Izhar Ali stood out as top scorer from Chitral side scoring five out of six goals.

The final match was telecasted by PTV news. Prime minister was expected to witness the final game but his program got cancelled at the last moment due to his urgent commitments. Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Shaheen Mazhar Mehmood was the Chief guest on the occasion.

One feature that was quite visible in the match as in previous Shandur festivals, was the good number of uniformed personnel visible witnessing the game as spectators. Military uniform is highly respected and venerated in Pakistan, however,? too many uniformed personnel in a civil festival looks a little odd. In countries where tourism is their main economy e.g Thailand, Turkey etc, there is strict vigilance by security staff, cameras etc on beaches and public places, but no uniformed person can be seen by tourists. All the duty personnel are in civvies and behave like tourists and mix with them while carrying out their vigilance. It is therefore hoped that this point will be considered in future Shandur and other festivals. .. CN report, 09 Jul 2019


Sikander to captain Chitral A team at Shandur Polo festival

Published on: 04/07/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

Chitral: As per the desire of polo fans, choice of the selection committee and general public of Chitral, Shahzada Sikander Ul Mulk was re- instated as captain of Chitral ‘A’ team to play against Gilgit Baltistan ‘A’ team. The deadlock over the issue prevailing for the last few days souring the atmosphere in Chitral turned pleasant when the decision was made at a meeting chaired by the Commissioner Malakand division. It is now hoped that the Shandur festival will be held in traditional spirit of unity and goodwill.. .. CN report, 04 Jul 2019

Chitral Polo Association boycotts Shandur festival

Published on: 02/07/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

Chitral: Four polo teams comprising of civilian players listed for Shandur festival have announced their boycott of the event. Addressing a crowded press conference the president of the Chitral Polo Association Shahzada Sikander Ul Mulk flanked by senior members of the association and veteran polo players accused the Deputy Commissioner lower Chitral? of over ruling the decision of the selection committee and arbitrarily removing his name from the team despite the selection team approving him as captain of the A team. He also suggested that in future the establishment players form their separate teams and let the civilians choose their team as has been the practice in Chitral in the past.
Five of the eight members of the selection committee including Sub Maj ret Zafar Ali Shah, Sub Maj ret Faqir Muhammad, Muhammad Azam, Abdullah Jan and Nasir Ali were present alongside the President Polo Association. Earlier the polo players took out a rally chanting slogans of “boycott Shandur festival”. ..? CN report, 02 Jul 2019

Kalash girl laments tourists invading their religious festivals

Published on: 30/05/2019 | Comments: 2 comments 

Chitral: After the recently concluded Chilm Joshi spring festival of the Kalash tribe of Chitral district, a young girl expressed her disgust over the overwhelming onslaught of tourists at their festivals. Gul Bahar Kalash said it amounted to degrading the sanctity and sanguinity of the religiously celebrated occasions.

Gul Bahar said she was happy to see that this year not many tourists turned up for their Chilim Joshi festival and they could celebrate it with ease. Answering a question she said not all tourists are bad but many are rude and intrusive and come with the pre-conceived idea that the Kalash are a commodity instead of human beings with self respect. This is abhorring and the concept needs to change she said. She reiterated that personally she was very happy to see that very few tourists came to watch the festival this year. .. CN report, 30 May 209

Kalash festival concludes amidst traditional fervour

Published on: 17/05/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

Chitral: The annual spring festival of the Kalash tribe homed in the three castaway valleys of Chitral district in northern Pakistan, concluded with traditional fervour and fanfare. Many tourist both local and foreign visited the valleys for the festival, despite the month of Ramazan which is strictly followed in Chitral. A number of tourists talking to this scribe said they were pleased to witness a safe and amicable atmosphere in the area and in Pakistan as a whole. They said negative propaganda against Pakistan as being full of terrorists is unfortunate as people here are most friendly and guest loving. They said? the Kalash are a treasure for Pakistan’s tourism and must be looked after seriously.? .. GH Farooqi, 17 May 2019

15 day Chilim Joshi festival inaugurated in Kalash valley

Published on: 02/05/2019 | Comments: 1 comment 

Chitral: Deputy Secretary Ministry of Religious and Minorities Affairs Imran Rashid inaugurated the two week long Chilim Jusht spring festival of the Kalash community in Bumburet, the major Kalash valley. Deputy Commissioner lower Chitral ?Khurshid Alam Mahsud also spoke on the occasion and ensured full support to the minority community. Chitral Museum manager? Saeed Gul Kalash demanded preservation of Kalash artifacts in the valley and also demanded to check check misleading mis-information being spread on social media about the Kalash and their culture. .. CN report, 02 May 2019

Celebration of Chitral?s Kalash Chitirmas festival in full-swing

Published on: 17/12/2018 | Comments: No comments 

CHITRAL: A great hustle and bustle was witnessed in Kalash valleys on Sunday as the community is celebrating the ongoing Chitirmas festival with enthusiasm. There was an euphoria among the people in Ramboor, Bamburet and Birrir valleys as men, women and children made various items and toy animals of wheat flour and distributed them.

The people also celebrated various events including Mandahek and Sharaberayak festivals. They made toy animals like cows, markhor and symbols of their ancestors from the flour and baked them in the fire. These toy animals then placed in the sun.

Similarly, Mandahek festival was also celebrated during which tree branches were set on fire and people observed one minute silence. A number of foreign tourists have reached Kalash valley to enjoy the event with the indigenous tribe. Beginning on December 7 and to be continued till 22th of the current month, the phase of bonfire competitions in the festival has already completed. Earlier, the children gathered at their sacred place, collected twigs and branches of pine trees and made bonfire to show skills in making high flames and smoke.

Making high flames and smoke is meant to welcome peace, prosperity, minerals, green grass and love among the people of the indigenous tribe in the ensuing winter and spring seasons. The children while holding green leaves and branches of trees also sang songs and performed chorus to enjoy the festival.

Kalash is a small non-Muslim ethnic community in Chitral. The Kalash people are also found in Nuristan province of Afghanistan. Kalash people, numbering only about 3,500 live in Ramboor, Bamburet and Birrir valleys in Chitral. They enjoy religious freedom and celebrate the Chawmoss and other festivals regularly.

Kalash people during the Chitirmas festival, which marks the end of the fieldwork and harvest, make their wishes for the New Year while dancing in chorus, dressed in colourful robes. Kalash tribes sacrifice cattle mostly goats by pinning arrows in their necks. They neither meet nor shake hands with any visitors during that time.

After three days, they come out dancing and drinking wines together. Young Kalash boys and girls express their feelings for each other and announce their marriage. French, Belgian and other foreign tourists have visited the Tourist Information Centre. Zarin Khan, the centre in-charge, briefed the tourists about the religious, cultural, tourism and historical perspective of the Kalash valley and its inhabitants.

The Tourism Department has also installed lighting system and made arrangements for transport and other facilities so that local community and tourists could celebrate the festival in a befitting manner. .. Source

Kalash celebrate harvest festival Uchal

Published on: 23/08/2018 | Comments: No comments 

Chitral: In a rare happening, this year the Kalash celebrated their wheat harvest festival (Uchal) at the same time when Eid ul Azha was being celebrated by Muslims. This confluence happens after many years as the Muslim hijri lunar calendar? keeps rotating. Newly elected Kalash MPA Wazirzada was the star of the occasion who welcomed the many foreign tourists attending the function. .. GH Farooqi,, Chitral 23 Aug 2018 (photo by Sajid Tasvirography)