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In Pakistan known as the Chitrali cap, is a soft round-topped men’s hat, typically made of wool and found in any of a variety of earthy colors: brown, black, grey, ivory or dyed red using walnut. Pakol is a Khowar Chitrali word and is derived from the word Khoi which means hat in Khowar. Another Khowar name for the hat is Khapol. The cap’s origin are debated upon with a theory of a possible origin in southeastern Europe, however the general consensus among historians and ethnographers is for it to have originated from Nuristan in Afghanistan. The woolen cap has been the staple headgear of the Chitrali people for centuries. The main source of production is Chitral in Pakistan which is also located at the center of its range. It is also worn in Gilgit-Baltistan, Dir in Pakistan and also by Afghans such as the Pashtuns, Tajiks and Nuristani people. Nuristan is a major region where it is imported from Chitral.

Topi is Pukhto for Cap. Some people also call a cap Pakol. The origins of this popular topai or topi may have been from the Chitral area of Pakistan but it has become the defacto official headgear of Pukhtoons in Pakistan.

Chitral Valley

Chitral located in the North West of Pakistan is a beautiful valley in the Hindukush range of Mountains. Chitral is a small town with a one single street bazaar and a few tourist class hotels. At the end of Bazaar on the right (River side) there is the Chitral fort and Palace of Mehtar (Mir Or King) In front of the Fort is the Jami Mosque of Chitral an impressive architecture with beautiful and decorations. Chitral District is the largest district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan, covering an area of 14,850 km². Part of the Malakand Division, it is the northernmost district of Pakistan. It shares a border with Gilgit-Baltistan to the east, with Kunar, Badakshan and Nuristan provinces of Afghanistan to the north and west, and with the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa districts of Swat and Dir to the south.

History

Historically Chitral was known as an independent princely state. After the independence, Chitral was the first state to declare the accession to Pakistan. In 1970, it was declared as district of Pakistan and attached to the Malakand Division. One of the major attractions of Chitral are the Kalash valleys-the home of the Kafir-Kalash or “Wearers of the Black Robe”, a primitive pagan tribe. Their ancestry is enveloped in mystery and is the subject of controversy. A legend says that five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of Macedon settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir-Kalash. The 3,000 strong Kafir-Kalash live in the valley of Birir, Bumburet and Rambur in the South.

Chitrali Culture

The culture of Chitral bears traces of Greek, Iranian, Tatar and Turkish influences due to its unique location and historical links with Central Asia and Europe. The Chitrali people call the land of Chitral “Kho” and their language is Khowar. Persian is spoken only Madaglasht Valley. Other languages spoken in Chitral include Kalash, Gujari, Nuristani, Dameli, Wakhi, Kirghiz, Yidgha, Gawar-Bati and Phalura.

The tradition of hospitality can be observed throughout northern Pakistan but in few places it is offered as generously as in Chitral. Chitralis also have a strong musical tradition. The Chitrali sitar, a string instrument, can often be heard at many places and family gathering. Polo is the most popular sport in Chitral which has attained dary status. Matches are festive occasions, inevitably many tourists. The world famous Shandur Polo Tournament is held between Gilgit and Chitral every year from 7th to 9th of July at Shandur Pass near Laspur Valley.

The unique culture of Chitral is closely linked to that of Central Asia and China instead of South The study also includes the historic military sites and indigenous tribes (Kalash) in the ingredients of cultural heritage. The woolen fabric of Chitral, locally called shu, and walnut-wood furniture are popular in handicraft markets throughout the country. Traditional cap (khapol) and gown (chugha) are popular while the typical Chitrali shoes (khon) resemble the long riding boots. The study places music and dance at the heart of Chitrali culture. Chitral’s rich and varied musical tradition is part of the fabric of everyday life while Chitrali sitar is famous throughout the world and the traditional dances, such as dani and sauz are part of the folk heritage of Central Asia.

Marriage:

Marriage is an important event which is celebrated with great joy. The Chitrali marriage involve different sub-event and ceremonies as below:

 Wachik (marriage Proposal) , Gali Botaik (Engagement) ,Pahatak or Ishperi ( Giving meal to villager),Nikah & Maher  Ruzayo Angeik (Marriage),Xheri (Celebration),Ishtok (Musical Programming) ,Koli Bar (Stuff brought from bride’s house) ,Ghechi Naik (Taking Back to her parental place).

Music:

Music is very important part of local society. Music is played during different celebration and events. Some of the musical instruments includes Sitar, Dol (Drum), Sunai (Local Trumpet), Damama (Chitrali Tabla), Beru (Flute), Gharba (Rubab). 

Dresses:

The people of Chitral wear simple dress consisting of Shirt, trousers during summer season. Shalwar Kamez, Kapur (Chitrali Cap), Shoqa (Long woolen coat), Girwan Bazuri (Traditional women dress). They also wear beautiful head dress made from shells, buttons and twinkling bells. Its weight is about four pounds and their burden is carried out joyfully.

Famous places of Chitral

Trich Mir

This lofty mountain peak is the highest of Hidukush range. Tirich Mir can be viewed from a higher place of Chitral Town (Like roof top of the hotel where you stay) in a clear weather. It can also be viewed from the palace of Chitral’s King. This mountain is also highest in the world apart from Himalaya and Karakoram ranges.

Governer Cottage

This is another beautiful building of Chitral. One can easily view Tirich Mir from here in a clear weather.

Barmoghlasht

Barmoghlasht is a beautiful and charming resort. It is situated 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) from Chitral. It is definitely a place worth visiting.

Koghazi and Goleen

Fourteen kilometers from the town of Chitral; Koghazi and adjacent Goleen are literally a piece of paradise on the earth. This is a valley of flowers, fruits, lush green meadows, canals, waterfalls, springs, and beautiful landscapes.

Chitral Museum

Chitral Museum with antiques, weapons and other stuff from the old times of monarchies provides great knowledge about history and culture of Chitral and Kalash people.

Shahi Qila (Shahi fort)

Shahi Masjid of Chitral was built in 1924 A.D. It was built by Shujaul Mulk, the Mehtar of Chitral (1895 – 1936). The mosque is famous for its strong and cultural architectural style.

Polo Ground

Polo is a famous and perhaps most favorite game of Chitral. There are many polo grounds in Chitral; the famous one is in Chitral Town. A visit to polo ground will provide you with information about interesting game of polo, and if you are lucky then there might be match going on that you can enjoy.

Shandur is the highest polo ground in the world, there is game of polo is played between Chitral and Gilgit in every year of July. The game originated in the dim and distant past in the high mountains of the Hindukush and Karakurum ranges. Amongst the horse loving peoples of Chitral, Gilgit and Hunza.

Garam Chashma

Garam Chashma is a natural hot water springs located in Birmoghalasht, Chitral Distict, Pakistan. This un-spoilt enchanting valley of orchards, verdant fields and snow clad peaks is renowned for its boiling ulphur springs which are famous for healing effect on skin diseases, gout, rheumatism and chronic headaches. For the convenience of tourists “humans” (baths) have been constructed near the springs. 

 Ayun

Ayun is a village of Chitral district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is located along the Chitral River down towards Lowari Pass. Mountains surround the village and the Bamborate River runs the length of the village. The river is harnessed by a local contractor to generate electricity for both Ayun and Broze villages. Bamborate River is the lifeline of Ayun as it provides water for irrigation, drinking and electricity.

Booni

Booni, a valley of high mountains, fresh clean waters, green fields, playgrounds, trees and pastures is situated one and a half hours drive from Chitral town. Booni is a valley of highly mountain green farm lands etc. Chitralis the name of a whole district as well as the main town of this district. It draws its name from a tribe known as Chetar. In Khowar, Chetar means a tribe or farm, for the tribe was built upon a big farm.

Chitrali Festivals

  • SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL

Passion for Polo is at its highest on the world’s highest Polo ground. Every year the tournament is held at Shandur Pass. Visitors are invited to experience a traditional polo tournament between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit July 7th to the 9th.  The festival includes folk music, dancing, a camping village set up at the Pass and numerous other activities to enjoy such as fishing, horseback riding, mountaineering, hiking and exploring.

  • KALASH FESTIVAL

Celebrated in Chitral during mid-April every year. The festival is called Jashn-E-Qaqlasht dates back to the time immemorial. This event used to be organized by the Rais rulers of Chitral and was continued by the succeeding Katoor family. The Kalash are cheerful people, generous, witty and fond of rejoicing and merry making. Their women folk have an outgoing manner that is disarming, delightful and unexpected.

  • THE ZHOSHI FESTIVAL

Zhoshi is the name of Kalashamun festival. It means spring or blossom. The festival derives its name from spring season because it is celebrated in the month of May every year. 

The Zhoshi festival, which heralds the arrival of spring, will commence from 14th May in the three Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur. Of the three Kalash festivals, Chilim Jusht lasting for four days is considered to have prime importance. 

  • THE CAWMOS FESTIVAL

The festival Chawmos is celebrated to mark the end of the year’s fieldwork and harvest season. It is celebrated when the month called “Chawmos mastruk” starts. Chamos is also called “ghona cawmos yat” which means, the great memorial cawmos festival. This festival is celebrated after the Kalash finish all their fieldwork and store all the sources of their basic needs. It is the last festival of the year.

  • SARAZARI FESTIVAL

Darasguru is a small village in terms of population but the Kalash peoples here are very delighted and celebrating their festival with religious zeal.In this celebration the young generation under the supervision of some elders go to the high place where this celebration is always celebrated, there they make fire at two places one for women and one for men. Then the ceremony is begun with the offerings and a prayer on the both places someone washes hands and then the offerings are burnt and prayed. After this boys and girls sings the correspondent songs. They go from house to house singing and dancing.

Chitrali Food

Chitral is a very rich culture and many dealisious foods. The make by the chitrali people in home. The people of chitral are very hospitable. They will happy when the guest come in their home. When the guest come in home the make chitrali food for it.Most of the chitrali food make from the cow milk. The most common is (chera sapik) first make thin bread and put the milk inside it and also village oil or ghee on it. Chitrali dry food is also good. In dry food walnut grow in large number dry the apricot and nut of apricot also.

Chitrali Music

Chitral is a rich and fertile land for different cultural values and music is one of them. Chitrali people are very found of music and it is part and parcel of their daily life. Chtrali music is an embodiment of love, praise and complaint of the nature and also reminding of the past happenings. Chitrali people love music and every important day will be incomplete without it. Besides vocal singing flute and drums are also components of Chitrali music. The land of Chitral has produced versatile singers and some of the immortal names are Muhammad Siyar (known Masiyar lal in Chitral), Amir Gul Amir and presently Mansoor Ali Shabab. Mansoor Ali Shabab has put a new energy and spirit into the chitral music. He has also introduced Chitrali music in foreign countries.

The Chitrali music traces its roots back to Central Asian musical traditions, especially those of Tajikistan, Bokhara, Kashghar and Afghanistan. In the traditional music of Chitral, many song- called Bashaonu- have been sung for many centuries. Many songs and tunes in the music of Chitral are associated with the name of the poet, composer or region.

Chirtali Wildlife

Chitral is the home of some of the most rare wildlife species.

  • MARKHOR

The markhor is a large species of wild goat that is found in northeastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, some parts of Azad Kashmir and Chitral. The species is classed by the IUCN as Endangered Species, as there are fewer than 2,500 mature individuals and the numbers have continued to decline by an estimated 20% over two generations. It is the national animal of Pakistan and is famous of eating snakes.

  • YAK

The yak is a long-haired bovid found throughout the Himalaya region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. Most yaks are domesticated and primary source of Milk, Leather and Meat products for people of Chitral and suburbs.

Besides all these things, Chitrali caps (chitrali topi) is one of the most popular cap of Chitral all over the world. Offerpk offers you the best quality, original, made with pure material, handmade, low price high quality chitrali caps in Pakistan.

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