After long, Chitral seen teeming with tourists

CHITRAL, Aug 3: An unprecedented number of visitors thronged Chitral on the occasion of Eidul Fitr from other parts of the country, specially the Punjab province, to escape the scorching heat in the down districts. The picnic spots of Chitral, including the Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur,  Garam Chashma, and Booni in upper Chitral were found teeming with visitors which used to remain calm and deserted on the occasion of Eid in previous years.

The visitors included students of different colleges and universities who were on their excursion trips to Chitral while a considerable number of families were also registered among the tourists.

A number of shopkeepers and hotel owners in the areas expressed their pleasure over the influx of tourists in the area said that they did not expect the multitude and ran short of a number of essential commodities.

They said that it was a special boon for the people related with business as the tourism industry had been ruined after the Taliban challenged the state’s writ in its neighbouring district of Swat some years ago.

Afzal Shah of Bumburate valley said that nearly all the hotels and guest houses in the valley were occupied to their full capacity while tents had also been arranged to accommodate more people. He said that the other two Kalash valleys, Rumbur and Birir, also registered a good number of tourists which usually received small number of tourists due to their remoteness, dilapidated roads and lack of facilities.

He observed that most of the tourists had their own vehicles which facilitated them to a great extent. Naveed Ahmed, a Lahore based college student, said that they were amused to visit the dream-come-true valleys of Kalash and meeting the ancient people. He said that they had to face problems of getting food items  in the valley due to the rush of tourists while they had booked all the rooms of medium size hotel of Bumburate valley.

He suggested that the roads leading to the valleys should be improved which were in worst condition imperiling the lives of the passengers passing through it and this is the main factor to prop up tourism to the area.

A number of the tourists have planned to proceed to Broghil where an annual festival is scheduled to commence from August 14 while some others will cross the Shandur Pass into Gilgit-Baltistan.– Zahiruddin