Visiting the Kalasha people in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of northwestern Pakistan is a profound time-transcending experience. Only three to four thousand of them are left , inhabiting the remote valleys of Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir high up the Hindu-Kush mountain range. They form Pakistan’s smallest ethnoreligious group , practising a religion considered a type of animism and speaking their own Kalasha language. Their origin remains obscure. They definitely are an indigenous people of Asia, their ancestors migrating from further west and being related to the Kafirs of nearby Nuristan (the adjacent Afghan province). Their culture is unique and by getting to know them one enters a magical and colorful world of customs, traditions, myths, spirits and festivals.

  • Place Kalasha Valleys
  • Country Pakistan
  • Continent Asia
  • when July 2019
old Kalasha woman
An old Kalasha woman in traditional costume, her deep-wrinkled face revealing the harsh conditions her people have to endure.
young Kalasha girl
A young Kalasha girl wearing her colorful headdress; she has already adopted the five-braid hairstyle that signals her becoming a woman.
local woodcarver
A local woodcarver, joyfully looking at his work. He is a well known local artist, producing some of the last Gandaos (votive wooden statues) in the area.
Shalwar – Kameez
Men have dropped their traditional wool costume and wear the Shalwar –Kameez worn all over Pakistan. They do wear the Chitrali hat though.
Two young Kalasha
Two young girls playing in front of their wooden home.
Kalasha woman greeting
A Kalasha woman greeting . Bold canary yellow and emerald green decorate her baggy black cotton dress , a feast for the eye.