Winter sets in in the narrow valleys of Hindukush, and life goes into a hibernation-like condition, for the next three months. Deep snow covers everything and mercury dips below zero for months on end. Finally the black patches appear on the white sheet of snow towards the mid of the month, locally called Shadagh (black spots). Next, migrating ducks appear, on their return journey to the north, during the month called Alian (the Duck's). Winter departs slowly, and life re-awakens from its long slumber, as a great polar bear does. Khowar saying says "winter comes down from above and spring comes up from below". Spring creeps up the valley slowly. It is followed by an army of petty traders, tourists, trekkers, mountaineers, visiting government officials, and religious preachers. Above all, in the air you see migrating birds of innumerable variety.
The following song (a contemporary one) welcomes all of them to this hospitable land:-
Welcome to my land, Chitral, with the new spring season.
Come down the Lowary Pass, gate way to my home.
Here comes my first village, Ashiret, prominent with its rows of wooden houses.
Climb down to the river level, it is Mirkhani, with green hills all around.
Come up to the lovely town of Drosh, how I love its streets!
To the right is Ayon, the town which is like an ancient Syrian city.
Ayon leads to the legendary Kalash Valleys, so much sought by tourists, world over.
Up along the river comes the beautiful land called Jughur;
Walking through it, I wish the road never end!
Now you are in the Capital City, Chitral. Climb the hill-side of Raihankot, and look down;
There is the castle, where once lived our King (Chitral was once an independent kingdom).
Across the Chew Bridge, you begin the journey to the Upper Chitral.
Here are the beautiful villages of Koghuzi and Ragh, with overhanging high rocks above.
Here the Golen Stream emptying its white foaming waters into the River.
Further up, you come to Barenis;
Sitting in the cool shade of its great Chenar trees, look down to the panorama presented by villages like Mori and Preit.
Above Barenis is Rashun, the land of lovers.
And then comes Kuragh, where the narrow valley suddenly opens up, and you feel entering the great plain of Punjab.
Look up, and you see the great plateau of Qaqlast before you. It is lush green at this part of the year.
To the right is Booni, famous for its Ibex hunting grounds.
To the front, runs up Torkhow Valley, where flocks of doves roam.
Above Booni, you come to the twin villages of Miragram and sonoghur.
Sonoghur is the paradise of the poet Malang, who sang to Sonoghur lifelong.
Now we are in Mastuj, the ancient seat of civilization. Here cool breeze comes from three directions.
Up the Yarkhun Valley the Darband Defile and Gerzindan remind me of my history'
Here, we used to defend our homeland against invaders from the North.
East from Mastuj goes up Laspur Valley, with shandur plains above it like a crown. People from all over love to come here.
Here at Shandur, our tour ends, and I bade farewell to you (from Shandur the territory of Gilgit-Baktistan begins).
Translated from Khowar by Mumtaz Hussain.