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17th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest People
OLD LADY-KALASH PEOPLE, KARAKAL VILLAGE,BUMBORET VALLEY, N.PAKISTAN

The ancient ethnic group of the Kalash people, live high in the remote mountains of Pakistan’s Hindu Kush (an extension of the Himalayas) deep in the valleys of Bumboret, Rumbur and Birir, near the inaccessible mountain border of Taliban-controlled zones of Afghanistan. For centuries this light-skinned, pagan people have claimed to be the long-lost descendants of Alexander the Great’s armies. With a population of just over 3,500 they are an oasis of color and warmth in stark contrast to the seemingly inhospitable land that surrounds them. Villages are little more than a scattering of wooden homes. The word “Kalash” means “black” and refers to the clothing worn by the women and girls. Colorful wool headdresses cascade to the women’s shoulders. These kupas are packed with tight rows of cowry shells brought from the Indian coast. The shells are believed to embody prayers for fertility.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2018
Date Uploaded: 11.2019
Photo Location: KARAKAL VILLAGE,BUMBORET VALLEY , Pakistan
Camera: ILCE-7M3
Copyright: © Dimitra Stasinopoulou