Kalash: The lost tribe of Pakistan


It is believed pagan minority of Kalashi people are descendents of Alexander the Great ,residing in the district of Chitral in Pakistan.Their territory was known as Kafiristan or ‘Unbeliever country’.The language spoken by the Kalash tribe is called “Kalasha” from the Dardic family of the Indo-Iranian languages.  The Kalasha community is focused in three valleys of Chitral namely, Rumbur, Brumbret and Birir. Today, the Kalash are known internationally with tourists because of their unique culture.The Kalashas have kept their long standing cultures and practices despite the fact that new roads and new technology often kill cultures such as theirs.

Kalashi people are polytheists who worship pantheon of Gods and Godesses and nature plays a significant role in their daily life.The culture of Kalash valley is entirely unique in it’s form.Kalashas love wearing bright-colored attire. Women wear long black robes. , adorned with lots of embroidered garments and jewelry made from shells other materials. They  celebrate lots of festivals inspired by seasons and farming, throughout the year.In their festivals music and dance are performed as a religious ritual rather than just entertainment. The Kalash celebrate four major festivals. These festivals are Joshi or Chilimjusht, Uchal, Phoo and Chowmos. The Kalash celebrate these festivals by offering sacrifices on altars, cooking traditional meals and dancing to traditional music during the week-long events.They thank their Gods and seek their protection from all evil through these sacrifices and festivities.

People of Kalash were once in a large number, around 200,000, but now only a handful of Kalashas remain about 3000 to 4000. The striking decrease in the population of Kalashas is due to the forceful conversion of these pagans to Islam.The Kalash are the last remaining people of their kind.The Kalash are protected by the government of Pakistan but their future is not certain ,especially if the religion declines in to theocracy.