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Chitrāl - An Introduction

Chitral TownChitrāl is undoubtedly the most romantic, captivating and enchanting place in the majestic Hindukush range. It is a mountainous area in the extreme north of Pakistan. The landscape of Chitrāl is extremely mysterious, with its steep harsh mountains, lush green valleys, beautiful meadows and big glaciers, which have made it one of the most difficult and inaccessible area of the world.

Chitrāl is divided into small valleys by the mighty Hindukush range. The highest peak in this range is Terichmir, which lies at a height of 25,263 feet, just 36 miles away from Chitrāl town, is called the palace of fairies. No mountain in the region is less then 4000 feet and more then 40 peaks have an altitude of 20,000 ft.

It is surrounded by the Wakhan, Badkhshan, Asmar and Nooristan area of Afghanistan in the north, west and south-west. On its southern boundary lies Dir. In the east lies Gilgit agency and Swāt Kohistan.

The district Chitrāl lies at an elevation of 4,900 ft, from the sea level. The total area of Chitrāl is 14,850 sq km(Ibid) situated b/w 35 15 & 37 8 N and 71 22 and 74 6 E. The total population of Chitrāl is 318689 according to 1998 census report.

The weather in Chitrāl is extremely harsh and cold in winter while the summer is very pleasant. There are certain famous places and valleys in Chitrāl like Garam Chashma valley, Booni, Golen valley, Madaklasht valley, Arandu, Birir, Rumbur and Bumburate, which can be called certainly as paradise on earth. The latter three valleys are the Kālāsh Valleys these are the repository of one of the unique culture and mysterious history of the world. This culture is certainly the residuary of the pre-historic age. To the local people it is Chitrāl, while for the ancient people and other people it is Qashqar or Kashqar. The people of Chitrāl are called Khow with a great ethnic diversity.

In the pages of history Chitrāl was known as an independent princely state. After the independence, Chitrāl 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.

It lies at the junction of old Chinese Empire, Indian Empire, the Ex-Russian Empire and Afghan kingdom. It came under the consideration of British Empire, when after feeling the sense of Russian danger; the British government of India sought new friends in mountainous range and tribal belt. Then major John Bidulph visited the country in 1876 and reported the government of India, about the utility of Chitrāl. So friendship between the British and Chitrāl started which resulted in the famous Chitrāl incident of 1895.


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