Chitral is a district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Province of Pakistan. The city of Chitral is the capital of the district. It is situated on the western bank of the Chitral River (also called Kunarl River) and at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak (25,289 feet) of the Hindu Kush Mountain Range. The district is administratively divided into two tehsils (subdivisions); Chitral and Mastuj.
Chitral city is 365 km from Peshawar and connected through Lowari Pass. The route is closed during winter and the town is cut off by snow from the rest of the country for six months in a year. Regular PIA flights from Peshawar and Islamabad operate on daily basis subject to weather conditions.
Beautiful Kalash people, having blond hair, fair skin, and green eyes, also live in Chitral District in three remote mountain valleys: Bumburet, Rumbur, and Birir. Some photos of Kalash people have been included in this page but for knowing further details about their culture and more photos, go to an exclusive page in this website: Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
Brief History: In the 3rd century AD, Chitral was occupied by Kanishka, the Buddhist ruler of the Kushan Empire. The Chinese captured the valley in 4th century AD. Then it was under Raees rule from 1320 to the 15th century. From 1571 onward Chitral was the capital of the princely state of Chitral under the rule of the Katur Dynasty. In 1895, the British negotiated a treaty with Chitral’s ruler, the Mehtar, and it was declared as a semi autonomous princely state within the Indian Empire. This status was maintained after its accession to Pakistan in 1947. Finally the princely state was abolished in 1969 and Chitral was made a district of NWFP.
This page shows the photos of Chitral district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. These beautiful images of Chitral are worth watching.
Tirich Mir Peak. Tirich Mir is the highest peak of the Hindu Kush Range, located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Tirich Mir overlooks Chitral town and can be seen from the main bazaar. Its height is 25,289 feet (7,708 metres). The mountain was first climbed in 1950 by a Norwegian expedition. Photo by Ajab Khan.
Shahi Masjid (Mosque) in Chitral
The Domes of Shahi Masjid Chitral with the Tirich Mir Peak in the Background
How to Reach Chitral? The best time to go to Chitral is summer (May to September). You can take a PIA flight from Islamabad or Peshawar. This 50 minutes flight operates 4 days in a week, subject to weather (Flight status and schedule can be checked at the official website of PIA: http://www.piac.com.pk/ ). You can also go to Chitral by road both from Islamabad and Peshawar. It takes around 10 hours from Islamabad to reach Chitral by road and about 7 hours from Peshawar.
A Panoramic View of Chitral Valley. Snow-covered Tirich Mir is also visible in the background.
A Beautiful View of Chitral Valley. Photo by Ajab Khan.
Chitral Airport. Chitral Airport is a small domestic airport situated 3.7 km north of Chitral town.
A Para Glider Flying Over Chitral Airport. Photo by Irshad Chitrali.
Wreckage of a PIA Fokker Plane at Chitral. This Fokker plane over-ran the Chitral runway during landing on 16 June 2004. It was piloted by Capt Aamir Faiz son of Gen Faiz Ali Chishti. The Fokker came to a stop in a wheat field when its nose and main landing gears broke after hitting the banks of a drain. No one was hurt.
PIA claimed damages from its Insurance company and the Insurance Company sold the plane to a company in Australia. The Australian company removed the two Pratt and Whitney engines and sold the rest of the plane to a retired PIA pilot Siraj Ulmulk.
He removed its 44 seats and put them in the Conference Hall at Hindukush Heights hotel owned by him. People attending conferences are quite amused when they see an ashtray attached to each of their seats! Photo by Tahir Khan Kayani.
A Beautiful Picture of Chitral Valley with Runway of Chitral Airport in the Middle Ground. Photo by Sheraz Malik.
Summer Palace of Former Mehtar of Chitral. Photo by Hector Salazar. Birmogh Lasht, located on a prominent ridge at an elevation of 2,743 meters (9,900 feet), has the summer palace of the former Mehtar of Chitral. The palace is 15 km from Chitral town and about 1200 metres above the town and valley.
Peshawar High Court Circuit Court in Chitral. On September 3, 2012, Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, Justice Dost Muhammad Khan, inaugurated the Circuit Court of Peshawar High Court (PHC) in judicial building, Chitral. It will provide speedy and easily accessible justice to the people of Chitral. The Chief Justice also heard three motion cases and two pre-admission cases as single bench.
Chitral Museum. Photo by Hector Salazar.
The Langlands School and College, Chitral. The Langlands School and College, Chitral, formerly known as Sayurj Public School was founded in 1979. Major Geoffrey D Langlands, a Briton educationist, has finally retired at the age of 94 and handed over the charge to 58-years old Carey Schofield in 2012. Read more about Major Geoffrey D. Langlands.
Hindukush Heights Hotel, Chitral. Hindukush Heights is the best hotel in Chitral. Tatler, UK, in its travel guide 2010 ranks it among “the best 101 hotels in the world”. The hotel is run by its owner Siraj Ulmulk, an ex PIA pilot, and his wife Ghazalla Ulmulk. Hindukush Heights has a branch of their hotel at Mastuj in northern of Chitral. For more details and reservation, please see their website (www.hindukush.com.pk).
Hollywood Actor Robert De Niro at Chitral in 2004. Robert De Niro (Hollywood actor, director and producer) is posed wearing a Chitrali cap while he was in Chitral in 2004. He stayed in Hindukush Heights Hotel.
Chitral Scout Mess at Chitral. A morning at Chitral. Photo by Tahir Khan Kayani.
Children Enjoying Snow in Chitral
Lowari Pass (or Lowari Top), Chitral – 20 June 1989. Photo by Noor Mohammad Khan. Lowari Pass (Elevation 10,500 feet) connects Chitral with Dir. Lowari Top is the lowest pass to enter Chitral, the rest all being 12,000 to 15,000 feet. The Lowari Top is one of the four major mountain passes to enter Chitral. The others are the Dorah Pass from Badakshan in Afghanistan, Shandur Top from Gilgit, and Broghol Pass from the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanista. Lowari Top is closed by snow for all type of traffic from late November to late May every year. In 1954, the Mehtar of Chitral was killed when his airplane crashed into Lowari Top. The Lowari Tunnel is currently being constructed beneath Lowari Pass by a South Korean company, SAMBU JV.
Lowari Tunnel, Chitral. It’s the first time that Lowari Tunnel remained open throughout the harsh winter of 2011-12. The 8.75 km long tunnel, which is still under construction, was built to reduce the distance between Dir and Chitral districts and ease movement of traffic throughout the year. More than 150 vehicles use the tunnel every day. Snow clearing machinery of FWO (Frontier Works Organization) works 24 hours to ensure smooth flow of traffic. Before the tunnel was constructed, people of Chitral had to make detours into Afghanistan while travelling to or from Peshawar because Lowari Top remained closed for six months in winter.
Shandur Polo Ground 2012. The Shandur Pass, elevation 12,200 feet (3,719 m), is located in District Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. There is also a beautiful lake in the area. The Shandur Polo Ground, the highest in the world at 3,700 meters, is a venue for a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The Shandur Polo Ground is about 168 Km from Chitral city and accessible by jeep. Gilgit is about 211 km from this polo ground.
Shandur Lake, Chitral. Lake Shandur is a beautiful spot on the border of Laspur Valley.
A Beautiful View of Shandoor Lake, Chitral District
Qaqlasht Festival in Chitral. The 4-day long Qaqlasht Festival is organized every year in mid April at the sprawling ground of Qaqlasht, 80 Km from Chitral town. According to local legend, Qaqlasht Festival is being celebrated for the last 500 years. Many sporting teams participate in a variety of games including cricket, football, volleyball, polo, Ghaluzchun Ghall (Polo without horse, more like a field hockey) Sia-Khaman (a shooting competition with an antique gun called Sia-Khaman)), falconry (an event where falconers exhibit skills of their falcons to hunt its prey), tug-of-war, athletics and paragliding. A Quiz competition for students, a poetry program, a cultural show and musical concert are also held.
Bow & Arrow Competition During Qaqlasht Festival in Chitral
Paragliding at Qaqlasht Festival at the Ground of Qaqlasht
Garam Chashma (Lutkoh Valley), Chitral. Lutkoh Valley, commonly known as Garam Chashma because of its hot springs, is 45 km from Chitral town and takes around 2 to 3 hours to reach by jeep. There are sulphur springs which have healing effect on skin diseases, gout, rheumatism and chronic headaches. For the convenience of tourists “hamams” (baths) have been constructed near the springs. Photo by Hector Salazar.
Hotel Innjigaan Located at Innjigaan (Popularly known as Garam Chashma). It is quite modest hotel but takes care of basic necessities. The best it offers is a very clean and healing outdoor Swimming Pool, fed by Natural Hot Springs. This hotel is owned by some local Prince. Photo by Tahir Khan Kayani.
Pathak Festival at Garam Chashma in Lutkoh Valley, Chitral. Lutkoh Valley, commonly known as Garam Chishma, celebrate its traditional cum religious spring festival of Pathak. Pir Nasir Khisraw, an 11th century spiritualist poet and Sufi philosopher came here to preach Islam. He went into 40-day spiritual solitude. His disciples believe that in his 40-day meditation, he attained spiritual enlightenment, and they celebrate Phatak Festival in the memory of this day of enlightenment that falls on the first week of February. For centuries this festival had been celebrated by all of Chitralis as a national event. But currently only people of Ismailia community celebrate it in Lutkoh Valley of Chitral district.
Tomb of Saiyedna Nasir Khisraw at Garam Chashma (Lutkoh Valley), Chitral
Majestic Building of Drosh Mess. This beautiful Mess building was constructed in 1915. Photo by Maj (R) Aamir Cheema.
A Mosque in Drosh
Mastuj Valley, Chitral. Mastuj is a Valley and Tehsil of Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. Photo by Hector Salazar.
Hindukush Heights Chalets at Mastuj Fort, Northern Chitral. Photo contributed by Siraj Ulmulk. Main branch of Hindukush Heights Hotel is located in Chitral town. For more details and reservation, please see the website www.hindukush.com.pk
Breakfast at Hindukush Heightsat Mastuj, Northern Chitral. Photo contributed by Siraj Ulmulk. For more details and reservation, please see the website www.hindukush.com.pk
PTDC Motel at Mastuj, Chitral
Tourists enjoying Yak Safari
A Snow Leopard in Chitral National Park. Chitral National Park (also called Chitral Gol National Park) is located in Gol Valley and Kafir Kalash land of Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. The word Gol in the local language means ‘the valley’. The Park is at a distance of two hours drive from Chitral town.
The snow leopard, an endangered species, lives in the mountain ranges of Central Asia. In Pakistan, their protected areas are Chitral National Park, in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province and Khunjerab National Park, in Gilgit-Baltistan Province. They live at the heights of 11,000 to 22,000 feet above sea level. Their base colour varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts.They have stocky bodies, thick fur, and small and rounded ears, all of which help to minimize heat loss. They have long and flexible tails, helping them to maintain their balance. Their tails are also very thick and covered with fur which they use like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep. The snow leopard cannot roar.
Naghar in Lower Chitral
A Yak in Broghil Valley, Chitral. Yaks are found in Broghil Valley.
Bridge to Yarkhun Valley, near Dizq Village, Chitral. This new bridge was opened in 2009. This bridge to Yarkhun Valley is located near Dizq village in Chitral district.
Yarkhun Village in Yarkhun Valley, Chitral. This photo is taken from Karimabad.
Lake Karambar, Yarkhun Valley, Baroghil Pass, Upper Chitral
Bridge Leading to Rech Valley, Chitral. Rech Valley is located in upper Chitral.
A Stream in Rech Valley, Upper Chitral. Look at the crystal clear water of this stream.
Kalash Women. The Kalash are indigenous people residing in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa . They speak the Kalasha language. They are related to the Nuristani people of the adjacent Nuristan (historically known as Kafiristan) province of Afghanistan. See more Photos of Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
Kalash Women during Spring Festival 2012. Photo by G.H.Farooqui. See more Photos of Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
Traditional Dress of Kalash Women. See more Photos of Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
Joshi (Spring) Festival in Kalash, Chitral. The Kalash people celebrate the end of winter in May each year with the Joshi (Spring) Festival. The first day of Joshi is Milk Day. People go from house to house, dancing and singing. Each household offers milk that has been saved for 10 days before the festival. As hours of dancing reach a climax on the final day, men and women separate in dancing areas and each take branches of walnut to wave as they dance. At the shout of a Shaman, they throw their branches in the air. Photo by Hector Salazar. See more Photos of Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
Kalash Museum. See more Photos of Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
PTDC Motel in Kalash Valley. The PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) Motel is located at Bumburet in Kalash Valley. It has 14 cozy rooms and a restaurant. Foreign tourists need a permit to enter Kalash Valley. The permit is issued at the entrance of Kalash Valley. See more Photos of Kalash Valleys of Chitral.
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