Preservation of Kalash remains will prove treasure for eco-tourism

By Zahiruddin

CHITRAL: The relics and remains of the period of Kalash rule over entire Chitral have escaped the attention of the archaeologists and the historians and their preservation and exposition can prove to be a ‘treasure’ for eco-tourism in the area and give a sound knowledge to those researching on the history.
An retired academician, Zaffar Ali Baig, said that the length and breadth of Chitral are replete with the sites pertaining to the Kalash era who ruled the upper as well as lower Chitral from 10th to 14th century A.D. but they are being consigned to oblivion.
He said that the major villages of the district have places named as ‘malosh’ while in the Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur, every village has a malosh in its outskirts which is a place of worship where sacrifices of animals are offered on the occasion of festivals.

The principal Kalash ruler was Cheo who ruled the area in 12th century during whose reign, the Kalash architecture reached its climax and he raised his forts in different major valleys of the district, he said.

Mr. Baig said that the houses of the period were found till the recent past which were known for their strength where pillars were found to have radius of many yards and one wondered how the beams of unusual thickness were raised without using lifting machinery of the present period.

He said that the Chew bridge dividing the city into two draws its name from the Kalash ruler Cheo but hardly any one knows bout the fact that the pedestrian bridge built by him stood there till 1970s when the present one was constructed.

Sunjik Khan Kalash from Birir valley, said that ruins of the forts of the former Kalash dynasty were still found in a number of places which had been razed to the ground by the forces of Shah Nadir Rais, the founder of Rais dynasty who were successors of Kalash.
He said that the Kalash-era forts were built on mounds which gave them an edge over the invaders to defend themselves and the ruins testifies the fact even now.

Some of the major towns in the lower part of the district including Sweer Drosh, Kalakatak, Ashrait, Sheshi Koh, Jinjirait Koh had the largest population of Kalash who were converted to Islam when the Rais ruler seized power.

One Haji Sahibgar Khan of Ayun village said that the Kalash were banished to the three adjacent valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur where they were allowed to live in peace as per treaty.

He added that the Kalash valleys, contiguous with Nooristan province of Afghanistan, acted as buffer zone between the Chitral state and Afghanistan which ensured peace in the area.

Ali Afzal Khan, a local tourist guide, said that a catalogue of the Kalash sites must be compiled by the department of Museum and Archives for the tourists who evinced a great interest in it.

Expressing his dismay, he said that the history has been so obscured that as a local person, he did not know any thing regarding the Kalash era except the Chew bridge.
He said that the Kalash people attracted thousands of tourists every year for their unique culture and ways of living and their archives needs to be preserved.

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2 thoughts on “Preservation of Kalash remains will prove treasure for eco-tourism

  1. What about the people of Urtsun valley who were Kalash till the 1940s ? how did they fit into this ? And what of the Kalash in Shishi koh who were attacked during a festival and some decided to dance of the dancing ground and in to the river below than to be forced to convert ?It is sad that these now converted peoples (Urtsun,Jineret and Shishi kuh ) are so desperate to do away with the past and erase all traces of there own heritage = a Kalash heritage they can be proud of .

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    • In 1960 the village elders of suwir valley ( between Urtzun and Jineret koh ) decided to never again use the Kalashi language of there tribe so as to entrench there Islamic conversion = all traces of there Animist past had to be cut out .How very sad that these people have been so tricked into being some thing they are not .

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