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Coordinates: 35°50′46″N71°47′09″E / 35.84611°N 71.78583°E / 35.84611; 71.78583 Coordinates: 35°50′46″N71°47′09″E / 35.84611°N 71.78583°E / 35.84611; 71.78583
CountryFlag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Province PK-NWFP.svg  Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
District Chitral District
  MNA (NA-1) Abdul Akbar Chitrali (MMA)[ circular reference ]
  Total57 km2 (22 sq mi)
1,494 m (4,902 ft)
 (2017) [2]
  Density870/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
  Official Khowar [3]
Time zone UTC+5:00 (Pakistan Standard Time)
1720 – 0xx [4]

Chitral ( Pashto/Urdu: چترال, romanized: ćitrāl; Khowar : چھترار, romanized: ćhitrār, lit. 'field') is a town situated on the Chitral River in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It serves as the capital of the Chitral District and likewise served as the capital of the Chitral princely state that encompassed the region until its direct incorporation into West Pakistan in 1969.



Chitral's Shahi Mosque Shahi Mosque, Chitral.jpg
Chitral's Shahi Mosque

Early history

The Kho Chitralis came to Chitral as part of the Indo-Aryan migration into South Asia. They settled in northern parts of Chitral near the Torkhow and Mulkhow Region. [5]

Ancient era

The existence of Gandharan Grave Culture in Chitral, found in various grave sites scattered over its valleys indicate its proximity towards the Gandharan culture alongside giving insightful knowledge of its inhabitants between the Indus Valley civilization era and the following Persian rule. [6] [7] Chitral is also associated with the Iron Age tribes known as Daradas. The Darada country stretched from Chitral in the west to the Kisanganga valley in the north of Kashmir. The Daradas are said to have gone to war against Arjun according to the Hindu Epic Mahabharata. [8] Chitral is also attributed to be the seat of the ancient realm of Kamboja, which contains mentions in Hindu epics. [9]

The area which now forms Chitral was reportedly conquered by the Persian Achaemenids and was a part of one of their easternmost satraps. Chitrali culture and vocabulary is heavily influenced by Persian and is said to show a mix of both Avestan and Sanskrit. [10] In the third century CE, Kanishka, the Buddhist ruler of the Kushan empire, occupied Chitral. Under the Kushans, many Buddhist monuments were built around the area, mainly Buddhist stupas and monasteries. The Kushans also patronised Buddhist art, some of the finest examples of the image of Buddha were produced in the region under the Kushan rule. [11]

Rock inscriptions found near the village of Barenis indicate that the area was once part of the Hindu Shahi under its fourth King. [12]

Kator era

From 1571 onwards Chitral was the dominion of the Kator Dynasty until 1947. [13]

Accession to Pakistan

In 1947 following the division of the British colony of India, princely states were offered the choice to either remain independent or to choose one of the two new dominions. The Mehtar of Chitral who was a friend of Quaid E Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah acceded to Pakistan and thus Chitral became one of the princely states of Pakistan. In 1969 it was fully integrated into Pakistan as the administrative district of Chitral. [14]

Role in the First Kashmir War

Chitral played an instrumental role in the first Kashmir war. Immediately after acceding to Pakistan, Mehtar Muzaffar Ul Mulk proclaimed Jihad to "liberate" Kashmir from the Dogras. At this point, the Gilgit scouts were retreating and the Dogra forces had made gains in the Burzil pass. Under these circumstances, the Chitral scouts relieved the Gilgit scouts in Domel and Kamri sectors whilst the Chitral Bodyguard force went towards Skardu. The Chitral bodyguards under the leadership of a Chitral Prince lay on the longest sieges of military history which ended with the fall of Skardu, surrender of the Dogras and the capture of Baltistan. During this time, the Chitral scouts assimilated with the Gilgit scouts and went on towards taking the Kargil pass. [15]


Chitral city City of Chitral.jpg
Chitral city

The city has an average elevation of 1,500 m (4,921 ft).


Chitral has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa), with warm summers and cold winters, with heavy snowfall occurring routinely in Chitral Valley. Coldspells that have swept across Chitral can be deadly as locals have died of the extreme numbing temperatures in the past. Chitral is known for snowfall and deadly avalanches. The road that goes towards Chitral is very dangerous as it's one of the most narrow roads in the world, and it is situated in the world's largest mountain range. It is designed to be a one lane road but it is used as a two-lane road. The route is very unstable, without any safety and faces extreme glaciers where temperatures can plummet to -30.0C

Climate data for Chitral
Average high °C (°F)8.3
Daily mean °C (°F)4.1
Average low °C (°F)0.0
Average precipitation mm (inches)33
Source: [16]


According to the 1981 census, Khowar is the main language and is spoken by 98% of the population. Kalasha is also spoken by a small population. [17]


Chitral is represented in the National Assembly [18] and Provincial Assembly by one elected MNA and one elected MPA. [19] [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

Baltistan Region of Pakistani-administered Kashmir

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Gilgit Capital city in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan

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Gilgit Agency Agency of the British Raj

The Gilgit Agency was an agency established by the British Indian Empire over the subsidiary states of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir at its northern periphery, mainly with the objective of strengthening these territories against Russian encroachment. The subsidiary states included Hunza, Nagar and other states in the present day districts of Gupis-Yasin, Ghizer, Darel, Tangir and Diamer. The agency was based in the town of Gilgit, which was itself under the direct administration of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

Dardistan is a term coined by Gottlieb Wilhelm Leitner that refers to a region comprising Northern Pakistan, parts of Indian Kashmir and parts of Northeastern Afghanistan. It is inhabited by various Dards, who speak Dardic languages. It includes Chitral, the upper reaches of the Panjkora River, the Kohistan (highland) of Swat and the upper portions of the Gilgit Agency. Mentioned by the classical historians Pliny the Elder, Ptolemy and Herodotus, the Dards are said to be people of Aryan origin who ascended the Indus Valley from the Punjab plains, reaching as far north as Chitral. They converted to Islam in the 14th century and speak three distinct dialects of Gilgit: Khowar, Burushaski and Shina—employing the Persian script in writing.

Shandur Pass

Shandur Pass is a pass located in between the Gupis-Yasin District of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is often called 'Roof of the World'. Shandur top is located in Upper Chitral, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and has a flat plateau and can be crossed between late April and early November. The grade is very gradual, and the area is crossed by plentiful small streams during summer.

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Chitral (princely state) Former princely state of British India and Pakistan

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Nagarkhas Place in Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan

Nagarkhas, also known as Oyumagar is the headquarters of the Nagar District of Gilgit–Baltistan and is one of the largest towns in that district. Situated on the bank of the Nagar River, it was also the capital of the former princely state of Nagar.

Nagar Valley Place in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan

Nagar (Nager) is a former princely state and one of the ten districts of Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. The valley is along the Karakoram Highway on the way north from Gilgit main city.The valley is home to many high mountain peaks including Rakaposhi (7788m), Diran Peak (7265m), Golden Peak and Rush Peak. The Nagar valley is administratively divided into two Tehsils; Tehsil Nagar-I and Tehsil Nagar-II. All the villages of upper Nagar including Shayar, Askurdas, Sumayar, Nagarkhas, Hoper Valley, and Hispar come under the Tehsil Nagar-I. While all the villages of lower Nagar including Chalt, Buladas, Chaprote, Skandarabad, Jafarabad, Nilt, Thol, Ghulmet, Pisan, Minapin, Meacher, Dadhimal, Phekar, and Hakuchar are the par of Tehsil Nagar-II. Burushaski and Shina languages are spoken in the valley. The Rush Lake, the highest alpine lake of Pakistan and the 27th highest lake in the world also lies in this valley.

Geography of Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit-Baltistan has been under Pakistan administration since 1947 and was given self-governing status on August 29, 2009. Gilgit-Baltistan comprises 10 districts within three divisions. The four districts of Skardu Kharmang Shigar and Ghanche are in the Baltistan Division, four districts of Gilgit Ghizer Hunza and Nagar districts which were carved out of Gilgit District are in the Gilgit Division and the third division is Diamir, comprising Chilas and Astore. The main political centres are the towns of Gilgit and Skardu.

Chitrali may refer to:

Shina people Ethnolinguistic group native to the greater Kashmir region in South Asia

The Shina, also known as the Shin are a Dardic tribe residing in southern Gilgit–Baltistan, Chitral and the western part of the Kohistan district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, as well as the Dras Valley and Kishenganga Valley in the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir, India. They speak an Indo-Aryan language, called Shina, which has varied dialects, such as Brokskat.

The Kho or Chitrali people are an Dardic ethnolinguistic group associated with the Dardistan region. They speak Khowar, which is a member of the Dardic subgroup of the Indo-Aryan language family. Many Kho people live in the Chitral, Ghizer in Gilgit-Baltistan, of Pakistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan Region administered by Pakistan

Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constitutes the northern portion of the larger Kashmir region, which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China since somewhat later. It is the northernmost area administered by Pakistan. It borders Azad Kashmir to the south, the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang region of China, to the east and northeast, and the Indian-administered union territories Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the southeast.

The Katoor Dynasty is a dynasty, which along with its collateral branches ruled the sovereign, later princely state of Chitral and its neighbours in the eastern Hindu Kush region for over 450 years, from around 1570 until 1947. At the height its power under Mehtar Aman ul-Mulk the territory controlled by the dynasty extended from Asmar in the Kunar Valley to Sher Qilla in the Gilgit valley. The Mehtar of Chitral was an influential player in the power politics of the region as he acted as an intermediary between the rulers of Badakhshan, the Yousafzai pashtuns, the Maharaja of Kashmir and later the Amir of Afghanistan.

Chitral Bodyguard or informally the Mehtar's Bodyguard, was a military force under the direct command of the Mehtar of the princely state of Chitral.

History of Gilgit-Baltistan

Gilgit Baltistan is an administrative territory of Pakistan, disputed by India that borders the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the west, Azad Kashmir to the southwest, Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the northwest, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China to the north, and the Indian administrated region of Jammu and Kashmir to the south and southeast.

Chitral Scouts Paramilitary force of Pakistan

The Chitral Scouts (CS), also known as Chitral Levies, originally raised in 1903 as the militia of the princely state of Chitral, is now a unit of the federally controlled Frontier Corps of Pakistan. Recruited mostly from the Chitral and Kalash Valleys areas along the western borders and led by officers from the Pakistan Army. The Frontier Corps of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa falls under the control of the Ministry of the Interior. Its headquarters is at Chitral town, and it is commanded by a Colonel of the Pakistan Army.

Tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is located in the north-west region of Pakistan. It is known as the tourist hotspot for adventurers and explorers. The province has a varied landscape ranging from rugged mountains, valleys, hills and dense agricultural farms. The region is well known for its ancestral roots. There are a number of Buddhist archaeological sites from the Gandhara civilisation such as Takht Bhai and Pushkalavati. There are a number of other Buddhist and Hindu archaeological sites including Bala Hisar Fort, Butkara Stupa, Kanishka stupa, Chakdara, Panjkora Valley and Sehri Bahlol.


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  18. Archived 17 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  19. Archived 17 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
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Further reading