PESHAWAR   -   The foreign and domestic tourists and the local people thronged the Rambur and Bamburet valleys as the three-day Uchal festival kicked off in the scenic Kalash valley in Chitral district on August 20.

A great number of foreign and domestic tourists already arrived at the valley to enjoy the festival. The tourists also visited the his­toric museum in Kalash.

The Uchal festival continues for many more days moving on to different locations within the valley. The mega event of Uchal festival will be held in Rambur and Bamburet, besides An­ish, Broon Karakul, and other small villages in Kalash valley. A large number of young boys and girls gathered at the community hall in Rambur, sang songs, and danced to the drum­beat.

The festival celebrated in annual harvesting with singing, dancing, and paying homage to the nature for blessing them with good food and fruits. It is marked in the barley and wheat harvest season every year in August. The peo­ple of Kalasha community prepare cornbread, buttermilk, and cheese to celebrate the festival.

In the festival, Kalash women and girls deco­rate their houses and the ceremony is accom­panied by dancing and rhythmical chant to the drumbeat. They wear their traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled headdresses and adorned with coloured necklaces, and dance in a circle.

During the festival, prayers and processions are held at a high plateau outside the village in Balangkuru where the long night of dancing begins.

The Uchal festival is one of the cultural fes­tivals celebrated by Kalash community like many other festivals around the year. Before Uchal, the Kalash community also performs Ranat dance in July after harvesting the maize crop.

The festival is a very popular annual feature of the region which is the main contributor to­wards projecting and promoting the local cul­tural values across the world.

A large number of visitors especially for­eigners come up to the venue to attend this popular festival.