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The Kalasha (Kalasha: Kaĺaśa; Kalasha-ala: Kalaṣa; Urdu: کالاش‎), or Kalash, also called Waigali or Wai, are a Dardic Indo-Aryan indigenous people residing in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They speak the Kalasha language, from the Dardic family of the Indo-Aryan branch. They are considered unique among the people of Pakistan. They are also considered to be Pakistan's smallest ethnoreligious group, practising a religion which many authors characterise as a form of animism, and others regard it as a derivative of the pre-Vedic ancient Indo-Aryan religion, which in turn is described by some as "a form of ancient Hinduism".The term is used to refer to many distinct people including the Väi, the Čima-nišei, the Vântä, plus the Ashkun- and Tregami-speakers. The Kalash are considered to be an indigenous people of Asia, with their ancestors migrating to Chitral valley from another location possibly further south, which the Kalash call "Tsiyam" in their folk songs and epics. Some of the Kalash traditions consider the various Kalash people to have been migrants or refugees. They are also considered by some to have been either descendants of foreign people, Gandhari people and the Indians of eastern Afghanistan. Based on analysis of genetic drift, the Kalash may be descendants of migrants of north Eurasian stock, who were some of the earliest migrants from West Asia into South Asia.The neighbouring Nuristani people of the adjacent Nuristan (historically known as Kafiristan) province of Afghanistan once had the same culture and practised the same faith adhered to by the Kalash though with some distinctions. The first historically recorded Islamic invasions of their lands were by the Ghaznavids in 11th century while they themselves are first attested in 1339 during Timur's invasions. Nuristan had been converted to Islam in 1895–96, although some evidence has shown the people continued to practice their customs. The Kalash of Chitral have maintained their own separate cultural traditions.

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  1. CountryGent

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