PESHAWAR: The Chilam Joshi festival ended with great memories as hundreds of foreign and local tourists – including the visiting teams of 22 motorbikers from Malaysia – largely enjoyed the dance performances on tones of drums and pipes, local instruments that are famous for its melodious tones.
The festival concluded with many funfair and religious activities at the scenic Bamburet valley. The festival, which heralds the arrival of the spring season, was celebrated in the three Kalash valleys, including Bamburet, Birir and Rambur.
As part of the religious and cultural traditions, the local residents distributed dry fruits and other gifts among the visitors and guests. Rituals of marriages of young boys and girls were also held on a concluding day.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority under the aegis of the Tourism Department and the district administration of Lower Chitral had made all arrangements for the event to facilitate tourists and local residents to celebrate the festival in a befitting manner.
Special Assistant to the Chief Minister on Minority Affairs Wazirzada was the chief guest on the occasion.
Besides thousands of tourists and local residents, the event was also attended by Deputy Commissioner Chitral Lower Anwarul Haq and others.
The organisers said that this year the participation of local and foreign tourists was tremendous and that almost all hotels in Bamburet valley had been booked well before the start of the festival. The Malaysian bikers, domestic and foreign tourists, including French, Italians and Australians along with their families stayed in Chitral for several days and enjoyed the local culture, traditions, tourist attractions and festivals in the scenic valleys.
A group of 22 Malaysian motorcyclists also participated in the adventure tourism activities at the festival. The bikers praised the beauty of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa scenic sites and unique Kalash culture.
Before leaving for Garam Chashma, the Malaysian tourists visited the Qaqlasht meadows, Shandur Pass and the world highest polo ground in Shandur.
Of the three Kalash festivals, Chilimjusht, which normally lasts for three to four days, is considered to be the most important and longest one. Young girls and boys sing and dance in groups in community halls, houses are decorated, and the Kalash people wear new clothes specifically made for the event.
The main feature of the festival is the selection of life partners for unmarried boys and girls. They dance to the traditional music and drumbeats and thank god Goshidai as they believe it protects their herds during spring and summer seasons.
The Kalash girls spend lavishly on the purchase of clothes and ornaments for the event and the occasion is being used to show off their financial wealth. Such festivals are being highlighted to introduce the serene valleys, ensure the access of local and foreign tourists to the beautiful sites of the province, and provide them with better facilities during their stay.
Earlier, the festival simultaneously kicked off at the scenic Bamburet, Birir and Rambur valleys in Lower Chitral district.