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Chilam Joshi festival in Chitral sees low turnout of tourists this year

Arif, a member of the Kailash tribe, expressed disappointment over the low turnout of tourists this year.
by TNN Editor - 15 May, 2023 1685
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Zahid Jan Dirvi

The annual Chilam Joshi festival of the Kailash tribe has kicked off in Chitral, but this year's festival has seen a significant decline in the number of local and foreign tourists, according to local sources.

In the Rumbur, Birir, and Bumburet valleys of Chitral, Kailash women, children, old men, and men dressed in traditional clothes and hats perform a traditional dance to the beat of drums. The festival, which started on May 13, is expected to continue till May 17.

Arif, a member of the Kailash tribe, expressed disappointment over the low turnout of tourists this year. He said that the festival is usually a major attraction for domestic and foreign tourists, and its decline in popularity this year is likely due to ongoing political tensions and uncertainty in the country.

Tourism is a major source of income for the locals of Kailash, particularly those involved in the hotel business. Yasir Kailashi, a local hotel manager, said that the low turnout of tourists this year has significantly affected their business.

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However, Assistant Commissioner Chitral Adnan Haider Maloki reported that by the evening of May 14, a total of 600 tourists had arrived in the three valleys of Kailash, including 141 foreign tourists and the remaining domestic tourists. He also assured that strict security measures have been taken to ensure the safety of both tourists and locals during the festival.

Commissioner Malakand Division, DG Tourism, Deputy Commissioner, and other senior officials have also visited the festival to show their support.

In response to rumors circulating on social media, the Assistant Commissioner clarified that no fee is charged for tourists to enter Kailash, and visitors are free to explore all three valleys of Kailash without any charge.

Despite the decline in tourism this year, the Kailash tribe remains committed to preserving their cultural heritage through the Chilam Joshi festival.