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Chitral – Kalash

In the foot steps of Alexander

Altitude: MIN 610 m to MAX 3734 m

Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights

Best Season: June to End of September

Route: Islamabad-Chitral- Kalash- Mastuj-Ghizer-Gilgit-Karimabad-Islamabad

This trip is especially organized for those, who love to see variety of natural beauty, cultural heritages and history from below. The trip from Islamabad to Chitral and Kalash valley is going to be an exciting one. Here you will find people who are rare in the whole country. These people have completely different cultural heritage and their dress code is unique. You will enjoy their company and rituals. They are fond of dances and music. The extreme beauty of the valleys bring a joy apart. After this amazing trip you will take a different rout via Mastuj to Ghizer valley- one of the districts of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. From there we will move to Gilgit and then Hunza valley- the ultimate destination of tourists. Amongst the beautiful peaks and valleys, this spectacular place will give you an impression of how natural beauty is. Then ofcourse you will drive back to Islamabad and this memorable journey of 10 days will come to an end.

DETAILED ITNIERARY

Day 01

Arrival at Islamabad airport and transfer to hotel. (L,B)
After lunch local tour of Islamabad. (King Shah Faisal Mosque, Damane Koh and Old Raja Bazaar).

Day 02

Flight for Chitral, incase of flight cancellation, Drive to Dir.(2005 m) (223 km) (6 to 7 hrs) Overnight at hotel (B,L,D)
On the way visit of Taxila Museum. Taxila, situated 35 miles from Rawalpindi, was once the seat of Oriental culture. It was first mentioned as a seat of the Archenemies empire in 6th century B.C. It was invaded by Alexander the Great and passed along to other rulers until finally reaching the hands of Ashoka the Great, who molded the city into a center of learning. The creative Gandhara period followed shortly thereafter and Taxila remained the center of learning, philosophy and art. It came to a disastrous and pathetic end when sacked by the White Huns. Today, Taxila is an archaeologist’s paradise: there is a well-maintained museum here and eight sites scattered around a very short radius. Amongst the best preserved are Sirkap, Jaulian (the University).

Day 03

Drive to Chitral via Lawari Pass 3120 m). (197 km) (6 to 7 hrs)
En-route visit of CHAKDARA FORT, the Mughals built this fort in 1587. The 3118 m forested pass between Dir and Chitral is normally open to vehicles from June through at least October. It is incredible how the weather beaten road scrambles over it. The mega project of Lawari Pass is underway and it is expected that the area will get connected to the world from October 2008.

Day 04 Local exploration of Chitral:

Little is known about the history of Chitral. Alexander the Great marched through here in 326 B.C., leaving behind Greek traditions which to this day are reflected in the customs of the indigenous population. An early Sanskrit inscription records that the country was under King Kaipal of Kabul, a Buddhist king. After various short – lived regimes, the Mehtras came into power, and ruled the small kingdom for over three hundred years. The last Mehtra, Saifur Rehman, strained relations with the neighboring state of Dir by refusing to marry the princess. The Nawab of Dir threatened to march against the King, who thus threatened, turned to the Government of Pakistan for assistance. The state of Chitral was subsequently incorporated into the then new state of Pakistan. Chitral is a small valley that is overshadowed by the Trichmir mountain, 7708 m high, and divided into two sub- sections by the rapidly flowing Mastuj river. The city acts as a base for many trekking and hiking expeditions, and its pure mountain air attracts many who wish to relax.

Day 05 Drive to Bamboret. (2 hrs). Overnight at Hotel. (B,L,D)

Bamboret is the largest among the three Kalash valleys. There used to exist two distinctive types of Kafir (Infidels), the red and the Kalash (Black) until the end of the last century. The Red Kafirs were conquered by Amir of Afghanistan and converted to Muslims. The Kalash were however not harmed and to this day maintain their pagan rites. Rambur: A picturesque valley only 10 miles from Bamboret. Our guide will show you the hamlets of Balanguru & Kalashgram. A short but tiring walk up to the steep ridge is rewarded with an ancient Kalash temple decorated with wooden horses and human figures. The happy and jocund Kafirs are fond of dances and music. They worship and seek help from their gods only when they are in trouble.

Day 06 Drive to Rumbor. (1/2 hour). Overnight at hotel. (B,L,D)

Rumbor, which lies to the north of Bumburet, has fewer Moslem homesteads and sees fewer tourists. It is considerably narrower than Bumburet, and without that valley’s numerous shady meadows, Rumbor is rugged and majestic; the mountain ridges higher, the river much wilder. As there are few tourists, the Kalasha are less shy and less nervous. No one if asked, objects to having their photograph taken or asks for money for posing. Only seldom does the sound of jeeps destroy the peaceful silence of the valley. Again, at the very top end of the valley, there is a Nuristani village.Visit the unique culture of Rumbor, meet with people and see their living style with a different way.

Day 07 Drive to Mastuj. (115 kms) (3 to 4 hrs) overnight at hotel. (B,L,D)

Mastuj is located in the northern part of Chitral, about 115km from Chitral town. It lies at the left bank of Mastuj river and an old fort is located amid a broad valley. Mastuj is the center of the northern Chitral and from here via Shandur pass the road leads to Gilgit.

Mastuj became a part of Chitral formally in 1895 but before that it had rather a strong relation with Yasin and Ghizr and often was at war with Chitral. Here, you can see the fort in the center. The Mastuj fort lies in the open valley where Yarkhun river joins in Mastuj river. It is said that Kushwaqt, the brother of Shah Katur of Chitral, established himself in Mastuj in the 16th century and founded the Kushwaqt dynasty. Kushwaqt had a strong relation with Yasin and Ghizar territory then and often confronted with Chitral.

Day 08 Mastuj to Phandar Via Shandur Pass. (2800 m) (125 kms) (5 to 6 hrs) overnight at hotel. (B,L,D)

Shandur pass (3730m) is located between Mastuj and Phandar. There are a flat grassy plateau and two lakes at the top of the pass. Here every year in summer, a polo match takes place between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit. During the winter it is covered with snow and is usually closed from December to April.

Day 09 Phandar to Gilgit. (1500 m) (5 to 6 hrs) Overnight at Hotel. (B,L,D)

En route visit of beautiful Khalti Lake, and 5 kms before Gilgit visit of Kargah Buddha. A Buddhist survivor is the large standing Buddha carved on a cliff face in Kargah Nala in the west of Gilgit. It’s a 7th century built Buddha.

Day 10 Gilgit to Karimabad. (2500 m) (101 kms) (3 to 4 hrs)

In the morning visit of Gilgit old town and We will start on a newly reconstructed Karakoram Highway, wide and metal with the help of Chinese. Passing under the shadow of Rakaposhi, our two hour journey leads us to Karimabad, the capital of the former state of Hunza. After lunch at Karimabad visit to Baltit Fort and Karimabad Bazaar. Baltit Fort was the old palace of the Mirs of Hunza. It is 600 years old; 13th century made but over the centuries added more rooms and towers. Baltit Fort is built on a cliff edge; behind it is a ravine and then the Ultar glacier glinting in the sunshine. In 1945 the Mir of Hunza moved down to new constructed house. In 1990 the AKCSP (Aga Khan Cultural Service Pakistan) started restoration of Baltit Fort using advanced preservation principles and ended at 1996. Now it is open all the year for visitors. After Visiting Baltit Fort we have a short walk through Karimabad Bazaar. Here you see the Hunza famous antiques and local hand made handicrafts and carpets.

Day 11 Karimabad to Hoper and Back to Karimabad. (3 to 4 hrs) (44 Kms both way) Overnight at hotel (B,L,D)

Hoper is situated at 2800 m and 22 kms from Karimabad. Its a cluster of villages around a natural bowl at a bend of Bualtar Glacier. On the way you have magnificent views of the Golden Peak (7027 m) (sleeping beauty) and Ultar Peaks.

After lunch at Karimabad, 30 minutes jeep drives to Duiker (3000 m) (Roof of the world) for overnight.

Day 12 Duiker to Hosht trek. And same way back to Karimabad. Overnight at hotel (B,L,D)

In the very early morning wake up for sunrise. When there is sun rise, the sun light touches all the 7000 peaks, and it looks golden. From here you have breath taking views of all 7000ers peak of Hunza region.

After breakfast we will start a half day trek up to Hosht. (3 to 4 hrs) both way.

Day 13 Drive to Besham. (9 to 10 hrs) (458 kms) Overnight at hotel. (B,L,D)

The last day to say good bye to Hunza valley. En route photo stop at Sacred Rocks at Shatial.

Day 14 Drive to Islamabad. (272 kms) (8 to 9 hrs) overnight at hotel. (B,L,D)

En-route visit of Taxila Museum, situated 58 kms before Islamabad, was once the seat of Oriental culture. It was first mentioned as a satrapy of the Archenemies Empire in 6th century B.C. It was invaded by Alexander the Great and passed along to other rulers until finally reaching the hands of Ashoka the Great, who molded the city into a center of learning. The creative Gandhara period followed shortly thereafter and Taxila remained the center of learning, philosophy and art. It came to a disastrous and pathetic end when sacked by the White Huns. Today, Taxila is an archaeologist’s paradise: there is a well – maintained museum here and eight sites scattered around a very short radius. Amongst the best preserved are Sirkap, Jaulian (the University).

Day 15 In the morning transfer to Islamabad airport. End of services.