Kalash- the Chilam Joshi festival

Misbah Jamal 

Located in the Chitral district of Pakistan, Kalash is a valley with the most distinct culture and beauty, which captivates and enchants you. With the waterfalls, to the connection to the ancient Greek civilization, and the lush greenery, the Kalash valley is an ideal place for one to visit.

Where these natural factors account for being the reason why it is a tourist spot, there is another major reason why people wish to visit Kalash. It has three major festivities that attract the attention of many all over the world. With the display of their culture at its peak, the people of Kalash celebrate their existence through three major festivities, namely the Joshi festival in mid may, the Uchau is autumn and the Caumus in mid-winter.

Each has its historical importance that makes it stand out from the rest of the cultural festivities. The pastoral god Sorizan protects the herds in fall and winter and is thanked at the Caumus Festival, while Goshidai does so until the Pull/ Uchau festival, and is thanked at the Joshi.

Joshi/ Chilam Joshi

Chilam Joshi event in Kalash is the most popular event. The event is based on three days that takes place on the 13th, 14th and 15th of May, where the people of Kalash and those from other parts of Pakistan take full part in celebrating the festival. The first day of the festival is started off with people decorating their homes with flowers and leaves, making it standout with the colorful sequence presented. The following day, people of Kalash celebrate by travelling to their fields to spread the goat milk that has been stored 10 days prior the festival, on their Gods. During the third day, they visit the graveyards of their dead ones and the elders of the community send the day telling the tourists about the ancient legends of the valley.

Through these practices, they believe that the Gods will bless them and their pasture in the following year due to being satisfied by the sacrifices made.

These three festivals are known to attract major tourists from all over the world. With the inflow of tourists, Bhutto, a manager of a hotel in Kalash says that the hotels are booked till the following week, where people after taking part in the festival, use the time to discover Kalash and live in its beauty. It has become a major source of income for the people of Kalash and they believe that these festivals bring upon more tourists and the opportunity for people to appreciate not only the culture of Kalash and not shunning their way of living.

Kalash is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan that has captured the attention of many. It’s time its beauty and culture is appreciated for what it is and steps are taken to promote tourism in that Valley.

To book hotels in Chitral you can visit www.jovago.com

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