Snow golf means joys, laughter and feast in Chitral

Losing village slaughters cattle to treat the winners; king-of-the-day is selected to command the game


February 07, 2019
People enjoy snow golf in Kalash Valley. PHOTOS: EXPRESS

The Kalash Valley in Chitral is blanketed in snow, the perfect time for the indigenous game, snow golf or crackgar in Kalash language. Rules are simple, clubs are wooden and the puck is placed on tee made of snow.

Scores of Kalash men, women and tourists come out on sunny days to enjoy snow golf in the beautiful snow covered valley. People come out to enjoy the weather and warm up their spirits by indulging in sports involving the whole community of the village.

Snow-golf contests are held among villages creating a festive mood in the chilly atmosphere. Snow golf is a popular game of the Kalash people which they adopted from Afghanistan’s Nooristan province, which shares borders with Chitral.

The game became a part of the culture when the rulers of Chitral invited people from Afghanistan to live in the Kalash Valley to protect intrusion in Chitral. This game is famous as Crackgar in the Kalash language. People from one settlement challenge people of another village to play the game. The losing team slaughters cow, goat, and bull to give a feast to the players of another village.

They also dance to beats, sing songs and play flutes in the hosting village. The party continues till morning. Selecting the king is the most important part of the game. The entire village after the selection is bound to obey his commands for a day. The king also treats the village people to a feast and considers his selection as an honour.

The interesting and unique game played in the Kalash Valley is of high importance for the promotion of winter tourism in the region. The provincial government has begun taking initiatives for the promotion of tourism.

Adding this game as World Indigenous Winter Sports Festival in the Calendar Events can help to promote tourism and also play an important role in keeping various games alive.

Distinguished tourist guide, Ashfaq Ahmed Sagar and Kalash People’s Development Network’s Chief Executive Lok Rehmat in an exclusive talk with Daily Express said that the Kalash Valley is not heaven for the tourists in the summer seasons only but also for the winter specifically during the snowfall.

He opined that an astounding surge in the tourism income in Chitral and K-P can be witnessed if the government organises 10-day Winter
Sports Festival as part of the Calendar Event. He added that the provincial tourism minister is determined about promoting tourism in Chitral and that the minority MPA Wazir Zada is also a part of the tourism task force.

Hence, the people in Chitral and Kalash Valleys look forward to the government to take pragmatic measures and make tourism spots and festivals a source of livelihood for the local people.

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