PESHAWAR - A large number of tourists, including foreigners, enjoyed the four-day Chilimjusht festival held in the Kalash valleys of Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur in Chitral.

The Chilimjusht, which heralds the arrival of spring, was jointly organised by the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) and the Saiyah Travels & Tours.

According to organisers, this year the participation of local and foreign tourists was tremendous and almost all hotels in the Bumbuarate valley had been booked well before the commencement of the festival. The hotels received more tourists than the capacity they had for the visiting guests.

Stringent security arrangements were in place, particularly the foreign tourists were provided protection by the special security teams. However, no federal or provincial minister or any other dignitaries attended the event this year.

Of the three Kalash festivals, Chilimjusht which normally lasts for four days is considered to be the important of all. Young girls and boys sing and dance in groups in the community halls. Houses are decorated and the Kalash people wear new clothes that are specifically prepared for the occasion.

Main feature of the festival is selection of life partner for unmarried boys and girls.

Kalash men and women are seen shopping for the festival in Chitral bazaars while in the valleys they are busy in preparing traditional dresses for the festival.

The Kalash girls spent lavishly on purchase of clothes and ornaments for the event and the occasion is being used to show off their financial wealth.

According to an agreement signed between the TCKP and Saiyah Travels, the tourists were provided accommodation, food and other facilities for just Rs14,500. The purpose of the agreement was to introduce the serene valleys, ensure the access of local and foreign tourists to the beautiful sites of the province and provide them better facilities.