Kalasha valleys Travel Tips
Foreigners must be in possession of a valid visa, and must register with the foreigners’ police section in Chitral town. Address: FRO (Foreigner Registration Office), near Chitral Police Station, Chitral town. Both Pakistanis will need to register with the local police check post upon entrance in the valleys. Pakistanis and foreigners must carry key identification documents upon their person at all times.
Majority of Muslim leaving in three valleys but you will find both communities are welcoming and friendly
Understand that some areas may be restricted or require specific etiquette. Seek proper advice from your guide.
Wearing “Shalwar Kameez” (traditional unisex Pakistani dress) will earn you more approval and respect.
The Kalasha speak a different language (‘Kalashamondr’) from the Muslim community, which speaks Khow’ar (‘Chitrali’), but there are overlaps. A fair number of people also speak Urdu, the national Pakistani language. It is helpful to learn and use some common words for communication in these three languages.
The common Muslim greeting is “Asalam-o-alikum, Salam” (May peace and integrity be upon you), and the common Kalasha greeting is “Ish Pata” (How are you?). The Kalasha reply politely to ‘Salaam’, it being a common Pakistani greeting.
The Kalasha women and children are easy to identify through their black-colored costume-like dresses. Muslim Chitrali women are rarely seen in public; if at all, they are dressed in normal Pakistani dress, often with faces covered. Muslim and Kalasha men dress alike, in the national Pakistani dress. Western dress is now worn mostly by the Kalasha youth. Kalasha men often wear a feather in their caps.
Do not disturb, tease, provoke or try to take advantage of women. You may greet welcoming ladies politely and respond to greetings. The Kalasha are occasionally festive. On an average day, they are engaged in household and field work duties.
It is polite to take small gifts to families you may be visiting. Household ladies will appreciate gifts of food items or other useful household appliances.
Engaging a local guide will benefit both you and the local community. A trained guide can guide you about aspects of local culture and community; other guides can lead you on treks or expeditions. The best place to find guides is at the office desks of local restaurants, guest houses or community centers. The reliability of ad hoc guides cannot be guaranteed.
If inquiring about the local culture, religion or tradition, ask politely with intent to understand and study. Attempt to inquire from trusted sources. It is sensible to refrain from argumentation or preaching. People found on the road may not be reliable sources of information or representatives of community.
Researchers, anthropologists, environmentalists, academics and others who wish to study and engage with community may find home-based guest houses and cottages. Please inquire.
Taste some traditional Kalasha red grape wine.
Bumburte is more picturesque valley and also more Kalasha people leaving in Bumburate valley @ Daras Guru, Anish, Brun, Batrik (the oldest village of Kalasha), and Krakal.
What to do?
Be considerate of the local culture
Wear appropriate clothing. Locals usually love to see foreigners wearing shalwar kamiz
Ask permission before taking photographs, especially of women or religious places, If you want to give a gift or a donation, hand it to a responsible, respected person, such as a schoolteacher or community leader or responsible tour operators.
When offered local food be humble and thankful. You are not expected to eat or drink food you may find unsavory—decline or pass politely. You can share some of your own food in exchange
Dispose properly of all your garbage. Burn papers, collect plastic, flatten tins and carry them out.
Hiding garbage under a stone is not an option! Leave your campsite in the state you found it.
Use gas or kerosene for cooking. If you need to use wood, leave a donation for the villagers.
Choose toilet sites at least 50m away from your camp and from any river or water source. Dig a toilet pit for larger groups
Avoid toilet paper if possible. Use water instead
Be an example to your guides and porters by following and explaining these guidelines and their reasons
What not to do!
IN VILLAGES/ON HIGH PASTURES:
Do not wear shorts or tight fitting shirts
Don’t hug or kiss in public,
Don’t take women photographs women working in the field
Don’t disturb wildlife by making unnecessary noise
Don’t hunt or kill any animals or pull out any plants
Never leave any garbage (esp. candy wrap- pers, cigarette butts…) on the trail or at campsites
Don’t use wood for cooking. If you need to use wood, collect dry branches from the ground – never break fresh branches!