Call to preserve Kalash remains

CHITRAL, Sept 8: The relics and remains from the period of Kalash rule over Chitral have escaped the attention of archaeologists and historians and their preservation and exposition can prove to be a treasure for encouraging more and more tourists to the area and providing a sound knowledge to those researching on Kalash history. kalashZaffar Ali Baig, a retired academician, said that all parts of Chitral were replete with the sites pertaining to Kalash era who ruled the upper and lower Chitral from 10th to 14th century A.D. Major villages of the district have places named ‘malosh’ while in Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur, almost every village has a ‘malosh’ on its outskirts, he said. ‘Malosh’ is a place of worship where sacrifice of animals is offered on the occasion of festivals. Mr Baig said that the principal Kalash ruler Cheo ruled the area in 12th century and during his reign the Kalash architecture reached its climax, as he raised his forts in different major valleys of the district. He said that the houses from that period were found till recent past. These houses were known for their strength, as they had pillars with radius of many yards. He said that the Chew bridge dividing the city into two derived its name from the Kalash ruler Cheo, but hardly anyone knew that the pedestrian bridge built by him stood there till 1970s when the present one was constructed. Sunjik Khan Kalash from Birir valley said that ruins of the forts of the former Kalash dynasty were still found at a number of places. He said that the Kalash-era forts were built on mounds, which gave them an edge over the invaders to defend themselves. Some of the major towns in lower parts of the district, including Sweer Drosh, Kalakatak, Ashrait, Sheshi Koh and Jinjirait Koh had the largest population of Kalash, who converted to Islam when the Rais ruler seized power. One Sahibgar Khan of Ayun village said that the Kalash valleys acted as buffer zone between the Chitral state and Afghanistan, which ensured peace in the area. Ali Afzal, a local tourist guide, said that a catalogue of the Kalash sites should be compiled by the department of museums and archives for tourists. He said the history had been so obscured that as a local person he did not know anything about the Kalash era except the Chew bridge.–Zahiruddin]]>

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