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Chitral: A Land of Culture and Adventure

I'm confident that you'll be inspired to venture to Chitral yourself and explore its wonders firsthand.
by TNN Editor - 11 Aug, 2023 1753

Seema Sabah

Today, I am sharing an unforgettable trip from my travel diary—a journey to the stunning valley of Chitral.

It was June when we embarked on our exploration of Chitral, a land rich in culture and natural beauty. The drive from Peshawar to Chitral took us approximately 7 hours, made easier by the Lawaritop Tunnel that opened in 2018. This tunnel, connecting Dir and Chitral, is acclaimed as the longest tunnel in South Asia and Pakistan.

After a captivating 7.5-hour drive, filled with captivating sights along the way, we finally reached our destination—Sweer Lasht, just beyond Lowari Top.

The towering, verdant mountains of Dir present a distinctive and challenging terrain for hiking enthusiasts. With steep slopes and rocky summits, the region offers a rewarding trekking experience. From the mountaintops, the panoramic views are simply breathtaking, revealing the awe-inspiring landscape that surrounds Chitral.

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The Chitral Mountains, although not towering in height, captivate with their unique charm. While the daytime temperatures match those of Peshawar in June, Chitral's nights offer a refreshing and chilly respite.

Gazing from our vantage point, we were treated to the splendid sight of snow-capped peaks, particularly the majestic Lawari Top, its summit soothing and serene. This vista not only reduces stress and anxiety but also fosters a sense of relaxation and tranquility.

The people of Chitral have left a lasting impression on me—humble, affectionate, and leading simple lives. Renowned for their hospitality, they embody rich cultural traditions and norms. The tapestry of Chitral's population comprises diverse ethnic groups, each contributing unique traditions and customs, resulting in a vibrant local culture.

Additionally, let me share some delectable insights into Chitrali cuisine, particularly the mouthwatering "Chitral Cousins." Among them, the standout is "Bratt," a layered bread made from flour and filled with luscious walnut paste, then baked on coals. With its robust crust, Bratt can be stored for weeks and is often enjoyed for breakfast—both nutritious and delicious. Furthermore, Chitral boasts other bread varieties like Tikki, Khests, Pulka, and Rishiki.

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The chilly climate of Chitral is conducive to soups, which play a significant role in local cuisine. Various soup varieties are featured as main dishes in Chitrali meals. The region's culinary specialty lies in its dried meat dishes, such as Rondijhzu—spit-roasted goat or lamb seasoned solely with salt—along with Taaw kaha k and Taaw Macchi.

Chitral is equally renowned for its top-quality dry fruits, including almonds, walnuts, pistachios, raisins, pine nuts, dried apricots, and berries. These treasures are exported to different parts of the country, contributing to the area's economic activity.

After reading my account of Chitral, you'll gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for this remarkable region. I'm confident that you'll be inspired to venture to Chitral yourself and explore its wonders firsthand.