Posted by: ziasalik | December 11, 2009

My travels around Chitral 2008

I took so many pictures while I was in Chitral in the summer of 2008 and so here are a few to share with you.  They are taken all over, them the capital Chitral itself and then there’s photos which were taken in all different parts, in villages, on the road and while walking through random fields and what not.

Posted by: ziasalik | December 10, 2009

Welcome to Chitral

Chitral, my birthplace, is a bright and lush town which has flourished through the valley along the banks of the Kunar River, also known as the River of Chitral.  It is the capital of the Chitral District and sits at the foot of the Terich Mir Mountain, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush.  At a towering 25,000 feet, the Terich Mir provides an amazingly picturesque backdrop to the natural beauty of the valley.

Looking accross Chitral town with the Terich Mir in the background

The town itself isn’t all that big.  It only has a population of about 20,000 people.  The actual district on the other hand is massive.  Its about 14,000 square kilometres and all in all, has a population of about 400,000.  All this area is very rural and green.  It is not at all industrialised and free from any sort of pollution.  The only emissions you’ll find are from the jeeps that make their way across the valleys and over the mountains but they are very few and far between.

Chitral was once a tourist hot spot for all off Pakistan and the rest of the world to explore.  It attracted thousands of visitors each year from all corners of the earth who were always intrigued by its beauty, its simplicity, its culture and its people.  Many would return several times and would build close and long lasting friendships with local families and business people.  From speaking to some visitors from Holland, Australia, Germany and Italy, the one thing that they all mentioned was the hospitality of the people there.  You can be from anywhere, speak any language, follow any faith but you will always be welcomed in Chitral.  It is unthinkable for someone to come visit our town and leave without being treated to tea and produce from the local bakeries or home cooked bread followed by a meal.

Unfortunately, because of the recent unrest in the area, tourism has dropped dramatically.  Even those people who have been coming back to Chitral year on year have stopped because they are too scared they may get caught up in the fighting which is going on in the Swat and Dir areas as this is usually the path they would take to get to Chitral.  It is a real shame because its affected the livelihood of many who would sell produce to tourists, act as guides, drivers and so on.  It was a healthy business to be in, and now hardly any one comes to these parts.  Such a shame.

Chitral is not a rich place but the people have big hearts and will always look after you.  The best thing about Chitral is that everything is natural.  You know that your food will be fresh, the water is clean and the air is crisp.  The weather in summer is beautiful and there isn’t the humidity that you experience in most of parts of Pakistan.

Situated in the very mountainous North West region of Pakistan, close to the Afghan and China borders, its not easy to get to.  But once you are there, you realise that it is well and truly worth the effort.  Whether by plane, coach, jeep or on foot, Chitral is one place you must visit at some point in your life.  The place I still call home.

Upper Chitral