Chain of festivals yet to be exploited for the
promotion of tourism
CHITRAL: The cultural diversity of Chitral is associated with a
chain of festivals whose timings pertained to all the four seasons
of the year but these are yet to be exploited for the promotion of
The persons related with tourism sector in different capacities
complained that except for Kalash festival Chilim Jusht and Shandur
polo festival, no other festivals are publicized by the government
to attract the tourists.
Zahid Ashraf, a former college teacher, described some of the
festivals as Gobor festival , Baroghil festival, Shandur festival
held in summer season, Phindik, Ghari Khomik of autumn, chitramas
of winter season, Kagh Lusht festival, Pathak Dik and Nowroze of
He said that some valleys of the district present a very and
captivating view in the autumn when the tree leaves turn yellow,
pink and red while a number of valleys like Terich, Oveer, Melp,
Yarkhoon and the villages of Booni looks like covered by yellow
blanket and it last for more than two weeks.
Mr. Ashraf said that this season has never been showcased either by
the tourism department of the government or by the people of
tourism industry while it was marketed in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Regarding the essence of the festivals, he said that they depicted
the socio-cultural life of the local folk and it was heartening to
note that they have been well amalgamated with the cultural traits
of modern time.
He said that bull fighting competition is one of the events of
ghari khomik festival in many villages which is still a popular
game in Europe as well and there are numerous such events in the
festivals to be prime importance for the tourists.
Shamsud Din, the local head of a development organization, said
that most of the festivals last for three to five days during which
the local cuisines and costumes are showcased while a segment of
the tourists have been evincing interests in the material culture
of the area.
He said that with the completion of Lowari tunnel and its
inauguration in June next year as announced by the prime minister
last week, the scenario will change in the sector of tourism as the
approach to Chitral valley will not be a problem to be reckoned
Presently, the tourists used to come here with the advent of summer
season but the Lowari tunnel will present an all-weather route to
Chitral making their turn out possible for the winter and autumn
seasons as well.
Shahzada Sirajul Mulk, the founder chairman of Chitral Association
for Mountain Areas Tourism (CAMAT), said that all the festivals
have great attractions and fascinations for the eco-tourists coming
from different countries and there is an urgent need of hard and
fast schedule fixed for them by the government.
Citing the examples of the famous Kalash festival Chilim Jusht and
the Shandur festival, he said that it attracts a large number of
tourists only due to the reason that it is fixed from May 12 to 17
which is a perennial schedule and a tourist from Europe intending
to come here knows when this festival is held.
Mr. Mulk said that 80 percent increase in the number of tourists is
possible by planning a fixed calendar for the festivals at least
for five years by the government which can be disseminated by the
tour operators but presently, a tour operator is not able to tell
his client (tourist) definitely about the events.
When contacted, the district nazim Maghfirat Shah said the district
government has a comprehensive strategy in the anvil to exploit the
potential of tourism industry to its full.
He admitted that at the moment the industry of tourism was in
disarrayed and haphazard shape and there was a need to prepare a
calendar of the local festivals and events and have them publicized
and make arrangements for tourists to participate in them.
Mr. Shah said that we can fight the core issue of unemployment
among the youth by promoting the tourism industry and it is due to
this reason that district government is making its own plan.