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Himalaya

Day 8: The Kalash Valleys

Michael Palin - HimalayaAll night long the river keeps up a light roar, which, in my semi-sleep, becomes transmogrified into the rumble of an ancient air-conditioner. Finally woken by sunlight as hard and bright as Excalibur, I take in the simple tongue and groove walls, flimsy curtains and bare floor of the cabin I'm sharing with Basil, and conclude that this is not air-con territory. Through the window I have my first glimpse of a narrow twisting valley and an extended village of stone-walled houses squeezed along it.

The village of Rumbur takes its name from the river that runs through it, one of a number of steep and vigorous torrents cutting down through the mountains that separate the Chitral Valley from Afghanistan, chiselling out well-concealed canyons that have for centuries been the refuge of a tribe quite distinct from the rest of Pakistan. They have their own language, dress, customs and religion and because they are non-Muslim they have been historically known as Kafirs (Infidels), and this tight little land of theirs as Kafiristan.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 8: The Kalash Valleys
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Rumbur
  • Book page no: 25

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