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No tourists to enjoy autumn colours

CHITRAL: The autumn colours in different valleys of Chitral offer captivating patterns but there are no, or very few, tourists to enjoy the yellow, red and golden foliage.
The villages of Booni, Mastuj, Khot, Garam Chashma, Oveer, Terich, Laspur, Awi-Dumadumi, Nogram, Karimabad and scores of other villages are known for their spectacular autumn colours where poplar, chinar, mulberry and apricot trees are in high density, making the yellow colour predominant. The tall chinar trees in abundance in all villages radiate the reddish colour, while leaves of many non-local fruit trees have turned golden to give a dazzling look.
Though the autumn tourism is yet to pick up in Chitral there are certain tourists who regularly visit the district in the fall and spend a week’s time here visiting different villages known for the autumn foliage.
Munir Ahmed, manager of a hotel in the city, said he knew over a dozen families coming to Chitral from different parts of the country every autumn and staying in his hotel. He said many of them had developed a penchant for autumn colours and visited a number of villages across the district.
The Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has yet to take any initiative for marketing the winter beauty of Chitral to attract tourists.
Autumn colours have great significance in local culture, language and literature, and have found frequent descriptions in the folk-lore, poetry and songs.
Known locally as ‘chanchhori’ (the fall foliage), the season is celebrated in different ways by holding ceremonies while most of the weddings are performed in this season and the women prefer to wear yellow dresses in the season.
Former union council nazim Islam Akbaruddin in Oveer valley, known for its autumn colours, complained that the village was totally obscure from the tourists because of the highly perilous roads leading to the valley.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2018

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