Culture festival kicks off in Chitral at 2,500m high

Islamabad: The historic Qaqlasht festival in Chitral is one of the best places to experience the vibrant culture, music and traditional sporting prowess of the mountain communities of Pakistan’s Hindukush and Karakorum region.

This 2,000 years old festival is celebrated by the people of Chitral every April.

The four-day Qaqlasht festival (April 12-15), taking place 2,500 metres above sea level at a tourist resort near Booni, in Upper Chitral, attracts a large number of spectators.

This year the festival was inaugurated by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Irshad Sudhar, along with famous artiste Dul Khan and noted sitar player Mir Wali.

The ceremony was attended by a large number of people, including tourists and students.

Speaking on the occasion, the deputy commissioner Irshad Sudhar said Chitral was a paradise for tourists.

“The scenic district is a treasure trove of culture, beauty and above all an exemplary peaceful environment for tourists to enjoy,” he said.

He invited national and international tourists to visit and enjoy the natural beauty of the lush green valleys, with snow-capped mountains and multi-hued landscapes, as well as the rich cultural heritage of the serene hills.

To encourage the youth to take part in healthy activities, Irshad personally kicked off the event with a rock climbing activity.

The festival includes different sports competitions including cricket, football, hockey, polo, table tennis, volley ball, archery, paragliding, zip lining, rock climbing, skeet shooting, marathon race and tug of war.

Also included are sports activities for the physically challenged persons.

The event featured traditional food stalls, cultural show, and music night which attracted many youngsters.

However, some locals complained that the festival should have been organised a few weeks later as the otherwise lush green meadow of Qaqlasht looked dusty at this time due to lack of rain.

Briefing the participants about the programmes and activities, Sultanul Mulk, chairman Jashan-e-Qaqlasht committee, said a grand music night would also be part of festival featuring traditional dances and chorus. It includes performance of reed music instrument (flute) and pure Chitrali sitar as well as folk dance ‘chong righishi’ and ‘tatali wawali’, and ‘mamashish.’

Mastuj Tehsil Nazim Fakhruddin also spoke on the occasion highlighting the importance of the festival.

‘Jashan-e-Qaqlasht’ (Festival of Qaqlasht) is a centuries old festival of the people of northern Chitral with a history of more than 2000 years. The festival of the indigenous mountain communities was revived in 2003 when Jashan-e-Chitral festival for celebrated after 27 years and Jashan-e-Qaqalsht after nearly 35 years.

The culture of the Pakistan’s communities in the mountains of Chitral gives the message of peace, friendship, hospitality and tolerance.

This year’s fiesta has been jointly organised by Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) and district administration Chitral while Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP), Telenor, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, Tehsil municipal administration Mastuj sponsored the vibrant event.


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