kalash valley religion

The people of Kalash are divided into two religions Islam and Kalash‘s traditional religion. This 2nd religion is called Animism by some observers. Some people also relate it with ancient Indo-Aryan religion which is a form of ancient-Hinduism.

older lady in kalash valley


Kalash religion share many traits of myths, society, echoes according to Sanskrit language but it is different than the religion’s traditions deployed in India. This religion is more like their neighbors of Nuristan but totally different than other communities around them. These people belong to the northeast region of Afghanistan.

Many writers of different countries described this religion in different ways. Professor Barbara A. West from University of Rochester said in “Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania”:

“Religion is a form of Hinduism that recognizes many gods and spirits.” that “Given their Indo-Aryan language, the religion of the Kalasha is much more closely aligned to the Hinduism of their Indian neighbors”

E.J. Michael Witzel in his book

“The Origins of the World’s Mythologies”

called this valley

“Pre-Hindu Kalash”

The journalist Frud Bezhan unites all of these perceptions, unfolding the religion followed by the Kalash as being

“a form of ancient Hinduism infused with old pagan and animist beliefs.”

kalash girls dancing in a festival


This Isolated region of Kalash is strongly related to the Pre-Islamic Nuristan due to their culture, values, and unique festivals. Richard Strand said about this region after spending three decades in these valleys that:

“Before their conversion to Islam, the Nuristan’s practiced a form of ancient Hinduism. Infused with accretions developed locally. They acknowledged a number of human-like deities who lived in the unseen Deity World. “

Chilam Joshi

Their also a general belief in these mountains about fairies which are now referred to as “Peri” in Urdu or Persian. But still called Apsaras in some regions and they believed to be helping the hunters and killing the enemies. Harvard professor Michael Witzel summarizes the faith of Kalash people:

“In myth, it is notably the role of Indra, his rainbow and his eagle who is shot at, the killing of his father, the killing of the snake or of a demon with many heads, and the central myth of releasing the Sun from an enclosure. Importantly, the division between two groups of deities (Devalog) and their intermarriage has been preserved, and this dichotomy is still re-enacted in rituals and festivals, especially the Chaumos. Ritual still is Among the Kalash it is basically, though not always, temple-less, involving fire, sacred wood, three circumambulations. Some features already have their Vedic, and no longer their Central Asian form.”

These are believed which are famous in these mountains from decades but now due to the arrival of Islamic culture these people are turning towards Islam. Kalash culture religion and is also highly influenced by Islamic Values and Ideology. They believe in one Supreme God it is one example of influence.

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