Things to Do in Chitral

Ultimate Guide to Chitral Adventure Treks

Chitral is a city in northern areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. This city is situated on Kunar River which is also known as Chitral River. This town is at elevation of almost 1490 meters (4900 feet). Population in Chitral is 49,780 according to 2017 census.

Among this population 42.47 % are Muslims, 33.33 % are Hindus while 22.47 % belong to Sikhism. Urdu is the official language of the town. 

The local language Khowar is spoken by 98 % of total population while another local language Kalasha is spoken by the rest of people. The average temperature here varies between –0.6 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius.

Chitral is surrounded by high peaks of Hindu Kush, Pine forests and fertile valleys which are drained by the Chitral River. Major crops include wheat, rice, maize, barley, grapes, walnuts, mulberries and apricots. The Chitralis are professional horse riders and experts at the game of Polo.

Top Places to Visit in Chitral:

There are various things to do in Chitral, let’s explore some famous places in Chitral that can make your tour better and joyful. 

Top Places to Visit in Chitral
Top Places to Visit in Chitral
  1. Kalash Valley:

Kalash valley, being the most traditional area in Chitral region, shares its borders with Afghanistan. People living in this valley are Non-Muslim. They have their own culture, traditions and festival.

They offer their traditional dress to their guests while leaving. 

The three main festivals celebrated in Chitral include Chilam Joshi (May), Uchau (Autumn) and Choimus (September). During the Chilam Joshi festival, Chitrali girls choose their future husbands.  

  1. Shahi Fort Chitral:

There is an enchanting fort, known as Shahi Fort Chitral, on the Chitral River near Shah Mosque. It was built in 14th century by Raja Nader Shah. The beauty and architecture of this fort makes it a must visit place for tourists. 

  1. Shandur Pass:

Shandur Pass is also known as “Roof of the World” because it’s the highest mountain pass between Chitral and Ghizer district of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. The road which leads to Shandur Pass is uneven, rugged and narrow. Every year in July, the “Shandur Polo Festival” is held here.

  1. Tirich Mir:

It is the highest peak of the Hindu Kush. Located in the Mulkow Valley of Chitral region, it is the highest peak of the world in the Himalayas. In Waki language, ‘Tirich’ means ‘Darkness’ while ‘Mir’ means ‘King’. Thus ‘Tirich Mir’ means ‘King of Darkness’. This name suggests because it creates shadow on the side of Wakhan. 

  1. Garam Chashma:

Garam Chashma is famous for hot/warm springs, trout and gems. Water of this Chashma is used for treating skin diseases and chronic headaches. For tourists, there is a specific area established for bathing. The water in this Chashma becomes hot because of sulfur deposits in it which raise the temperature of water to approx. 2600 degrees Celsius.

  1. Ayun Valley:

Ayun Valley being the most beautiful and lush green valley, is the gateway to the Kalash Valley. The two rivers Chitral and Bamburit pass through this valley. Water of Bamburit river serves as the source of electricity generation, irrigation and for drinking in the valley.

  1. Bumburet Valley:

This valley in Kalash is equipped with modern facilities. Being a commercial valley in Kalash, it is always crowded with a huge number of tourists. Famous Kalash festival, Chilam Joshi is held in Bumburet Valley.

  1. Mastuj:

Mastuj is a tehsil of Upper Chitral district in the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan. It is almost 2359 m high from the sea level. Ruins of old fort can be found in Mastuj.

  1. Rumbur Valley:

Rumbur Valley is situated in the north of Bumburet Valley. This valley contains many under developed villages. That’s why it captures the attentions of foreign tourists. 

  1. Chitral Gol National Park:

Chitral Gol National Park is situated on the banks of Chitral River. It takes almost 2 hours to reach the park from the Chitral city. The road which leads to this park is narrow and full of adventure. 

It is home to many animals like Ibex, Markhor, Black Bear Wolf, Himalayan and Red Fox. And aviation animals include Red Fish, Eagle, Golden Eagle, Rock and Thunder Bird. This makes the Chitral Gol National Park a must visit place.

Famous Things to do in Chitral

Chitral, having a unique cultural heritage, has various famous places to visit. Some of famous things to do in Chitral include Kalasha Valley, Chitral Valley, Chitral Go National Park, Shandur Pass, Tirich Mir, Chitral Fort, Rumbur Valley, Bumburet Valley, Karambar Lake, Garam Chashma, Tooshi Game Reserve and Pamir Valley. Besides these, various places in Chitral need to be explored.

Famous Things to do in Chitral
Famous Things to do in Chitral

Chitralis Unique Cultural Heritage:

Because of unique location and old linkages with Europe and Central Asia, the traces of Iranian, Tatar, Greek and Turkish culture together comprise the cultural heritage of Chitral. The land of Chitral is called ‘Kho’ by the Chitrali people and their major local language is ‘Khowar’.

Other languages that are spoken in Chitral include Urdu, Persian, Pushto, Gujari, Kalash, Dameli, Nuristani, Kirghiz, Dameli, Wakhi, Gawar-Bati, Yidgha and Phalura. The people of Chitral have a deep love with music. They are professional horse riders and their favorite sport is Polo. 

Chitrali people wear their traditional dress. Females wear black frocks that are heavily embroidered and wear a lot of jewelry. ‘Shuqa’ is the traditional long wool coat for men. The Chitrali people offer traditional dress to their guests which tells how hospitable the people of Chitral are.

The three main festivals celebrated in Chitral include Chilam Joshi (May), Uchau (Autumn) and Choimus (September). During the Chilam Joshi festival, Chitrali girls choose their future husbands.

Chitral is Famous for Gold

During 1974-75, mining was conducted for gold and silver reserves. Further investigations were conducted during 1980-81 by the USGS geologists in Awireth and Sewakht valleys.

Devonian-Jurassic rocks start from Darosh in the southern part of Chitral and it passes through Awireth and Sewakht valleys for about 37 km and are traceable to Shah Jilani pass in the extreme northeast of Chitral district for about 165 km. 

According to the USGS report, published in 1981, samples taken at intervals across 1.2 meters width of the vein contain large amounts of gold and silver as well as smaller amounts of tin, vanadium and other metals.

Best Time to Visit Chitral:

Autumn season is the best season to visit Chitral. October to November are considered the best months to visit Chitral. There is a pleasant weather with the best temperature in October. While in November, snow falling starts. Thus, these months offer best time to visit Chitral. 

Spring Season:

The spring season lasts from March-May. Spring season is the best time for escaping in vibrant flowers for amusement and freshness. The temperature here remains between 9-17 degrees Celsius during Spring season.

For nature and adventure enthusiasts, it is the perfect temperature to perform outdoor activities. During Spring, blooming of flowers is at their best, and there are enchanting scenic views of mountains and lush green trees.

Summer Season:

The Summer season generally lasts from April-October. In these months, there is excessive heat in plains. In order to escape from this heat and enjoy, Chitral is the best place to visit. June and July are the hottest months of Summer season in Chitral.

During these months, temperature goes up to 23 degrees Celsius. Summer season is the best time enjoy vacations in Chitral. Visitors enjoy soothing and relaxing experience among the green mountains.

Autumn Season:

Autumn season generally lasts from September to November. During these months, snow starts falling down on the mountains. There is a great scenic view of both snow and lush greenery.

In Autumn season, visitors find a pleasant weather in September and October while enjoy snowfall in November which makes it an ideal season to explore and enjoy in such beautiful weather conditions. 

Winter Season:

The winter season lasts from December to February. There is a lot of snowfall during winter season. Almost a layer of 7 to 8 feet covers the mountains and it seems that they are covered with white blanket.

Average temperature in Chitral during Winter season ranges between -3 to 5 degrees Celsius. Those who want to enjoy snowfall and want to enjoy and play with ice balls, find winter as the best season to visit Chitral.

Hotels in Chitral:

Chitral is a popular tourist destination in Pakistan. There are various five-star hotels and resorts which offer accommodation to Solo as well as for families. Some famous accommodations are:

  1. Ayun Fort Inn:

This accommodation is situated 3 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $54. Its rating is 4.5 out of 5.

  1. Tirich Mir View Hotel:

This accommodation is situated 12.5 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $49. Its rating is 4.0 out of 5.

  1. Chitral Guest House:

This accommodation is situated 6.6 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $45. Its rating is 2.0 out of 5.

  1. Drosh Resort:

This accommodation is situated 8.6 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $35. Its rating is 3.5 out of 5.

  1. The Jungle Inn Resort:

This accommodation is situated 10.3 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $16. Its rating is 3.5 out of 5.

  1. Chitral Continental Hotel:

This accommodation is situated 12.5 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $41. Its rating is 3.8 out of 5.

  1. Kalash Continental Hotel:

This accommodation is situated 5 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $34. Its rating is 4.2 out of 5.

  1. Mountain Inn Hotel Chitral:

This accommodation is situated 3 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $51. Its rating is 4.0 out of 5.

  1. Qashqar Heights:

This accommodation is situated 12.1 miles away from Chitral center having the facilities of restaurant and free parking. The prices start from $40. Its rating is 4.5 out of 5.

History of Chitral:

Chitral was occupied by the Buddhist ruler, Kanishka of the Kushan Empire in the 3rd century AD. Later, Chinese overran Chitral in the 4th century AD. From 1320, the rule of Raees began which lasted till the end of 15th century. In 1571, Chitral became the capital of the Katur Dynasty. After 1895, the British installed Shuja ul Mulk as Mehtar of Chitral. 

In 1947, after the British division of sub-continent, Chitral state was offered choice either to remain independent or choose one of the two states.

Initially, the people of Chitral decided to remain independent but later on they decided to become a part of Pakistan. During 1969-72, it was fully inaugurated as the Chitral district of Pakistan.

Chitrali Famous Foods:

Eating Chitrali food is one of main things to do in Chitral as Chitrali foods somewhat differ from other traditional foods in Pakistan. Although it is very similar to cuisines in its neighbor, Gilgit Baltistan. Chitrali cuisines are:

Breads:

  1. Paratha:

It is a flatbread made with wheat flour on tawa using butter or cooking oil.

  1. Tikki:

It is a thick mold which is cooked over coals in special molds.

  1. Khesta:

It is a sour taste bread which is made from liquid batter, first fermented and then baked.

  1. Phulka:

It is a standard chapatti of South Asia.

  1. Rishiki:

It is a pancake which is made using wheat flour, water and eggs. It is served with honey and cheese.

Dry Meat Dishes:

  1. Rondijhzu:

It is a roasted meat of goat or lamb after treatment with salt only.

  1. Taaw Kahak:

It is roasted chicken on a griddle by using extra pressure. It becomes dry and spicy.

  1. Taaw Macchi:

Fish cooked by pressure grilling method.

Soups:

  1. Kalli:

This soup is made by hand cut whole wheat noodles which are then mixed with small pieces of beef.

  1. Leganu:

Made with tiny lentil-flour dumplings and unlike most Chitrali cuisine it is often quite spicy.

  1. Lajhaik:

A thick soup made by mixing barley and wheat grains together with duck, lamb or beef.

Indigenous Dishes:

  1. Ghalmandi:

The layers of bread are filled with cheese, cottage, coriander and chives while covered in walnut oil or butter.

  1. Qalaibat:

This dish is made by cooking wheat flour with lamb fat.

  1. Shroshrp:

It is an unsweetened Halva made from wheat flour.

  1. Pushur Tikki:

A loaf of Tikki bread is cooked with meat fillings inside it.

Navigating Chitral:

To navigate Chitral, first you have to go to the capital city, Islamabad. From Islamabad, travel to Peshawar. Then continue to Dir and then towards Chitral. 

Chitral is approx. 400 km away from Islamabad. It takes about 9 hours to cover this distance. You can travel to Chitral from Islamabad by own car, rented car, bus and flight. The road before Chitral is curvy, steep and unbalanced. It is difficult to drive for those drivers who drive on plains.

Whether you are travelling as Solo or with family, you have to ensure safety. Families face a lot of difficulties while traveling. In order to overcome these hurdles, families should plan their trip with a reputed travel agency. There are a lot of Customize My Tour offering agencies.

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Plan the trip of your dreams with our customized packages tailored to your interests, preferences and above all, your budget.

Adventurer treks and tours is also one of them which offers great services and ensure safety for a Solo as well as for a family tour. Thus, if you are planning a trip to Chitral, you should go for Adventurer Treks and Tours which is a well reputed and highly rated travel agency.

Conclusion:

Chitral is an ideal place to visit for culture, nature and adventure enthusiasts. The culture of Chitral has traces of culture of Europe, Central Asia, Tatar, Greek and Tukey. Its cultural legacy makes it a great place for tourists. 

Chitral is surrounded by high peaks of Hindu Kush, Pine forests and fertile valleys which are drained by the Chitral River. Major crops include wheat, rice, maize, barley, grapes, walnuts, mulberries and apricots. The Chitralis are professional horse riders and experts at the game of Polo.

Kalash valley is the most well-known valley in the Chitral region. It shares its borders with Afghanistan. People living in this valley are Non-Muslim. They have their own culture, traditions and festival. They offer their traditional dress to their guests while leaving.

In short, Chitral is a must visit place for tourists because of its enriched culture and charming beauty of its valleys. 

FAQ’s:

What is the famous thing in Chitral?

Tirich Mir and Kalash Valley are the most famous things and tourist spots in Chitral.

What is the best time to visit Chitral?

May is the best time to visit Chitral and attend their cultural festival, Chilam Joshi.

What are the famous products of Chitral?

Chitrali Patti known as “Shu” in the local language is the famous product of Chitral. It is a pure hand-made woolen fabric in the natural shades of grey, white, black and brown and the distinctive walnut-dyed red.

Which mountain is famous in Chitral?

Tirich Mir is the highest and famous mountain of Hindu Kush in Chitral.

Are there any security risks in Chitral?

No, there are no security risks in Chitral. Chitral is one of the safest-place for tourists for Solo as well as for family tours.

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