Broghil Valley is a valley and national park located in the upper northern reaches Chitral District, of Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. It is located close to the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Broghil valley is located at a distance of 250 km from main Chitral town and is the northern most valley of Chitral district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Its extended glaciers, incredible wildlife, scattered wetlands, rich wilderness, green meadows and mighty mountains are a testament to the untapped tourism potential of the area.
The ecological significance of the area is immense in the form of biodiversity, glaciers, rugged terrain, pastures and rills. Established in 2010, the Broghil National Park is a treasure of wild indigenous and migratory fauna especially of Pamirian and Siberian bird species. Broghil valley is basically Alpine tundra, a treeless mountain tract where vegetation consists of dwarf shrubs, sedges and grass, moss and lichen. The valley supports about 30 freshwater lakes of various sizes, presenting breathtaking sights which serve as energisers during the long traverse through the valley. Kuramber Lake, from where the River Chitral originates, is known as the King Lake, being the 31st highest land lake in the world
The area is mostly mountainous tracts. Elevations range from 3,280m at Kishmanjah village to 4,304m at Karamber Lake in northeast. The terrain is undulating, with steep mountains, wide stretch grassy plains and narrow valleys. The total area of peatlands and lakes is almost 3,400 ha.
To avail the opportunity of visiting this incredible land, two options are available. One can take a flight but it is often subject to cancellation because of weather conditions; the alternate option is to drive to Chitral town from where another 14-hour drive and trek through the meandering valley and road is required to reach the destination. Mastuj is the nearest place; however, Broghil is still about 10-hour drive and hike away. The track has now been developed into a jeepable road up to Shakarwar which earlier had to be covered entirely on horses or ponies.
Visit a lesser known place that features a lesser known sport
The adventurous track across the valley up to Kurambar Lake would expose tourists to many fabulous scenes that appear as if they have come out of a picture book.
These landmarks attract many local and international tourists to this part of the country, especially in summer and preferably between June-August for its colourful events and landscapes. And among those events is one you’ve probably never heard of before: Yak polo While Shandur is known to many because of horse polo where thousands of visitors come to see the sport, the yak polo of the Broghil Valley is a rare sight for many tourists because it is organised in the farther valley, which is difficult and time-consuming to reach. The Broghil festival is organised with a gap of about a week between it and the Shandur festival to provide an opportunity for visitors.
Usually the three-day Broghil festival is held in mid-July, soon after the Shandur festival, but due to Ramazan falling in July this year the festival was organised in the third week of the August at Shakarwar. According to Umar Rafee, president of the Chianter Welfare Society, “Celebration of the Broghil festival helps to expose the area and its culture to the rest of the country and the world besides maintaining the cultural integrity of this very tract.”
It is not just all festivity; visitors also get the opportunity to enjoy the rich panorama of the valley. Historically, the Wakhi communities in the Broghil are the descendents of people from the Wakhan corridor, which extends from China to Afghanistan, between Tajikistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, who headed here for its vast meadows. While traversing the length and breadth of the valley, the pastoral lifestyle of the local communities can be observed.
Those who make it to this exquisite event shouldn’t expect much in terms of facilities ahead of Mastuj. The terrain is rough and there are no hotels or restaurants for visitors, who will have to stay in tents.