“Chili Joshi / Chilimjusht” the spring festival, in the middle of May lasts for four days. The spring festival honours the fairies and also safeguards the goats and shepherds before they go to the pastures. Before the festival, the women and girls gather from all over the valley and decorate their houses. Inside the houses, local wine and milk products are shared. The women then sprinkle milk on Goddess “ Jestak “ the protector of their children and home. The festival begins at Rumbur where the Shaman ( soothsayer) and tribal chiefs lead a procession to the “ Malosh altar”, high above Grum, to sacrifice goats to the Gods. Later the festival moves on to Bumboret and ends up at Birir, a few days later. Every religious ceremony is accompanied by dancing and rhythmic chant to a beat of the drum. The women wearing their traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled headdresses and adorned with coloured necklaces, dance in a circle. Then the men join in: it may be a man and a woman or a man in the middle with a woman on each side, lovers being free to intermingle. On hand is held around the waist of the partner and the other around the shoulders. Tribal chiefs in colourful dresses narrate stories of bygone days and events.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Arrive in Islamabad. A representative of Karakorum Adventure will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. This representative will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to the hotel in Islamabad. Discover the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi. Rawalpindi is an old British -era settlement and Islamabad is the capital city and administrative centre built some time after the partition of India in elevation in 1947. The cities are Located at about 1,500 feet in elevation in the hot and steamy plains of Pakistan’s upper Punjab. You may wish to explore Rawalpindi by wandering among its many and varied bazaars, or visit the imposing Shah Faisal Mosque superbly situated at the foot of the Margalla Hills. This mosque is one of the largest in the world, with room for 15,000 worshippers inside and 85,000 in the courtyard. This day we will attend a trek briefing at the Alpine club of Pakistan.
Fly to Chitral, over the fertile green plains of valley of swat and Lowari pass (3,200m). The landscape of Hindukush range appears much arid and dry, as this area is outside the reach of monsoon and receives very little rain.
Chitral located in the North west of Pakistan is a beautiful valley in the Hindukush range of Mountains. It has always been a very important route for many invaders to south east Asia, Including Alexander the great Scythians, Mangol Changez Khan and numerous others. Chitral is a small town with a one single street bazaar and a few tourist class hotels. At the end of Bazaar on the right (River side) there is the Chitral fort and Palace of Mehtar (Mir Or King) In front of the Fort is the Jami Mosque of Chitral an impressive architecture with beautiful inlays and decorations.
Overnight in Hotel
Day excursion to Gol National park Chitral. Chitral Gol National Park is one of the National Parks of Pakistan. It is located in Chitral District in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan beside the Chitral River, at a distance of two hours drive from Chitral town. The park is also known as Chitral National Park. Up until 1983, Chitral Gol was considered to be the private property of the former Mehtar of Chitral. The status of the park has been in dispute since and has become the issue of ongoing litigation between heirs of the former Mehtar and the Government of Pakistan. The way leading to the park is quite narrow and dangerous, yet riskier during the rainy days. It is located between 1450 metre and about 5000 meters above sea level. It has an area of 7750 hectares.
This park includes three valleys. Several glaciers also lie in the park through which several springs make their way and ultimately form a stream which runs 18 kilometres. The cold water of this stream flows towards the east, into the River Chitral. The park is rich in trees particularly cedar trees. The park also serves to provide shelter to a vast bio-diversity, especially markhor, an endangered wild goat species. The subspecies, which are found in the park include the Astor markhor. Despite a decline from over 500 to only around 200 individuals in the park during the 1980s, Chitral National Park still holds the largest population of the Astor markhor in the world. Also, present in the park in small numbers are the Siberian ibex, Ladakh urial, as well as the Asian black bear. The snow leopard does not appear to be a permanent resident of the park but is sometimes seen there. The Tibetan wolf, red fox, yellow-throated marten and Himalayan otter are all found in the park. Common birds in the park include the bearded vulture, Himalayan vulture, golden eagle, demoiselle crane, peregrine falcon, Himalayan snowcock, Himalayan monal, snow partridge and rock partridge
Overnight at the hotel.
One of the major attractions of Pakistan Cultural Festivals are Kalash Valleys Festivals. The Kalash Valleys of Rumbur, Bumburet and Birir are within Chitral in the North-West Frontier Province, near Nuristan in Afghanistan. The people here are some of the only non-Muslims for hundreds of miles. The home of kafir Kalash or wearers of the black rose, a primitive pagan tribe. The Kalash are an ancient tribe and have a religion and culture of their own, their culture is unique as well as an amazing one. A legend says that one General Salik Shah, who was called by the Greek as General Sulfurous with five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of MACEDON, settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir Kalash. The Kalash are infamous for their festivals; these folks know how to let their hair down in style. There is much dancing where the elders chant legends with drum accompaniment and the women dance around outside. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. Kalash People celebrate three main festivals in the year.
Overnight at the hotel.
Kalash valley is found in Chitral, Pakistan and is considered to be one of the oldest valleys of Pakistan. They used to speak primaeval Greek lingo. Still, Chitrali people like all other people from various regions of Pakistan celebrate and live their own culture and custom. It is a sort of spring festival that is held for more or less four days in the mid of May, particularly on 13th to 16th of May, every year. Actually, it is a part of Kalash Festival which is comprised of 5 separate events. Joshi or Chilim jusht is one among them.
A purpose of celebrating CHILIM JUSHT or JOSHI festival in Spring is that it is the season of cultivation and harvesting, and their cattle also get plenty of fodder in this season. It is started by the plucking of preliminary flowering by Kalash girls. With these flowers, women decorate their homes and valley. This event is characterized by the folk dancing, singing folk music and swap over of cuisine, dairy products, flowers; home mauve etc.
Women of Chitral valley wear their customary black dressing gowns; flamboyant cowries crusted top garbs and titivated with tinted chokers. Men also join them and they used to dance in a circle. Dancing can be of both sorts; bachelor men & women can dance, and the couple can also dance in a freer manner. The head of tribe use to describe the old days tales about the traditional and customary events.
Joshi is celebrated as a religious perspective too because it is believe of the local area residents that in this way they could ask God for His blessing for the betterment of their cultivations, protection of cattle and steers. Goats are also sacrificed to God. They have believed in many gods and goddess, and they seek blessings from all of them. One can really enjoy visiting Kalash valley and to be a part of famous Joshi festival.
Overnight at hotel.
Phander Valley in Ghizer District is one of the most scenic valleys with easy access both from Gilgit and Chitral. It takes 9 to 10 hours from Chitral to reach Phander valley which is commonly called “Little Kashmir”. Phander Lake is one of the most famous tourist spots in the entire region. Phander valley was the breadbasket for the whole Northern Areas. The name of Ghizer comes from the name of a village ‘Ghizer’ that is situated in the vicinity of Phander. The deep blue lake in Phander offers a magnificent view and is basically the home of trout fish.After crossing Shadur pass we will enter to gilgit baltistan province and will go through Shandur polo Ground where every year a polo tournament helds which is famous as shandur polo festival.Shandur Polo Festival is one of the big festivals in Pakistan. This festival is held from the 7th to the 9th of July every year on Shandur Pass in Giza District of Gilgit Baltistan. The polo match is played between the teams of Chitral District and districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, is a freestyle game.
The initiation of Polo in Shandur is credited to The balti raja of Skardu; Ali Sher Khan Anchan who built the polo ground of Shandur as well. Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the local teams of Gilgit and Chitral. Organized and financed by the Tourism Corporation of NWFP, the tournament is held on Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700 meters (the pass itself is at 3,800 meters). The festival also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up. The polo tournament is featured in the first episode of Himalaya with Michael Palin.
Various teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan have always played the game of polo closest to its original form. During the early 20th century, the British in neighboring India were the patrons of the game.
Free-styled mountain polo is arguably polo in its purest form. This version of the game played at Shandur-Top has attained legendary status and is of great interest to international and domestic adventure tourists alike. There are no umpires and there are no holds barred. The rules are: There are no rules! In “The Roof of the World” Amin/Willets/Tetley write: “by comparison, an American Wild West rodeo might pass for choir practice.” As one player once mentioned: “You can ride head-on into the opponent, if you dare.”
In order to decide the final teams to play at the Shandur Polo Festival preliminary matches are played both in Chitral and Gilgit, in which the best horses and players are chosen for the final games by the local juries. The festival begins on the 7th of July . During the course of the tournament A, B, C and D teams of Chitral and Gilgit. battle it out on the polo field. Each team has six members with 2-4 reserve players in case of injury etc. The match duration is usually one hour. It is divided into two halves, with a 10 minutes interval. During intervals the locals enthrall the audiences with traditional and cultural performances. The game decided in favour of the team scoring more goals. The final is held on 9 July.
The field measures about 200 meters by 56 meters (normal polo field is about 270m by 150m), with 60 cm high stone walls running the length of the field on both sides instead of boards. As six players make up one side, the field can get fairly crowded. This has the advantage of slightly slowing down the pace, which, all things considered, is probably somewhat safety-enhancing. Players rarely wear helmets, The horses’ legs often have no bandages, and mallets often have no grips or straps.
So Mas Junali became a source of relation between the people of Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan. Many people from around the world come to watch polo match played between Chitral District and Ghizer District.
Passion for polo will be the highest on the world’s highest Polo ground. Every year, Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit from 7 to 9 July. The festival also includes folk music, folk dance, traditional sports and a camping village is set up on the pass.
Polo is an equestrian sport with its origin embedded in Central Asia dating back to the 6th century BC.
Overnight at hotel.
Drive to Karimabad. Perched on the bank of the Hunza River the town is shadowed by Ultar, Lady Finger and Rakaposhi peaks. On way stop to admire the view on Rakaposhi (7788 m). Visit the Baltit and Altit Forts. Afternoon drive to Duikar viewpoint for sunset photography of many countless peaks above 7000 m in Karakorum and enjoy the birds eye view of Hunza and Nagar valleys.
Overnight at hotel.
Hunza was formerly a princely state, and one of the most loyal vassals to the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, bordering China to the north-east and Pamir to its north-west, which continued to survive until 1974, when it was finally dissolved by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The state bordered the Gilgit Agency to the south, the former princely state of Nagar to the east. The state capital was the town of Baltit (also known as Karimabad) and its old settlement is Ganish Village.Hunza was an independent principality for more than 900 years. The British gained control of Hunza and the neighbouring valley of Nagar between 1889 and 1892 followed by a military engagement of severe intensity. The then Thom (Prince) Mir Safdar Ali Khan of Hunza fled to Kashgar in China and sought what can be called political asylum. The ruling family of Hunza is called Ayeshe (heavenly), from the following circumstance. The two states of Hunza and Nagar were formerly one, ruled by a branch of the Shahre Is the ruling family of Gilgit, whose seat of government was Nagar. Tradition relates that Mayroo Khan, apparently the first Muslim Thum of Nagar some 200 years after the introduction of the religion of Islam to Gilgit, married a daughter of Trakhan of Gilgit, who bore him twin sons named Mogh Lot and Girkis. From the former the present ruling family of Nager is descended. The twins are said to have shown hostility to one another from birth. Their father seeing this and unable to settle the question of succession, divided his state between them, giving to Girkis the north, and to Mogh lot the south, bank of the river.
Overnight at hotel.
Khunjerab Pass elevation 4,733m is a high mountain pass in the Karakoram Mountains in a strategic position on the northern border of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region and on the southwest border of the Xinjiang region of China. Its name is derived from Wakhi ‘Khun’ means Home and ‘Jerav’ means spring water/water falling. The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. The roadway across the pass was completed in 1982, and has superseded the unpaved Mintaka and Kilik Passes as the primary passage across the Karakoram We will reach the Chinese town of Tashkurgan, where we complete our immigration formalities and spend the night. The town itself has a Tajik and Chinese population and a 14th century Chinese fortress that sits on a rise above the flat-bottomed Tashkurgan River valley.
Overnight at hotel.
Today we will continue our journey to the capital of Baltistan; the gateway to the highest peaks of the Karakoram.more or less 2 hours along the Hunza river and then we turn north east towards Skardu near Jaglot by crossing Alam Bridge over Indus It takes about 8 to 9 hours to drive from Hunza to Skardu town on the way we will stop at shatot for lunch and the continue to skardu .
Overnight at hotel.
Khaplu village: This handsome village of timber-and-stone houses and precision-made dry walls climbs up a wide alluvial fan beneath an arc of sheer granite walls. Painstaking irrigation has made it a shady, fertile oasis. As you climb its twisting track, the icy peaks of the Masherbrum Range rise on the other side of the valley. It’s hard to imagine a more majestic setting near a public road anywhere in Pakistan. The main attractions are the 2600m-high village itself, the old Royal Palace and even older Mosque above it at Changchun, and the heart-stopping views.
Overnight at Hotel in Skardu
Morning flight to islamabad and then drive to Lahore.The city Lahore is the capital of the Punjab. It occupies a central position, and is generally called ‘The Heart of Pakistan’. Lahore is situated on the banks of the Ravi . Lahore is a city of gardens, and has the reputation of being the ‘Green City’. It occupies a choice site in the midst of fertile alluvial plains. Lahore is the city of poets, artists and the center of film industry.
Overnight at the Hotel..
Lahore may not be Pakistan’s capital city; it wins hands down as its cultural, intellectual and artistic hub. Is history and architecture are your passion there’s an evocative mix, from formidable Mughal monuments to faded legacies of the British Raj. Indeed, even a ramble around the old city can unfold into a mini adventure. For these in search of spiritual sustenance, Lahore has Qawwali and Sufism that will blow your mind.
Lahore Fort (Shahi Qila)
Built, damaged, demolished, rebuilt and restored several times before being given its current form by Emperor Akbar in 1566 (when he made Lahore his capital), the Lahore Fort is the star attraction o f the Old City.
The fort was modified by Jehangir in 1618 and later damaged by the Sikhs and the British, although it has now been partially restored. Within it is a succession of stately palaces, halls and gardens built by Mughal emperors Akbar, Jahangir, Shahjahan and Aurangzeb, comparable to and contemporary with the other great Mughal forts at Delhi and Agra in India. It’s believed that the site conceals some of Lahore’s most ancient remains. The fort has an appealing ‘abandoned’ atmosphere (unless it’s packed with visitors) and although not as elaborate as most of India’s premier forts, it’s still a fabulous place to simply wander around.
Completed in 1674 under Aurangzeb as the Mughals final architectural fling, the sublime Badshahi Mosque, opposite the main gateway to the Lahore Fort, is one of the world’s largest mosques. Replete with huge gateways, four tapering minarets of red sandstone, three vast marble domes and an open courtyard said to hold up to 100,000 people, it was damaged by the British and later restored. The rooms above the entrance gate are said to house hairs of the Prophet Mohammed and other relics. The mosque looks lovely when it’s illuminated in the evening.
In the courtyard stands the Tomb of Allama Mohammad Iqbal, a modest memorial in red sandstone to the philosopher-poet who in the 1930s first postulated the idea of an independent Pakistan.
To the northeast of town, about 4km from the main train station, this was one of three gardens named Shalimar Gardens created by Shah Jahan in the 17th century. It’s also the only surviving Mughal garden of several built in Lahore. The gardens are now rather run-down and a far cry from their former glory, but they’re still popular with locals. The walled gardens were laid out in a central tier with two smaller and lower ones to either side, with a pool of corresponding size, in keeping with the mathematical principles o f Mughal design. Visitors originally entered at the lowest level and walked up through successive gardens illuminated by hundreds of candles housed in chini khanas (niches).
You will be transferred to the airport for international departure. Our representative will say Khuda Hafiz “May GOD be your protector”
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