Photographer's Note

This is the second picture of the Kalash tribe series. The picture has been taken during the Joshi festival. More specific information about the festival will follow. First some other aspects of this unique indigenous Hindu Kush tribe.


The Kalash language is Dardic and part of the Indo-European linguistic family. Kalasha is an independent language and not a dialect of Khowar, as many claim. The language is considered 'endangered' by UNESCO, with only about 5000 people now communicating in the language. Oral traditions are now being preserved via the recent Kalasha alphabet created.


The Kalash people are unique in their customs and religion. In the 1970s there were a number of forced conversions. However, during the last two decades, protection by the Pakistani government has seen the Kalash double in number.

Kalash religion and belief system strongly resembles those of the Indo-Aryans and pre-Zoroastrian Iranians. They believe in a number of deities, demi-gods and spirits and a whole pantheon. Some of their principle gods are:

* Indr or Varendr: The rainbow and slayer of vṛtra or resistance.
* Jesṭan: Indra's demon-like counterpart.
* Munjem Malik: Lord of Middle Earth.
* Mahandeo: God of crops and war, and a celestial negotiator.
* Jestak: The goddess of domestic life.
* Dezalik: The goddess of childbirth.
* Suchi: The mountain fairies.

These deities are believed to be appeased with goat sacrifices. The Kalash priests or ištikavans are protectors of the shrines constructed around wooden or stone altars. Horses, cows and goats are sacrificed regularly. Wine is considered a sacred drink and prepubescent boys are treated with great respect.

Out of personal experience, I can strongly confirm how sacred and especially drinkable their wine is. More to come with the next picture...

ktanska, siolaw, mamcg has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Stefan Kieser (skalian) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 15] (118)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2007-00-00
  • Categories: Festivals
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2010-09-15 6:53
  • Favorites: 1 [view]
Viewed: 34025
Points: 6
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Additional Photos by Stefan Kieser (skalian) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 15] (118)
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