Places Around Chitral


Upper Chitral Valley
A jeep road goes along the Mastuj River for 107 kilometers (66 miles) to Mastuj in the Upper Chitral Valley. Break your journey at Subedars village, for it offers a good camping site with plenty of water and grass.
From Mastuj, cross the 3, 736 meter (12, 250 foot) Shandur Pass and camp on the meadows near the lake/river at Phandar. The Shandur Top is equally distanced from Chitral and Gilgit, the distance being about 168 km (105 miles). The only road over the pass can only be journeyed in jeeps. From January to May, it is closed for all traffic. Trekkers, mules and pedestrians however, can use it throughout the year. Resuming our journey, drive to Gilgit via Gakuch and Gupis. A two-day drive would take you from Chitral to Gilgit, and that too depends on the jeep road, whether it is open or not. If tourists intend to deviate from the main road, they must get a permit from the Deputy Commissioner.
There is also a Jeebable road goes to torkhow (the sub Tehsil of Mastuj). Torkhow also surrounds many beautiful small and big vallies. like Khot Valley, Rech valley, Melp Vally, and also villages like Istaru Shagram, Werkup, Rayen, Shutkhar, Washich etc.
GETTING THERE
To get to Chitral, the best and easiest way is by air from Peshawar. Since 1962, PIA has been operating daily Fokker flights to Chitral on subsidized rates. The flight takes 55 minutes but as is the case with all flights to the northern areas, this too is scheduled by the weather. To deal with this frequent cancellation of flights, book several days in advance.
Chitral is at a distance of 393 kilometers (245 miles) from Islamabad and 363 Km (227 miles) from Peshawar. It would take you 10-12 hours to get there by road. Drive from Islamabad or Peshawar via Chakdara and Dir, and over the 3,118-meter (10,230 feet) high and 3118-meter long Lowari Pass. Amongst all roads that take you to Chitral, this is the only metalled one. Today, the National Highway Authority is responsible for the construction and maintenance of this road. Nearing the pass, the weather beaten road r climbs up on the Dir side in wide loops and plunges into Chitral in about 50 sphincter tightening switchbacks. Clouds envelop the Lowari summit throughout the year. These are accompanied by high winds strong enough to blow away your hats and other small belongings. Here is also a small hut that serves as a customs check post with a tea stall by its side. Gypsies, with their tents and other belongings, can be seen on the road in the beginning and end of the summer season.
Snow blocks the pass from December to April. During this time, the Kunar road is the only way into Chitral. Opened in 1987, the road links Chitral and Kunar; it enters Afghanistan at Arandu. Running through the Afghan province of Kunar, it re-enters Pakistan through the Khyber Pass. The road remains open throughout the year, and its usage is made possible through an interim arrangement between the Chitral administration and Afghan authorities. Work has been undertaken to construct a tunnel under the summit so bring the pass into use at any time of the year. Due to financial and technical reasons, however, the project has not yet been accomplished.
If you want to get to Chitral from Upper Swat, the route goes via Mingora, Chakdara, Timargarha, Dir and the Lowari Pass, and would take you about 10 hours. Buses are stationed at Mingora that leave for Timargarha at short intervals. At Timargarha, you will have to change for Dir. At Dir, get a jeep from Manzar Hotel this will take you to Chitral via Lowari Pass. To get to Chitral from Gilgit, the 405 km (252-mile) journey would take 20-25 hours. Get a jeep to take you to Phander (below Shandur Pass). Camp there for the night and resume your journey the next day. As an alternative, you can also hire private cars (with drivers) from Tourist Information Centers and rent-a-car companies. On reaching Chitral, all tourists must register with the police. This can be done from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in summer and 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in winter. The task cannot be accomplished on Sunday, which is a holiday, and at noon at Friday and Saturday.
To get an idea of the infrastructure, 150 km of black-topped road serves an area of about 15 thousand square km. It has been pointed out that the most risky roads in the country are those in Chitral. To deal with the problem, the drivers have devised a code; when two drivers coming in the opposite direction meet, the better and the more experienced one reverses to the side of the narrow road such that room is made for the other to pass.


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