Aug 18, 2014

Old Nuristan (Kafiristan) in pictures

shrine of Arom ( Kam tribal God ) Kamdesh Kafiristan , inside the wooden enclosure

 is a holy stone sacred to the God Arom . As God of contracts all
 oaths and treaties were taken and sealed at Aroms shrine .
the shrine of Mahandeo at Batrik - Bruhn Mumret valley Kalashadesh . 1929 - 1930
former Kalashi kot (tower) at Bruhn village
Aspai village - upper Bashgal valley Kafiristan = Gromma = holy dancing platform .
This village was visited and photographed by Sir Lovelock in 1885 ( Gilgit mission ect )
 , photos of village effigies and Kati lady in horned headdress are held at the London
 India office archive / British museum ect . This village was built like a fort with only 
1 entry point with all the houses facing inwards .

Upper Presun valley Kafiristan . This valley was scared to Mara (Imra- Dezau )

 the Great God of Kafiristan , here he had his largest and holiest temple along with several shrines , 
altars and other sacred spaces . 
Unlike the warlike other Kafiristani tribes the Presun valley tribe was peaceful and very religious .
The Presun tribe are considered to be among the first to settle the hindu kush .
The Mara Temple of Presun valley Kafiristan ( the spiritual centre of Kafiristan )
 known to the Kalashi as the Temple of Mahandeo , holiest site in all of Kafiristan.
 It had 7 large door's ( 5 of which were closed all the time ) 
on it's front side with several large effigy's of Mara ( Imra )and much lovely carving as well.
 A holy cave near by was used to offer
 sacrifice and was in Kafiristani mythology a direct entrance to
 the underworld of the Ancestor's ( one had to walk backwards 
to approach it as all those who looked at it were cursed ).
 In a house next door to the Temple was an iron pole
 that Imra himself had placed there = that was the axis mundi of the Kafiristani world
 . see Robersons - Kafirs of the Hindu Kush for a detailed description of the Temple .
Grompisht village - Urtzun valley Gromma = Holy dancing platform = Rikh'ini
before the shrine of Gy'iz Kamdesh Kafiristan
Imra's altar at the Kati village of Brumotul- Mumret valley - Kalasha desh

Kafiristani loving couple chair carving
Brumotul big man Kafiristani grave house

Waigal / Ashkungal area Kafiristani loving couple post
Kafiristani big man grave house Waigal valley
Imra's ( Dezau ) shrine and Sacred tree at Urtsun valley . 
The shrine's Kam influence is clear , this valley had a mixed
 Kalashi + Kam tribal society . 
A simple carving of Imra's face sits up top and is crowned with horns.
Imra's ( Dezau ) shrine and Sacred tree at Urtsun valley .
 The shrine's Kam influence is clear , this valley had 
a mixed Kalashi + Kam tribal society .
 A simple carving of Imra's face sits up top and is crowned with horns.

Kafiristani carving and a common Kalashi design

 too used to adorn doors and beams on there houses .
Dara = Kafiristani memorial gateway in Bashgul valley at the entrance to a side valley .
These , like the effigys were erected to honour Big Men in the community
winter rite at shrine of Dizane Kamdesh lower Bashgal valley 
Kafiristan = shrine is made in the Parun valley style , 
unlike the local flat roofed Bashgal valley type shrine. 
Imra's shrine can just be made out in the background , 
these shrine's were above Kamdesh and Imra and other god's had
 more shrine's below Kamdesh , there was all so a sacred pool below Kamdesh .

Altar of Sajigor Rukmu valley- Kalasha desh
Female Kafiristani effigy = horned ect
Kam woman dance to the Gods while there men raid .
The horned headdress that was used by the Bashgal valley
 women for religious dances and such .
The horns can be seen in female effigys ( todays Kalashi only make male effigys ).

Dal hero effigies - memorials to the brave
Presun valley Deity effigys = the square faced deity effigy is a Parun valley tradition .
farm house 
Kafiristani Tower
Mumret valley Kalasha desh
the Sajigor shrine of Rukmu valley
Kalashi Ancestor shrine Grom village - Rukmu valley - Kalasha desh
Brumotul house post's
Peck valley Kafiristani pillar

Kafiristani holy dance in traditional headdress
Weshi = wife of Mara = Great God of the Presun valley Kafiristan
Grom village gri = dancing ground , Rukmu valley

native Kafiristani dances
Kati Gromma = holy dancing platform Kunisht village
 - Rukmu valley - Kalasha desh .
Kamdesh Kafiristan shrine of Mother Goddess Dizane Kalashi
 - Jaztek ) dancing plat form ( Gromma ) below

High Priest of Lutdeh village Bashgul valley Kafiristan , 

walks beside altar and dancing ground = Gromma
below Kamdesh brave's practice
Brumotul village house carvings Mumret valley Kalasha desh.
 Brumotul was originally a small hamlet that protected the Kalashi from Kati raids
 ( just like Kunisht ), but after the conquest of Kafiristan by the Afgan's
 several hundred Kati and Kam tribal refugee's settled in 3 
of the then 5 Kalashi valleys of Urtsun - Mumret and Rumbur
 As well as 2 or 3 non Kalashi villages in the Chitral region
Kati Animist grave yard at Kunisht village Rukmu valley Kalasha desh
Shing - mou = horn altar , erected on Shing - brei = horn altar day
 - 1st day of Joshi spring festival . Rukmu valley
Imra stone at Brumotul village
Kunisht Kati village , upper Rukmu valley - Kalasha Desh
Kunisht village Gromma = holy dancing platform. Rukmu valley
Kunisht - Kati village - Rukmu valley - Gromma ( holy dancing plat form )

High Priests house Kamdesh

High Priests house Kamdesh
Bragmatal ( Lutdeh ) upper Bashgal valley kafiristan , it was from bragmatal 
 that a large part of the Brumotul , Kunisht Kati refugees came in the late 1890s 
.after the Afgans had destroyed all the temples and shrines , murdered many priests
 - Islamic mullas were sent in . Those in the upper Bashgal valley were all invited to 
Lutdeh were they were all killed to appease those spirits of the murdered
 , it was after this that several hundred Kati from upper Bashgal valley
 fled to Kalash a desh just as winter closed the mt passes behind them
old Dewa village Amol ( clan Temple ) - Presun (Parun) valley with Goddess statue
Kalashi and Kati effigys at Peshawar museum
Ramgul valley Kafiristan , this is in the western region of kafiristan
 ( Kalasha Desh is at the eastern end of Kafiristan )
tomb of Kafiristani big man Waigul valley
tomb of Kafiristani big man Waigul valley
Kafir rite - Kam tribal chief Priest in 1881 at Kamdesh village in the Bashgul valley
Brumbutol Grave yard
Holy dance at Kamdesh gromma ( dancing platform )

Kafiristani grave yard Bashgul valley
Dara = Kafiristani memorial gateway in Bashgul valley at the entrance to a side valley 
.These , like the effigys were erected to honour Big Men in the community .



  1. Thanks to Mr. Lucius for providing these precious pictures.

    Abdul Wahid Nuristani

  2. Thanks, we Nuristani appreciate you for this.
    Good luck 😊

  3. Thanks from Goce Janevski 47 Economist as well
    Regards from Macedonia ,Republic of

  4. Does anyone could tell about Kalashi symbols.
    Do they have the Sun and Lion as Hunza ppl has ?
    As we Macedonians have got .
    Thanks in advance

    1. Так же есть Перун,ритуальные танцы и песни заклички ,исполняемые на свадьбах и похоронах,в деревнях.В том числе и в Македонии.

    2. Thanks for your comment. but i could not understand the language.

  5. Nuristani people are not Asian and Islamic but descendants of Greece,Macedonia and surrounding countries with ancient pagan religion. Monstrous and uncivilized rulers of Afghanistan and Pakistan have destroyed and are slowly destroying them completely instead of treasuring them.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Your sympathy with us is appreciated

    2. Can I have a Nuristani Dictionary or a link.

    3. There is no dictionary available but below could help you in understanding the languages spoken in Nuristan:

  6. I am from Assam ( Northeast of India ). Old name of my province was Kamrup. I find many similarities between the words of both place. In kamviri language, ripe is called as ' Poka ' , We have the same word. A Liar is called as ' Misolea ' in kamviri and in Assamese language. I think the people of Kamdesh migrated to north india through Himalayan route and settled in Assam.

  7. Thanks Gouratra. Enough written documents are not available on Nuristan's history, people and culture. I have not been to India, however, for sure there cultural and linguistic similarities found which requires further research and studies.