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Chitral or Chatrāl ( ), translated as field in the native language Khowar, is the capital of the Chitral Districtmarker, situated on the western bank of the Kunar River (also called Chitral River). The town is at the foot of Tirich Mirmarker, the highest peak of the Hindu Kushmarker, 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 .


The easiest access to Chitral is in the southwest along the Chitral/Kunar valley towards Jalalabadmarker. This route is open all year and provides direct access to Kabulmarker. However the Pakistan–Afghanistan border (Durand Line) prevents this being used as an internal route to Peshawarmarker and the south. The other routes are over mountain passes. To the south, the Lowarimarker Pass (3,200 m or 10,499 ft) leads 365 km (227 mi) to Peshawar. In the north, the easiest route during summer runs over the Brogholmarker Pass (3,798 m or 12,460 ft) to Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridormarker, however during winter this route is usually closed. To the east, there is a 405 km (252 mi) route to Gilgitmarker over the 3,719 m (12,201 ft) Shandurmarker Pass. And in the west, the Dorah Passmarker provides an additional route to Afghanistan. The territory is home to rare falcons and the snow leopard, and is cut off by snow from the rest of the country for six months a year, a problem soon to be relieved by the completion of the Lowari Tunnel which will reduce transit time to Chitral as well as allow the district to be connected to the rest of the country even during the cold winter months.


The main languages spoken in this area of Pakistan are Khowar and about 13 other dialects. The people of the Kalash Valley speak the Kalash language. Urdu is widely spoken and understood in major towns and to some extent Pashto are also spoken.


The main tribe, the Khow, speak Khowar (or Chitrali), one of the Dardic languages, which is also spoken in parts of Yasin, Gilgitmarker, Ghizer and Swatmarker. Pashto language is also spoken and understood by some in the city. Chitral is 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 ten miles (16 km) down 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 sizeable population of Nuristanis, Tajiks and Uzbeks most of whom arrived from Afghanistan in the late 1980s.


Chitral is a sport loving town. Unlike the rest of the country where cricket dominates, Polo is most popular sport with football being the most played sport. A number of sport festivals and tournaments are held throughout the year. This includes the famous Shandurmarker 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 such as united sports club,star football club goldoor, Mogholandeh and many others.


Buddhist and Hindu period

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 Fortmarker for over a month in 1895.

See also


  1. "Crossing the Great Divide What could an American teaching and living in a remote Pakistani village learn from her students and neighbors? Plenty.", Cara Anna, Special to The Plain Dealer. The Plain Dealer. Cleveland, Ohio, January 23, 2005. pg. 11


  • Decker, Kendall D. (1992) Languages of Chitral
  • Durand, Col. A. (1899), The Making of a frontier
  • Leitner, G. W. (1893): Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being An Account of the History, Religions, Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other parts of the Hindukush, as also a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And An Epitome of Part III of the author’s “The Languages and Races of Dardistan.” First Reprint 1978. Manjusri Publishing House, New Delhi.

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