Nov 27, 2012
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Nov 22, 2012
Oct 7, 2012
Sep 26, 2012
The Kalasha or Kalash, are indigenous people residing in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They speak the Kalasha language, from the Dardic family of the Indo-Iranian languages, and are considered a unique tribe among the Indo-Aryan peoples of Pakistan.
They are related to the Nuristani people of the adjacent Nuristan (historically known as Kafiristan) province of Afghanistan. An autochthonous and polytheistic by the late 19th century much of Nuristan had converted to Islam, while the Kalasha of Chitral maintain their own separate cultural traditions.
The culture of Kalash people is unique and differs completely from the various ethnic groups surrounding them. They are polytheists and nature plays a highly significant and spiritual role in their daily life. As part of their religious tradition, sacrifices are offered and festivals held to give thanks for the abundant resources of their three valleys. Kalasha Desh (the three Kalash valleys) is made up of two distinct cultural areas, the valleys of Rumbur and Brumbret forming one and Birir valley the other, Birir valley being the most traditional of the two.Kalash mythology and folklore has been compared to that of ancient Greece, but they are much closer to Indo-Iranian (Vedic and pre-Zoroastrian) traditions. Some of the Kalash people in their own traditions claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great's soldiers, however, extensive genetic testing has shown no connection.The Kalash's origins have fascinated anthropologists due to the unusually high frequency of light hair, skin, and eyes (particularly green). Some Pashtuns and Persians have been known to have blond hair or green eyes (such as Sharbat Gula, Afghan woman who was the subject of a famous photograph by journalist Steve McCurry).