Uchal Kalash Summer Festival
|Festival Dates||15th December – 22nd December|
A perfect trip for those who are enthusiastic in studying the life styles and ancient customs of the Kafir Kalash tribes living in three isolated valleys of Bumboret, Rambur and Birir in the heart of the Hindukush mountains. We begin the trip from Islamabad the Capital of Pakistan. Visit the impressive Faisal Mosque with its unique architecture; explore the colorful Bazaars of Rawalpindi.
Then we drive on the Grand Trunk Road to the ruins of the excavated city of Taxila, one of the most important Buddhist sites in the Indian Subcontinent dating back to the 6th century BC to 7th century AD. We will pay homage to the impressive archeological Museum, the three main excavated cities of Taxila, Bhirmound, sirkap and sirsukh.
Drive to the beautiful and historic swat valley, famous as the seat of Buddhism from the 2nd century BC to 9th century Ad. Explore its ancient excavated sites and visit the excellent Museum in Saidu Sharif and travel through lovely mountain villages to explore the upper reaches of this valley.
We drive on jeeps through the mountain village of Dir up to Lawari Pass, 3118 meters high and enter the isolated valley of Chitral. travel through the lovely mountain landscape to reach Chitral town that offers a commanding views of Tirich mir (7708 meters) the highest peak of the Hindukush Range.
Then we visit the ancient Chitral Fort and the Mosque before heading to the Kalash valleys where the ancient tribes of the Kalash Kafirs are residing. These tribes are famed to be the descendents of Alexander’s army, which passed through here in 327 Bc. Visit the Kalash valleys of Bumboret and Rambur to meet the people and visit their villages and houses to learn about their ancient customs and beliefs.
On the first day of this great adventure we will start by exploring Islamabad in the afternoon. We will visit Heritage Museum to understand and explore the culture of multi nations living in Pakistan. Afterwards we will have lunch and go ahead to explore Pakistan Museum. Later, we will visit Faisal Mosque, the famous landmark of the city and then continue to drive towards the highest view point of Islamabad (Pir Sohawa/Daman e Koh). We will also explore Super Market and after a taste of traditional food we will call it a day after having a scoop of ice cream from a famous ice cream shop.
This day we will set towards Swat which is a beautiful hill station in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province formerly known as NWFP. We will drive on the newly constructed motorway that has shortened the journey from Islamabad to Swat. Swat was a former princely state and also a center of Buddhist Civilization centuries ago. We will explore the white palace, archaeological sites of ancient Buddhist civilization and the bazar.
Today we will set from Swat to Chitral. We will travel through the Lowari Tunnel which is about 10.4 kms long that connects Dir and Chitral. In the past before the construction of the tunnel the passengers travelled via Lowari Pass and more over the Chitral Region was disconnected from rest of the country for 6 months. We will reach Ayun this day. Ayun is the closest villages to Kalash Tribes and also a beautiful valley to experience and explore the place. Our stay will be in the Ayun Fort that has beautiful biological gardens and its location offers a bird eye view of the valley and river. We will spend the night at the Ayun Fort.
Today the participants will set towards Rumbur Valley to experience the Uchal Festival. They will explore the valley. They will experience the rituals of Kalasha Tribe. There will be a lot of music and dance going on, participants can blend in and dance on the beat with Kalasha Tribe.
On this day we will start exploring the Bumburet Valley. We will visit the local museum. The Kalash Graveyard and the Town Centre. Later we will join the mega festival as all the tribes will gather in Bumburet. We will dance, do photography and interact with the Kalash Tribe and experience this unique culture firsthand. Later we will travel to Chitral and stay at night in Pamir Hotel alongside the Chitral River.
Today we will explore Chitral Town. We will visit Chitral Fort the capital of ancient kingdom of Chitral. The region was ruled from this fort. Later we will visit Shahi Mosque of Chitral which is in the premises of the fort. We will then travel to Birmoglasht which is on the mountain top. It offers a bird eye view of the valley as well as we might have a sighting of Markhor that are indigenous to this region. We will have lunch at Birmoglasht on this day. If there is an ongoing polo match in Chitral Town we will visit the polo ground and experience the thrilling polo event. Later we will explore Chitral Bazar. We will have dinner in the hotel.
On this day we will travel from Chitral Town to Mastuj. Mastuj is main village of Yarkhud Valley that borders Gilgit-Baltistan on one side and Afghanistan on the other. We will travel passing many villages of Chitral along the river gorge. Once we arrive in Mastuj we will take a walk around the village, meet and greet local village and community. We will stay in Mastuj for the following night.
On this day we will travel from Chitral to Gupis which is also known as Khalti. Khalti is part of Ghizer District of Gilgit – Baltistan Region. We will travel via Shandur Pass and drive through many villages of Laspur. We will make a short stop in Shandur where we will experience the high alpine Shandur Lake and the Shandur Polo Ground which is the highest polo ground on the planet. We will pass through high land pastures and meadows of Barsit, Langar and Teru. We will also make a short stop at Phandar Valley which is lush green and has a very beautiful still lake. Upon arrival at Khalti, we will check in to hotel and after some rest we will go to explore the nearby villages and take some good photographs on the Khalti Lake. We will have Trout Fish as one of our cuisines on this day.
On this day we will travel from Khalti to Gilgit. Gilgit is the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan Region. Upon arrival we will check in to hotel and have some rest. After the lunch we will go to visit Kargah Nala and the famous Buddha Carving. Later we will go to explore the Gilgit Bazaar and will taste the “Mantu” (Dumplings). We will relax and stay at Gilgit for the night before we start the journey to the “ Land of Legends” – Hunza.
This day will be different and exciting as we will be travelling to Hunza now. Let me tell you that Hunza is a full package that offers beautiful scenery, glaciers, high rising mountains, lakes, culture, heritage, an international border and the 8th wonder of the world that is called the Karakoram Highway. As we start our journey on the Karakoram Highway, we will see the old silk route used for trade which was made centuries ago. We will make a stop at Rakaposhi View Point, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and feel the breeze coming from the Mother of Mist. As we travel ahead towards Hunza we will have a view of magnificent peaks from the window seat and as we arrive in Karimabad. The view of Rakaposhi will stun every nature lover as this ultra-visible peak will glance over your head. We will visit Baltit Fort and Altit Fort this day and also explore Karimabad Market and later we will visit the famous Eagle’s Nest View Point to experience the sunset over the mighty peaks.
On this day we will travel to Northern Hunza, we will do boating in the Atabad Lake. The pristine glacial water and the color of lake with the barren mountains will leave you stunned. We will continue travelling further passing through many villages of Upper Hunza and enter Khunjerab National Park at Deh. We will experience the amazing journey on the Karakoram Highway. On our return we will stay at Passu.
On this day we will start our day by walking around the Passu Village. We will experience people working in the field we will also visit a local house to experience the architecture and way of living of the Wakhi Community of Pakistan. We will visit Borith Lake another alpine lake with beautiful colors. We will also take a walk on the Hussaini Suspension Bridge to experience the thrill of the mountains. We will further travel to Hopper Valley and get stunned with its beauty. We will hike to Batura Glacier. On this night we will enjoy dances and music of people of Hunza.
The guests will depart to Besham or Naran (depending on weather and other variables) from Hunza. If we take the road to Besham, we drive through Chilas and Dassu travelling along Indus river on Karakoram Highway. However, we will try to return to Islamabad via Naran road/Babusar Pass (4,173m). This will give our guests the opportunity to explore additional locations. Our guests will spend the night in Naran or Besham.
On this day we will travel to Islamabad from Islamabad. On our way we will visit Taxila Museum and ancient Buddhist sites from Gandhara Civilization. We will then continue to Islamabad which is on a distance of 45 minutes from Taxila and have our farewell dinner at Monal Restaurant.
Everything good thing has to come to an end. This is the day when we finally bid farewell to our guests and fellow members. The tour ends this day. Transfer to airport.