Kalashi, Pakistan

Kalashi, Pakistan

The Kalasha live in three narrow V-shaped valleys situated in the North West province of Pakistan, and number about 3000 people. It’s a popular belief among outsiders that the Kalasha are descendants of the soldiers of Alexander the Great, but they were in the area long before this. Though; it seems likely that there have been some contact between them. The Kalasha storytellers themselves tell a legend of an unknown place called Tsyam, to the north, as origin of the Kalasha. There’s a wide variation of skin, eye and hair colour. Some are fair-skinned with blue or green eyes while others are slightly darker with brown eyes or reddish brown hair.
The Kalasha are not Muslims like the surroundings and have their own religion where the supreme god, Khodai, is creator of the universe. They also believe in several divines called Dewa who works under Khodai. Kalash women do not cover their head and face like the Muslim women and have fare more rights in matter of marriage, education, family life etc. The concept of pure and impure is an important part of the religion and have strong control over everyday activities – particularly for women. Objects, both animate and inanimate, exist in relative states of purity, and are an important part of religious rites and ceremonies. The concept of pure and impure has no relationship to cleanliness, hygiene and health practices.
Kalasha women are famous for their headdresses that are decorated with cowry shells from the Indian Sea, metal ornaments, beads are mother-of-pearl buttons. The one used for everyday life – shushut – is only taken off for sleeping. The more elaborate kupas is used for formal visiting and festivals. They also wear necklaces of numerous strings of beads in orange, red, white, green and yellow brought from Peshawar.