Les Kalash coupés du monde ont besoin d’aide : Inondations

Mardi 11 août 2015

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De mémoire d’homme, jamais on n’avait vu de telles inondations et crues dévastatrices. Les routes avalées par endroits, les maisons emportées, les champs dévastés… La vallée de Chitral au nord ouest du Pakistan, pays montagneux et escarpé de l’Hindu Kush, connaît une véritable catastrophe. A l’heure où j’écris ces lignes, on dénombre 32 morts, dont des enfants, plus de 500 maisons emportées et 1000 maisons endommagées. 54% des récoltes détruites de manière irréparable, le bétail décimé…

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Les routes totalement coupées en 38 différents points, 27 ponts sur les axes principaux détruits, coupant du monde plus de la moitié des habitants, c’est-à-dire sans eau, sans nourriture.

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Lire : Chitral witnessed the worse flooding

La situation est particulièrement préoccupante au nord de la ville de Chitral et dans les vallées habitées par les Kalash, un des derniers peuple païen. La solidarité se met en place mais il faut des fonds pour acheter les vivres.

Femmes Kalash attendant les secours

Femmes Kalash attendant les secours

La seule façon de les atteindre pour leur porter secours est à dos d’âne. 900 Kalash de la vallée de Bumburet et 600 dans la vallée de Rumbur.

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Une excellente initiative, locale, est en cours, sans frais de dossier, ni salaires exorbitants puisqu’elle est menée par des bénévoles du cru. Mais ils n’ont pu secourir que 100 familles et ont besoin de plus de fonds.

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Chers lecteurs de France, si vous aussi souhaitez aider à acheter quelques sacs de riz ou de blé pour les Kalash, veuillez me contacter, je vous transmettrai les coordonnées des personnes à contacter. Merci pour eux !

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Pakistan. Le Festival de Polo de Shandur aura-t-il lieu ?

Le match de la finale du Festival de Polo de Shandur. © Sylvie Lasserre

Le festival de polo de Shandur se targue d’être le plus haut du monde puisqu’il se déroule au col de la Shandur, dans l’Hindu Kush au Nord du Pakistan, à 3719 mètres d’altitude. A mi-chemin entre Gilgit et Chitral, les équipes des deux anciens royaumes ont pris l’habitude de s’y affronter chaque année au début du mois de juillet : « Nous avions l’habitude de régler ainsi nos différents, » explique le prince de Chitral, Siraj Ul Mulk, ancien capitaine de l’équipe de Chitral, aujourd’hui conduite par son frère Sikandar Ul Mulk.

Sikandar Ul Mulk, capitaine de l’équipe de Chitral qui vient de remporter le festival de polo de Shandur 2012. © Sylvie Lasserre

Malgré les difficultés pour s’y rendre, il est de bon ton de s’y montrer. On y a même vu le duc d’Edinburgh en 1997 et la princesse Diana en 1991.

Mais désormais le Festival est devenu un événement à haut risque. Avec les problèmes de sécurité croissants dans le pays, le festival est déserté par les étrangers. Le prince William et la princesse Kate, invités au festival de 2012, ont décliné l’invitation.

J’ai eu la chance de pouvoir m’y rendre en 2012, accompagnée d’un garde du corps et de sa Kalachnikov – les gardes du corps sont désormais obligatoires pour tout étranger se déplaçant dans la province. Beaucoup de monde mais pas un seul touriste étranger. Uniquement des locaux et des touristes pakistanais. Déploiement de forces de sécurité inédit. Checks posts, soldats, police… « La situation est sous contrôle, » m’indique justement le responsable de la sécurité, refusant d’évoquer les risques. Et effectivement le festival s’était déroulé sans incident.

Arrivée au col de la Shandur, après tant d’heures et de jours sur la piste… © Sylvie Lasserre

Si vous voulez vous faire une idée de l’ambiance, voici un extrait de mon reportage radio : Le festival de polo de Shandur. Notez au passage la beauté des chants chitrali… Reportage complet pour RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse) ici : Les merveilles de l’Hindu Kush, le polo libre de Shandur.

S’y rendre n’est pas une sinécure. Trois jours de piste depuis Chitral (je ne parle pas du trajet Islamabad Chitral par la route, cela fera l’objet d’une prochaine note…). Le col de la Shandur est très isolé et difficile d’accès. Seule y mène une piste poussiéreuse, qui longe un précipice et ne fait que monter. Des haltes de nuit dans des oasis de verdure, véritables petites perles égrenées le long de la rivère Chitral. Buni, Mastuj, Laspur…

Laspur, une des quelques oasis de verdure sur la route du col de la Shandur © Sylvie Lasserre.

A l’époque des débuts du festival, les cavaliers s’y rendaient à cheval, depuis Gilgit et Chitral. Leur voyage durait neuf jours.

En 2012, c’est Chitral, comme presque chaque année, qui a remporté contre Gilgit. Au retour, les enfants des villages, désireux de voir passer la très longue file des véhicules de retour de Shandur, s’étaient postés au bord de la piste, criant, joyeux, au passage de la caravane : « Chitral Zindabad! »

L’équipe de Chitral vient de marquer un but. © Sylvie Lasserre

Mais une mauvaise nouvelle est tombée cette année (2013) le festival n’aura probablement pas lieu. En effet la piste qui y mène a été dévastée par des inondations sur plus d’un kilomètre. Au mieux il doit être reporté, ce qui paraît peu probable. La nouvelle date sera déterminée après la fin du ramadan, début août (voir Shandur Polo Festival cancelled) car, comble de malchance, le ramadan a commencé le 10 juillet au Pakistan. Impossible d’organiser un tel événement durant le mois de jeûne.

Quelques photos : Shandur Polo Festival 2012

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Pakistan. Voyage au fort de Nagar, Chitral

Nagar Fort, Chitral – Photo DR Nagar fort was built in early nineteen hundreds by the order of the then Mehtar of Chitral, HH Sir Shuja Ul Mulk. It was originally constructed as a winter resort by the Mehtar.

Une fois n’est pas coutume, un peu de tourisme 🙂

The estate of Nagar was passed on to the son of HH Mehtar Sir Shuja Ul Mulk, Shahzada Ghaziuddin in 1936.
Nagar Fort was later given in possession of Shahzada Sirajuddin, 1926-1999, the Sarkar of Nagar.
Shahzada Sirajuddin was a highly popular person among the people not only in Chitral but outside Chitral as well, he contributed al lot in beautification of Naghar.

The Sarkar had an avid interest in gardening and his sheer passion is evident in form of the immaculate lawns and lavish plantings seen inside the Fort and surroundings.

His son, Shahzada Salahuddin also enjoys the warmth for this passion his father savoured the most.
The generation who lives there now is the 5th generation.
Most of the property belongs to the Shahzada family and the people who are in it mostly work in their fields.
The name Naghar is taken from a chitrali word Noghor, which means fort in khowar language i.e. the chitrali language. The name is known as Naghar in chitrali and in Urdu as Nagar.

Nagar fort :
Surrounded by water from three sides, its accessible through a suspension bridge that prevails the charm of the Fort.
The Fort has an Outer Gate, houses an Outer Court, Inner Gate and an Inner Courtyard.
There are a number of Gardens and in their maintenance a keen interest is shown.
Shahzada Sirajuddin, (1926 -1999, the Sarkar of Nagar ) loved the flowers so he had collected many kinds.
The fruits are being planted in a natural way, different fruits like oranges, cherries, apples and many more.
Many kinds of flowers and fruits in the forts garden have been brought from European countries.
Nagar fort is quite a big place having four portions and each having gardens.
The fort belongs to the Shahzada family who are living in the fort, it’s possible for tourists to see inside if they want to but they have to take permission.
There is one huge garden that is called bagh in Urdu having
orchards , flowers and huge maple trees.
The garden is very natural and simple therefore its attracts tourists, you can compare it to the simple beautiful English gardens.
Other than that there are beautiful birds which come in different season to the Nagar bagh, and a profusion of roses, daffodils and herbaceous plants scent the air.
The suspension bridge to the Nagar fort ( built in 1944 ) built by the Britishers at that time specially for the fort makes the fort complete.

Location
Nagar Fort, at Nagar is situated near Chitral Valley north of Pakistan, Nagar is a village situated in lower Chitral.
It’s a safe area where u can feel at home and It’s not populated that’s why one can enjoy the calm and soothing nature.

The airport which is nearby is Chitral airport in Chitral town.
Other optional airports nearby Chitral are :
Peshawar airport(211km)
Gilgit airport (229km)
Islamabad airport(279km)Visiting time & seasons
The best time to visit the Nagar fort is from April to mid of October, the weather is quite pleasant from April to September.
Seasons are the summers , winter spring and autumn and every season has its own charm.
Summers are generally pleasant and the winters can be extremely cold.
Chitral is unpredictable during spring with frequent rains, autumn is pleasant with mild temperatures
March, April and May are months when the gardens are full of flowering trees and shrubs, while the other months have many interesting delights to.
Language and culture
The khowar language is spoken mostly , some people speak Pashto to as they are pathans and came to Chitral living there.
Mostly chitralis are educated and literacy rate is high so they speak Urdu and English, if they can’t speak English at least they do understand it.
The Chitrali music & musical instruments are very famous in the region, folk singers and reed instrument players have a special respect in the Khowar society and are a must in their festivities.
The people overall are very friendly, hospitable and helping people.
Traditional foods of Chitral : Kaali, (chitrali soup)
Tikki either of minced meat or cottage cheese, Chir-a shapik.
But more commonly rice. (brown rice) and zah are everyday meals along with some dairy items.
Tourists
There is a separate resort for tourists in the fort, the resort is attached to the walls of the fort (near the fort)
Its built 50 to 60 years back, even if it’s quite old the rooms are lovely and simple.
When you sleep in them u can hear the music of the river, which carries u away in the world of dreams along with an cold fresh breeze when u open the window.
Tourists have been coming to Nagar since 1927, there is a visitors book which shows all the history of the people who visited.
There are many visitors books old ones and new ones too.
Many famous people came to Nagar and stayed in the fort for e.g. Robert de Niro and Duke from London.
Last march Allama Iqbals family was present there, and recently the general of nato also visited it.
Overall many famous people visited the nagar fort like : politicians, scientists, sportsmen , actors and media people.
It’s a place which is on many people their list to visit.

Views
Tourists can have the amazing view of ibex in Chitral , they can also see snow leopard in Chitral goal national park.
From Nagar you can see the view of the lawari top which shows beautiful ice caps.
There is a garden on the back side of Nagar fort which is only meant for special guests.
Guests who have experienced being there, felt just like sitting on the titanic ship having a beautiful view of the Chitral river.
The top of the river from there seems like it is directly hitting you or coming towards you.
Majestic views of the surrounding mountains can be fully appreciated from the Nagar Fort.

Activities
You can go hiking on the nearby mountains.
There is a natural stream where you can swim.
You can go fishing & hunting
If you have a canoe u can go rafting.
Enjoying the beautiful views and meet the nature.
And afcours enjoy the music of the river at night while staying in the room.

Kalash valleys
Visiting Kalash valleys is definitely an interesting and unique experience.
The Kalash are an indigenous group of the Hindukush, settling in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan.
The Kalash are thought to be the direct descendants of either Greek settlers of the Alexander the Great’s army, or even Alexander himself.
The Kalash people live in three mountain valleys: Bumburet (Kalash: Mumuret), Rumbur (Rukmu), and Birir (Biriu).
These valleys are opening towards the Kunar River, some 20 km south (downstream) of Chitral.
Tourism now makes up a large portion of the economic activities of the Kalash. To cater to these new visitors, small stores and guest houses have been erected, providing new luxury for visitors of the valleys. Elevation: 1670-2309 meters (5,476-7,576 feet).
Normally tourists go to the kalash valley on jeeps and it takes 2 and a half hours from Nagar by car.
They are planning something different now, there is a route on the mountain which is right in front of the fort.
Then planning to get horses and ride to kalash valley from Nagar fort.
They have surveyed the tracks and working so tourists can go to the kalash valley on horses.
Which is very adventurous and an amazing way for tourists to make it even more special than it already is.

Shandoor – Polo ground
A famous sport in the area people like playing is polo.
Shandoor (Polo on the Roof Of world above 12,200 feet 3,700 m) is the highest polo ground in the world where matches are held between Chitral and gilgit teams every year in the month of July.
Here for tourists can be guided directly from Nagar fort to see this amazing polo ground.
Mighty Terichmir 7708 m
Hindu Kush, Chitral.
Terichmir is the highest mountain in the Hindu Kush and the highest mountain outside the Himalayan- Karakoram range, located in Chitral, Pakistan. The mountain was first climbed in 1950 by a Norwegian expedition consisting of Arne Næss, P. Kvernberg, H. Berg, and Tony Streather.
Terich Mir overlooks Chitral town, It can easily be seen from
the main bazaar.
It can also be seen from Afghanistan, according to a local legend, it is impossible to climb it, because of all the demons, witches and fairies who live up there.
Locals also believe that Tirich Mir is an abode of fairies.
From all over the Hindu Kush, fairies are said to come here for special meetings, washing and grinding rice.
The last village in Chitral before reaching Terich Mir is Terich, it is located in Mulkhow and the people there speak the Khowar language.
They are also planning to link terichmir with Nagar and take tourists to terichmir by jeeps from Nagar.
Having a trained mountaineer at Nagar fort taking them to see the terichmir.
This is also a way to make it easier for the tourists by taking them directly to terechmir.
Why Nagar fort?
Nagar fort is undoubtedly a very romantic, captivating and enchanting place worthwhile to see and stay.
It is a mountainous area in the extreme north of Pakistan which attracts people a lot.
The landscape is extremely mysterious and It’s a place where u can meet the nature.
It’s an amazing experience for people/tourists to see it once in their lives.
The family who owns this place are very friendly, hospitable and decent people.
They are awaiting tourists with an absolutely warm welcome.

Author : Shahzada Ghaziuddin

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Pakistan. A la rencontre des fées de l’Hindu Kush

Au loin, le sommet du Tirich Mir, 7708 mètres, royaume des fées. Copyright Sylvie Lasserre

Dans la vallée de Chitral et les montagnes de l’Hindu Kush, tout le monde croît aux fées, qu’on appelle ici « pari ». Leur royaume se trouve au sommet du Tirich Mir, un sommet majestueux qui s’élève à 7708 mètres d’altitude. Les fées sont belles, elles peuvent tomber amoureuses des humains, et parfois même devenir leurs alliées, s’exprimant par leur bouche. Un reportage radio de Sylvie Lasserre pour Détours, RTS (Radio Télévision Suisse). Copyright juillet 2012.

Ecoutez : Les merveilles de l’Hindu Kush. Rencontre avec les fées

Ecouter l’émission intégrale : Détours du 18.12.2012

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