The Kalasha “Chilim Jusht Festival 2018” has officially been kicked off today the 14 May 2018. First ritual “chirik pipi”, milking distribution by shepherds to welcome the spring kicked off in Bumburet Kalash valley.

To the Kalasha the festival is the culmination of religious life and, like the big funerals, they unite the people. The “Chilim Jusht / Joshi Festival is the spring festival, in the middle of May lasts for four days. The spring festival honors 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 Bumburate and ends up at Birir, a few days later.

The Kalasha are colourful and ancient indigenous people. They are cheerful, generous, witty and fond of rejoicing and merry making. Their women folk have an outgoing manner that is disarming, delightful and unexpected.

Every religious ceremony is accompanied by dancing and rhythmical chant to a beat of the drum. The women wearing their traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled head dresses and adorned with colored necklaces, dance in a circle. Then the men join in: it may be a man and a women or a man in the middle with a women on each side, lovers being free to intermingle. One hand is held round the waist of the partner and the other round the shoulders. Tribal chiefs (Kazis) in colorful dresses narrate stories of bygone days and events.

Deputy Commissioner Chitral Irshad Sodhar is committed to celebrate this event with great pomp and show, he has also invited media personnel to cover the event so that a positive impression would go the outer world. This will help in promotion of tourism industry and attraction of foreign and national tourists to Chitral.

On this occasion Irshad Sodhar, DC Chitral said that he has inducted a “Hospitality Platoon” in Chitral Levies to facilitate tourists, for the first time female levy staff deputed for this event to facilitate families. District Admin in collaboration with Distt Police has devised a traffic plan for Ayun-Bamborate road, so that tourists reach with ease.

A special helpline desk has also been established at DC Office with number 0943-412519, for the festival. Any issue and update may be send direct to DC Chitral on official Facebook page (Facebook.com/DCChitral) and twitter handle (@DC_Chitral). Moreover, GoKP Halal Food Authority has been tasked to test the food items, ensure fresh fruits and also regulate the prices of edible items.

“We have installed dustbins at every village in the valley for Solid Waste Management, portable washroom and clean drinking water will be provided at every camp” said DC Chitral. “A massive cleanliness campaign will be carried out just after the festival with the help of DC Chitral Volunteer Task Force and TMA Chitral” he added.

As per DC Chitral Irshad Sodhar transport union has also been kept in the loop to avoid overcharging from the tourists, special parking lots have been identified by the Traffic Police in the area.

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