‘Jashan-e- Qaqlasht’ is the old-age festival of the people of northern Chitral with a history of more than 2,000 years. Raees rulers used to organize it in the remote past to be continued by the Kator dynasty, which not only assiduously patronized this particular cultural event, but also promoted other festivals e.g. Jashan-e- Shandur and Jashan-e-Chitral.

However, after the status of Chitral as an autonomous princedom came to an end in 1969, the festivals of the indigenous mountain communities ceased to be celebrated until 2003 when Jashan-e- Chitral for the first time was revived through the support of UNESCO after its discontinuation for 27 years and Jashan-e- Qaqlasht after abandoning for 35 years.

Qaqlasht
qaqlasht2-chitral

In recent years, Qaqlasht festival is celebrated in the month of April. Major Events of the festival includes traditional sports like Polo, and Matches of tug of war, Falcon prey, Race, Shooting(of ‘Siyah Kaman’), Local hockey, football and other activities like Buddy Dik, Cultural show, Quiz competition, Mushaira, Traditional food stalls, and paragliding.

It also features music of reed instrument and that of pure Chitrali sitar. Folk dance includes ‘chong righishi’ and ‘tatali wawali’, and ‘mamashish’ which are at the verge of extinction.

The festival is organized with the objective to protect the indigenous Kho culture and to highlight and market it as tourism product so as to attract maximum national and international tourists to the region that could help reduce poverty by providing tourism-related job opportunities to the locals apart from promoting cross-cultural understanding and harmony. Government and non-governmental including Jashn-e- Qaqlasht Committee, Provincial government and Minister of Sports and Culture, Volunteers Leadership from different political parties, Representatives from student organizations and Local administration are playing an important role in the promotion of the festival.

Though very identical with the Shandur polo festival but still needs efforts to promote and properly market the festival at national as well as international level. Electronic and print media coverage of the festival is expected to attract large number of tourists in up coming years.

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