Chitral also spelled as Chetrar, is the capital of the Chitral District, situated in the Hindukush range of Mountains and on the western bank of the Chitral River (also called Kunar River), in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), Pakistan. The town is at the foot of Tirich Mir, the highest peak of the Hindu Kush, which is 25,289 ft (7,708 m) high. The massif of Tirich Mir (7760m) dominates the entire lower valley, while the mountain slopes are softened by orchards and terraced fields of wheat and barley as they descend to the wide valley floor and the banks of the grand Chitral River. The elevation of Chitral Valley is 3,700 ft (1,100 m). This is one of Pakistan’s most beautiful places to visit. From icy mountain peaks to rivers to forests, one can find all in Chitral. It is also one of Pakistan’s most historical cities and a tourist hub. The valley is famous for mountaineering, trekking, fishing and hiking in addition to a number of beautiful tourist spots.
Chitral was a princley state and retained a similar status even after its accession to Pakistan till 1969, but then was completely incorporated into Pakistan and became an administrative district of Pakistan. The easiest access to Chitral, other than by air, is from the southwest along the Kunar Valley. However the Afghan-Pakistan border (Durand Line) and cross border tensions prevent this from being used as an internal route to the rest of Pakistan. There are many other routes over high mountain passes; to the south, the 3,200-metre (10,500 ft) Lowari Pass leads 365 kilometres (227 mi) to Peshawar. In the north, the easiest route during summer runs over the 3,798-metre (12,461 ft) Broghol pass. To the east, there is a 405 kilometres (252 mi) route to Gilgit over the 3,719-metre (12,201 ft) Shandur Pass. Each route offers unlimited breathtaking views.
Following are the popular places in or near Chitral City:
- Chitral Town
- Local Bazar(Market)
- Chitral Fort
- Masjid/Mosque (an impressive architecture with beautiful inlays and decorations) and
- Polo ground, especially if any polo match is on going.
- Kalash Tribe’s Buburat valley
- Rumbur Valley
- Kalasha Valleys
- Garam Chashma
- Shishi Valley
- Chitral Gol National Park
Chitral valley is at its loveliest in April when it’s uprising of fruit blossoms, and in October when the plants turns to auburn. This is natural and wonderful place, the rich meadows, terraced fields, and orchards of the valley floor lush contrast to the rocky and forbidding mountains and glaciers. The best time to visit is from July to September, because it can get very hot during May and June. But for much of the winter it is in deep snow. The first views are breathtaking. In any direction you look, mountains dominate the horizon.
Hospitable people and the valley’s grandeur make Chitral tailor-made for trekking, while the Kalasha valleys offer a wholly unique view of Pakistan, in the remnants of an ancient pagan culture that welcomes sensitive visitors with open arms.