Chitral (Urdu: چترال, Khowar: چھترار; also known as Chetrar), translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River (also called Chitral River), in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, which is 25,289 ft (7,708 m) high. It has a population of 20,000, while the district (of 14,833 km² or 5,727 sq mi), has a population of 300,000. The altitude of the valley is 3,700 ft (1,100 m).It is situated north of Dir, east of Nuristan and Kunar, south of Badakhshan Province and west of the Gilgit Agency.
In the Khot Valley there are big wooden carts called Charpai, locally known as Takht, which are kept at Baithaks. You can find these Takhts in all chowks, baithaks and houses. Normally peoples sit on Takhts in the evening and on holidays. There they discuss their daily personal, social and political issues in a friendly environment. The biggest Takht of the world is found in Khot Valley Chitral, Pakistan.
Chitral District is situated in Malakand Division, lying along the Afghanistan border. It is connected with the Dir District via the Lowari Pass. (See Chitral Geography)
The general population is mainly of the Kho people, who speak the Khowar language (or Chitrali), which is also spoken in parts of Yasin, Gilgit and Swat. Chitral is also home to the Kalash tribe, who live in Bumburet and two other remote valleys southwest of Chitral town.
The Norwegian linguist Georg Morgenstierne wrote that Chitral is the area of the greatest linguistic diversity in the world. Although Khowar is the predominant language of Chitral, more than ten other languages are spoken here. These include Kalasha-mun, Palula, Dameli, Gawar-Bati, Nuristani, Yidgha, Burushaski, Gujar, Wakhi, Kyrgyz, Persian and Pashto. Since many of these languages have no written form, letters are usually written in Urdu or Persian.
The district is administratively subdivided into six sub tehsils which contain a total of 24 Union Councils: Chitral is represented in the National Assembly and Provincial Assembly by one elected MNA and two elected MPAs respectively who represent the following constituencies.
Division of Malakand
Chitral district was officially split into Malakand Division in 1969. Until 2000 both districts continued to he administered by a single deputy Commissioner stationed at Chitral in Chitral Town, as funds were not available to provide the accommodation needed at Chitral town by government departments at a district headquarters.
The main tribe, the Khow, speak Khowar. Chitral is also known for the famous Kalash tribe polytheist native inhabitants that ruled the region for centuries later invaded by "Khow". The Kalasha reside in an enclave of three remote valleys west of Ayun, which is 10 miles (16 km) down[vague] from Chitral town. The Chitral culture is Islamic and contrasts considerably with the urban cities of Pakistan as well as the adjacent district of Gilgit. Women are nearly invisible except to their male relatives and other women. They avoid walking the streets of the town, so men or children do most of the shopping. Travel requires the company of a close male relative and sometimes the wearing of a burqa. There is also a small population of Nuristanis, Tajiks and Uzbeks most of whom arrive from Afghanistan seasonally for trading.
Unlike the rest of Pakistan where cricket dominates, polo is the most watched sport, and soccer is the most played sport .A number of sport festivals and tournaments are held throughout the year, including the Shandur polo tournament held at the highest polo ground in the world. Around 15,000 people travel to Shandur for the tournament, which lasts around a week.
Chitral has also produced some national players such as Muhammad Rasool who plays for the national football team. There are many football clubs in Chitral.
- Chitral News
- ChitralToday (chitraltoday.net)
- Chitral Times
- Chitral Vision
- Weekly Chitral
Buddhist and Hindu period
Chitral was a Hindu country before the extension of Islam, and traces of Buddhism are also found.
A British garrison, sent from Gilgit to oversee the smooth transition of power to the heir apparent after a ruler was murdered, was besieged in Chitral Fort for over a month in 1895. Frontier corps public school Drosh Chitral also working in chitral since 1992.