Kalash

The Kalash Valley consists of three valleys in KPK, close to Chitral. Besides their natural beauty, the Kalash Valleys are popular because of their inhabitants: the Kalasha people. People from the Kalash valley are unique among the people of Pakistan because they have their own language, history, culture, and religion. Some people claim the Kalasha people are descendants of Alexander the great, other they relatives of the Aryans who migrated to India. Whatever the truth, the Kalash Valley offers a unique experience in Pakistan.

The three valleys of the Kalash are Bumburet, Rumbur, and Birir. The most popular of the three and the village with the most accommodation is Bumburet. Rumbur is popular with foreign tourists, but not so much with Pakistanis. Birir is the least visited of the three valleys.

So if you want to visit either of the valley, look no further than our Kalash Valley travel guide.

Kalasha lady drying walnuts in Rumbur - Pakistan Explored Travel Blog
A Kalasha woman tends her walnuts (copyright Alexandra Reynolds – Lost with Purpose)

Best time to visit the Kalash Valley

The best time to visit the valleys in either spring or fall. Especially in fall, when leaves start the change, the valleys are magical. There are also several unique festivals, so visiting when these happen can also be rewarding.

Best things to do in the Kalash Valley

Chilam Joshi

The Kalasha’s best know festival takes place in May. This spectacle of dance and music is very popular with local tourists and foreigners alike, so book your accommodation in advance.

Festival etiquette: Please adhere to proper etiquette when visiting any Kalasha festival, or when visiting the Kalash Valley in general. Only take photos after asking for permission, and don’t partake in any boisteruous celebration yourself. You’re a guest, and are supposed to behave like one.

Uchua

Another unique Kalash experience. Uchau is usually held in September, but dates can change.

Choimus

The most important festival on the Kalash festival. Choimus celebrates the end of harvest time and the beginning of winter. Here, animals are sacrificed to get food ready for the harsh winter months.

Rumber Valley, part of the Kalash Valley, in KPK, Pakistan - Pakistan Explored Travel Blog
View of the Rumbur Valley

Drink tara

Because the Kalasha people aren’t Muslim, they have no qualms with openly drinking. There’s a special wine made by the Kalash people, called Tara. It’s a potent brew, so if you’re so inclined, please drink responsibly.

Treks and hikes

There are numerous short and long distances hikes in and around the valleys. These range from walking from one village to the next, to walking from valley to valley, and there’s even a possibility to hike from Chitral all the way to the Kalash Valley. Contact a local tour operator for more information on these treks.

Best places to stay in the Kalash Valley

We strongly urge you to only stay at Kalash owned and run accommodation. Many of the tourism opportunities are now taken away from the Kalasha by non-Kalash people, threatening their means of existence. If we want to conserve and protect the Kalasha culture and heritage, it’s important we do our bit to help them sustain it.

Bumburet

  • Budget: Kalash House –  Basic and friendly accommodation run by a Kalash family. It can be found in Brun
  • Mid-range: Kalash Galexy – With decent views and friendly staff, this is a solid mid-range option in Bumburet

Rumbur

  • Budget: Kalash Home Guest House – Run by the amicable Engineer Khan and his family, this is the coziest and traveler friendly guest house in Rumbur. It’s located at the beginning of Grom village
  • Mid-range: Kalash Indigenous Guest House – Surrounded by nice landscapes and with friendly hosts, this is another great option in Rumbur Valley

Birir

  • Budget: Ifran Guesthouse – One of the few guesthouses available in Birir. Expect basic accommodation but a lovely welcome

Best places to eat in the Kalash Valley

Although Bumburet has some restaurant options, we recommend eating the homecooked food offered at your guesthouse.

How to get to the Kalash Valley

There are shared Jeeps to either of the three valleys from Chitral around 13:00 o’clock in the afternoon. However, the Jeep to Birir only goes when there is enough demand. Alternatively, you can get a shared taxi to Ayun, and get to the valleys from here. To find out more, check out this article on the Kalash Valley.

Have something to add?

If you have information or photos not included in this guide, feel free to let us know and we’ll include your contribution in the guide.