Pagans of Hindukush

Kalash is one of the most popular destination in Pakistan, known for their festive culture, colourful attires and ancient History. Their brown hair and blue eyes have often mislead to the myth of Kalasha being descendants from soldiers of Alexander, but DNA testing shows that Kalasha are either indigenous to Hindukush or were the part of first migration of humans from Africa to Central Asia. 

The three valleys of Kalash, Bamburet, Rumbur and Birir, separated by the steep ridges of 3000m, are dense in vegetation, with giant walnut and fruit trees draped in overhanging grape wines over softly flowing streams. There are about 20 villages in these valleys, stacked up in tiers, adorned with rich wooden carvings and exquisite stone work i.e. a reminiscent of early Buddhist architecture.

The most famous Kalasha dance can be seen on these four festivals; Chilam Joshi (May), Uchal (August), Phool (October) and religiously significant Choumus (December). Where women in their black cotton dresses, tied at the waist with a sash and multicolour bands of embroidery at hem, cuff and neckline, can be see dancing in a circle, arms round each others waist, shuffling and stamping in a complicated series of circles and cartwheels, on a rhythmical beat of large drum, accompanied by singing songs and drinking wine. Sacrifices of goats are offered to Gods in the smoke-blackened alters in the woods. 

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