Kalasha are indigenous people of the Hindu Kush mountain
range. They resides in the Chitral district of the North-West
Frontier Province of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.
Kalasha speak the Kalash language (Origin of language is
traced from Dardic family of the Indo-Iranian languages). They
also understands urdu and pashto language.
Kalasha are related to the Pashi and Nuristani people of the
adjacent Nuristan province of Afghanistan.
Kalasha are sometimes referred to as the “Wearers of the
Black Robes.” Kalashi means black in their native language.
There are less than 4,000 Kalash left. They were 3,554 to be
precise when the last count was done in 2009.
4. ORIGIN & CULTURE
The ancestors of Kalasha are migrated to Chitral from
Afghanistan in the 2nd century BC.
Some of the Kalasha people claim that the are descendants
of Alexander the Great's soldiers and Scholars have also found
many similarities in culture, religion and appearance between
Kalash people and the ancient Greeks.
kalasha are polytheists and nature plays a highly significant
and spiritual role in their daily life and habitat.
Kalasha people worship the 12 gods of the ancient Greeks.
Kalasha mythology and folklore has been compared to that of
ancient Greece, but they are found to be much closer to Indo-
Iranian (Vedic and pre-Zoroastrian) traditions.
Their are three main festivals of kalasha tribe: Joshi festival in late
May, Uchau in autumn, Caumus in midwinter.
Joshi -The first day of Joshi is "Milk Day", on which the Kalash
offer libations of milk that have been saved for ten days prior to
Uchal -The Uchal festival is celebrated in order to mark and
safeguard the Harvest of wheat and barley. Festival starts from
both Bumburet and Rambur, as these two valleys are the main
source of providing these crops.
Chomos- This festival is to celebrate the upcoming New Year.
Older members of the valleys sit on the top of the hills to witness
the dawn and the initial lights of sun striking their valleys. Until
their declaration all the peoples remain in their homes. celebration
starts with the sacrificing of the goats for goddess Jastak.
Kalasha women usually wear long black robes, often embroidered
with cowrie shells.
Men have adopted the Pakistani shalwar kameez.
children wear small versions of adult clothing after the age of six.
Kalasha peoples do not separate males and females for sexual
At the time of Menstruating girls and women are sent to live in the
bashaleni (the village menstrual building, during their periods, until
they regain their "purity“).
Women gives birth in the bashaleni and stay their at least 10 days.
There is also a ritual restoring "purity" to a woman after childbirth
which must be performed before a woman can return to her
14. Even if a boy is born, he is not considered as ‘man’ until he is six
years old. The boy has to live with women and he is not allowed to
wear pants or pyjamas for six years since his birth. A big celebration
is held when a boy turns six and wears a ‘shalwar’ or pants. After that
he eats only with men and not with women. A goat is also sacrificed
to mark the occasion and the meat is eaten only by the men.
Kalasha girls are free to choose their life partners and also have the
right to divorce.
wife-elopement is one of the great customs(ghōna dastūr) together
with the main festivals.
If a woman wants to change husbands, she writes a letter to her
prospective husband offering herself in marriage and informing that
he would-be groom how much her current husband paid for her. This
is because the new husband must pay double if he wants her.
When any kalasha die, Dead bodies are kept in the coffin for two to
three days in the graveyard. Every Kalash community member in
surrounding are informed about the death. Women in the family sit
around the body with their hair covering their faces while rest of the
community people keep on dancing around the body. The Kalash
from different villages continue to come and join the celebrations.
18. WOMEN CLOTHING
All women wear black robes called Piran and it takes at least nine
metres of cloth to make one dress.
Cheo over black robes piran.
Nowadays the black robe has started drawing on diverse fashion
influences and has come to be decorated with accessories and
colourful embroidery coupled with beads, shells and coins.
OF KALASHA TRIBE
21. WOMEN HEADGEAR
Kalasha women wear an extraordinarily large headgear called
Kopus are embellished with buttons, beads and shells, which in
some cases tops two kilogrammes in weight.
Some suggest that the colorful headpiece resembles
Macedonian war helmets.
The cost of one dress varies from 2,500 rupees (Dh110) to 6,000
rupees (Dh180), which is a lot of money for the average Kalash.