Chitral is the capital of the Chitral District, the largest district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Chitral is the northernmost district of Pakistan and shares a border with neighbouring Afghanistan.
Chitral is counted amongst the highest regions of the world, sweeping from around 1,100 meters at Arandu to 7,730 meters at Tirich Mir, and covering over 40 peaks higher than 6,100 meters.
Chitral is connected to the rest of Pakistan via two major road routes, the Lowari Pass (10,230 feet) from Dir and Shandur Top (12,200 feet) from Gilgit. Both routes remain closed in winter. The town of Chitral is the main town in the district.
The Chitral region is known for its rich cultural heritage and scenic beauty worldwide. The region, with its tough mountains, flowing rivers and lush green valleys, is the most secluded region of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Popular tourist attractions in Chitral include Garam Chashma Valley, Booni, Golen Valley, Madaklasht Valley, Arandu, Birir, Rumbur and Bumburat. Chitral is renowned for its Kalash valleys— an area where the ancient Kalash people or “Wearers of the Black Robe”, a primitive pagan tribe, abide. According to legends, soldiers of the legions of Alexander the Great settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kalash.
Bumburet, the largest and the most picturesque valley of Kalash, is 40 km from Chitral and is accessible via jeep. The people of the Kalash tribe love music and dancing, particularly on occasions of their religious festivals such as Joshi Chilimjusht (or spring festival held in May), Phool (September) and Chowas, or the winter festival that takes place in December.
The culture of Chitral has traces of Greek, Iranian, Tatar and Turkish influences due to its unique location and historical ties with Central Asia and Europe.
Tirich Mir, at 25,289 feet, is the highest peak of the Hindu Kush range. This lofty mountain peak can be viewed from the rooftop of any hotel in Chitral in clear weather.
The idea of the Chitral Museum emerged in order to preserve its rich cultural heritage. The museum houses two galleries, the Ethnological Gallery and the Archaeological and Kalash Gallery. The Ethnological Gallery displays artefacts showcasing the culture and manner of life of Chitral Valley. Its rich collection of traditional ceramics comprises wooden and stone cooking pots, teapots, pitchers, bowls, spoons, trays, etc. The Archaeological and Kalash Gallery houses the cultural materials and archaeological antiquities of Kalash valley. The Chitral Fort is a fortification in Chitral town and is situated on the banks of the Chitral River.
As with most mountainous regions, winters in Chitral are cold and harsh, but summers are extremely pleasant. The average temperature in summer ranges from 24- 26 °C. January is the coldest month, with temperatures averaging 4 °C.
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