Lakeshore City

Kalash Cultural Preservation Project Launched in Pakistan

January 17, 2024

PESHAWAR: Over the weekend, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province of Pakistan’s Directorate of Archaeology and Museums began its “Preservation and Promotion of Kalash Valley” initiative.

The goal of the Rs60 million ($543,000) project, according to Nawazud Din, research officer at the directorate, is to both draw tourists and preserve the distinctive culture of the ancient Kalash community, an endangered minority in the Hindukush mountain range of northern Pakistan.

“There is a lot of potential for tourism in Kalash,” he told Arab News, adding that both domestic and foreign visitors would find the region to be quite interesting.

The architecture of the Kalash is a singular fusion of medieval figure painting techniques and traditional woodworking. Beautifully carved wooden pillars and beams adorned with human and animal effigies, each representing a different tale or superstition, are a common element of Kalash architecture.

The region, which is separated into the three main sub-valleys of Barir, Bamboret, and Rumbor, is renowned for its indigenous handicrafts, which include the weaving and spinning of carpets, rugs, belts, and headwear. There are currently a little over 4,000 people living in the valley, according to Sayed Gul Kalashi, manager of the Chitral Museum. Activists from Kalash have also expressed alarm about how quickly that number is declining.

The valley has been home to the Kalash tribe for many years. 

Most people think that the people are descended from the warriors of Alexander the Great. In fact, Kalashi revealed to Arab News that the villagers were taken aback by the similarity between themselves and their guests when a group of Greek nationals came into the valley a few decades ago.

She claimed that the subsequent Greek visitors gained the respect of the locals by “working for the welfare of the locals.” They established a museum in Bamboret and started health and education initiatives “because the area is underdeveloped and lacks basic amenities.”

Irshad Sadhar, the deputy commissioner of Chitral, informed Arab News that in order to preserve cultural heritage sites, local officials have outlawed the buying or selling of land in the Kalash Valley.

In addition to “creating places for tourists too,” he said, “we are preserving their places of worship, graveyards, and where they usually dance during their festivals.”

Keep visiting the Lakeshore City Website for further updates.

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