Photographer's Note

A pretty kalash girl.

The Kalash people live in three valleys between Kunhar river and the Afghan border, these valleys of Birir, Bomburet and Rumbur are on the edge of the monsoon belt so the vegetation is dense with giant walnut trees and fruit trees draped in grapevines overhanging swiftly flowing streams. Lush green fields on the valley floor grow wheat, barley, vegetables and fodder, and the steep 3000-meter ridges between the valleys are covered with evergreen forest right to the top.
The Kalash love music and dancing and perform different dances for their various festivals, which are celebrated in May, August, November and December.
The 3000 Kalash living in about 20 villages were once part of much larger group living in neighboring Afghanistan, but the Kalash of Afghanistan converted to Islam and the place is now called Nuristan. The Kalash of Chitral still follow their own religion a mixture of animism, ancestor and fire worship and have retained some of their original culture. They make offerings to several Gods each protecting a different aspect of daily life. Sajigor the highest God is in charge of everything, Surisan protects the cattle, Goshedoi the milk products and Praba looks after the food.
Kalash women wear black woolen robes like old-fashioned nuns. They hang multiple strings of beads around their necks and plait their hair into five narrow braids, which stick out from under a magnificent headdress, made of black material covered with rows of cowrie shells and assorted buttons and crowned with a reddish woolen tasseled pompom.
Most of the Kalash are pale skinned and some of them even have fair hair
and blue eyes all of which give rise to the usual legend that they are descended from the followers of Alexander the Great. Some historians maintain that Alexander did actually go to Chitral and he was certainly in nearby Dir.

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Additional Photos by Aldo Antoniazzo (traveller47) Silver Note Writer [C: 1 W: 0 N: 32] (590)
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