Saturday, June 18, 2011

BROGHIL FESTIVAL-2011 (16th July to 18th July)

BROGHIL FESTIVAL-2011 (16th July to 18th July)



1. Introduction:

Located at a distance of 250 km from main Chitral town, the Broghil valley is the Northern most valley of Chitral district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. By virtue of its strategic location having both internal and international borders, Broghil is one of the most important valleys in the region. Towards the north the valley is connected with famous Wakhan Strip of Afghanistan through the famous “Broghil Pass”. Another important pass “Darwaza” connects Broghil with Afghanistan in the North-west. Broghil pass for the large part of the year remains open for the to and fro movement of the communities, as the population of both sides have familial and tribal relationship with each other since centuries. In the southeast direction the valley is connected with Yasin valley of Gilgit Baltistan region via Darkot Pass. Towards east the valley joins the Karumbar valley through famous Karumbar pass towards Ghizer district of Gilgit Baltistan. In the south Broghil joins the main valley of Yarkhun towards Mastuj and Chitral town. The valley runs narrowly from southwest to northeast along the Broghil River with high mountains on both sides. The stable and somehow open slopes on both sides of the river provide space for settlement and agriculture practices. The valley is comprised of high mountain peaks, wide plains, steep slopes and deep canyons inhabited by “Wakhi” people. It covers a total area of 124964 hectors. The history of Broghil dates back to centuries when communities from different tribal backgrounds i.e. Wakhan, Tajikistan, China etc started pouring into the Broghil valley while searching for rich pastures and safe refuge.

2. Broghil Festival-2011: (A brief Background)

With its lash green meadows, snow clad sky high peaks, mesmerizing Qurambar lake, fascinating wetlands and unique and unexplored Broghil is place with immense tourism potential. To harness the tourism potential of the valley the Chiantar Welfare Society Broghil back in 1999 started Broghil festival. The underlying objectives of this festival are to promote cultural dynamics and aesthetic value of Broghil among tourists and nature loving groups and individual. Since its inception in 1999 the festival is playing vital role not only in promoting cultural values of the valley but is also contributing in supporting the pastoral based economy of the valley. Since the start of the festival tourist influx has increased many folds.

But to the dismay of local population of Broghil the festival was banned through presidential directives in 2007 for unknown reasons. The ban remained effective for two years i.e. 2007-09.

Later on, through the hectic efforts of Chiantar Welfare Society Broghil and Pakistan Wetlands the ban was lifted in 2010. During 2010 large number of tourists including media persons from GEO TV, PTV and representatives of press also participated in Broghil festival and extended coverage to the events of festival. This further enhanced the magnetism of the festival.

The festival is playing a pivotal role in highlighting the natural exquisiteness of Broghil alongside promoting its unique cultural contrasts both at national and international level.

Besides, the festival is also proving helpful in creating income generating opportunities to resource constrained communities of Broghil valley.

This year too Chiantar Welfare Society Broghil (CWSB) in collaboration with its partners including Pakistan Wetlands Programme, Sarhad Tourism Development Corporation, HASHOO Foundation, Walk About Development Solution and AKRSP is planning to celebrate Broghil Festival from July 16-18, 2011.

3. Existing Sport Events of Broghil Festival 2011includes the following

v Buz Kashi

v Yak Polo

v Yak Race

v Polo

v Horse Race

v Mountain Marathon

v Tug of War

v Mountain Football

v Women Horse and Yak race

v Paragliding by Paraglide Association team

4. Cultural Activities of Broghil Festival 2011 includes the following Events

v Wakhi Music with Daaf and flute

v Women traditional songs, dance with cultural dress

v Wakhi Traditional items, handicrafts, utensils etc display by Women folk

v Wakhi Foods Display by Wakhi women folk

5. Tourism potential at Broghil Valley:

Tourism especially eco-tourism plays a meaningful role in the socio-economic uplift of local communities in rural mountain areas. Broghil valley has all basic ingredients for eco-tourism promotion as mean of livelihood and subsistence. Broghil is famous for its unique wetlands ecosystem and cultural diversity. Besides, availability of trained human resource to manage tourists locally further adds to the tourism attraction of the Broghil valley.

The wetlands ecosystem of Broghil is comprised of more than 35 high alpine lakes, Peatlands and hot springs. To facilitate the incoming tourists the Chiantar Welfare Broghil in Collaboration with Pakistan Wetlands Programme and KPK Wildlife Department has established four camping sites in Broghil valley. In brief the tourism attractions of Broghil include following features:

The tourism attractions of the valley include following socio-ecological features:

* Passes: Broghil is home to some world famous passes. Some of the passes frequently used by the local communities for trans boundary movement are listed below:

o Darkhot Pass: It connects Broghil valley with Yasin valley of Gilgit-Baltistan in the east.

o Sukhtarabad Pass: This pass connect Broghil valley with Ishkiman valley of GB and also connects Broghil valley with Chupursan via Chilinji Pass

o Qarambar Pass: It connects Broghil valley with the highest plateau of the world called the little Pamir

o Darwaza/Broghil Pass: It is also called a window into central Asia. It is a historical pass and was part of the well known silk route.

* Hot springs: Unique hot springs are found scattered through out the length of Broghil valley. The presence of these springs adds to the natural beauty of Broghil valley. The well known hot springs of the valley are:

o Hot Springs of Garamchasma. Garamchasma is one of the largest villages of Broghil valley. It is name is also derived from two words Garam meaning hot and Chasma meaning spring.

o Hot spring of Garil villages.

* Historical Places:

o The ruins of Historical Forte of famous Wakhi Ruler Ali Mardan are also found in Broghil valley

o In ancient times pilgrims from Turkey and other adjacent Countries used to travel through Broghil valley. Ancient graveyards of Turks are also found in Garil and Chikar village of Broghil

o Teerdast is also a famous historical places located in the upper part of Lashkargaz village of Broghil. The place is famous for its hanging arrows from the solid rock and the name Teerdast also originates from these hanging arrows. In Wakhi dialect Teer means arrow. There different myths associated with these arrows.

* High alpine lakes (more than 35 biologically active lakes)

o The majestic Qurambar lake on Chitral-Gilgit Borader

o Surkheen Lake near Darwaza Paza

o Biban Xheoye

o Khinin Xheoye and much more

* Famous mountain peaks (above 20000ft)

o Miankoh peak at Kishmanjh

o Qurambar peak

o Khoye peak

* Famous glaciers:

o Chiantar Glacier (33 KM long)

o Chati Boye Galcier

The Pony Trekking route of Broghil is one of the world famous trekking routes. Before the advent of 9/11 incidents hundreds of foreign tourists used to travel on this trekking route. Besides, the wide stretched Peatlands and grasslands of Chikar, Chilmarabad and Lashkargaz villages of Broghil furthers adds to the beauty of the valley.

However, despite having such enormous potential to tourists are still reluctant to visit Broghil valley. This is due to poor infrastructure and lack of basic tourist facilities in the valley. To promote eco-tourism establishment of tourist camping site at suitable places in Broghil is indispensible. To boost tourism sector in the valley as livelihood diversification mean the NAWC-PWP has established four camping ground and equipped tourist camping site in Broghil valley with the basic necessities.

Objectives: The main objective of Broghil Festival:

The overall and long term goal of the festival is to promote the soft image of Islamic Republics of Pakistan to outside world. Besides, the festival also tries to achieve following short term objectives:

o Diversification of local livelihood means through sports and cultural activities

o Engage the locally trained human resource in productive means of income generation

o Encourage national and international tourist to plan their schedule to Broghil valley

o To promote Wakhi Culture and indigenous sports in the valley

o To provide social platform and alternate activities against drug

o To highlight the issues and constraint faced by the Broghil communities

o To encourage the sports lovers and youths of the region

o Promote the unique cultural heritage of the valley

* Anticipated outputs of the activity

o Basic infrastructure to support tourism in the valley is available

o Local livelihood means are diversified

o Household income of the site owners and trained porters augmented

o National and international tourist influx in Broghil valley increased

o Sports lovers will be encouraged

* camping sites in Broghil valley

o Kishmanja, Broghil

o Chilmarabad, Broghil

o Lashkargaz, Broghil

o Chikar, Broghi

We are leading an expedition to Shandoor and beyond onwards to Broghil pass to see the Broghil festival from 16th to 18th July 2011.

Friends are requested to join us and promote our cause for ecotourism and adventure hiking.

Dr. Babur Zahiruddin