A traditional headdress decorated with shells and beads. The Shu'shut is a band worn by women on their heads in their everyday dress, with a long tail that falls at the back. It is elaborately decorated with shells, beads, chain and embroidery.
The Kalash are known as the indigenous people of Chitral, and their ancestors migrated to Chitral from Afghanistanin the 2nd century BC.
Unlike the Kafirs of Afghanistan who were forcibly converted to Islam in mid-1890s by the Amir of Kabul, the Kalash Valleys happened to fall on the British side of the Durand Line, and the Kalasha were allowed to continue in their ancient beliefs first under the British, then later under the constitution of Pakistan.
Tens of thousands of Kalasha people, also called Nuristanis, were forcibly converted to Islam during the last century, only a few thousand retain their ancestral religion and traditions.
With their light colouring — some even have green eyes — the Kalasha are rumoured to be the descendants of Alexander the Great’s army, which conquered the Hindu Kush in the 4th century B.C. In Kalasha oral history, the people are the children of "Salaxi," their name for Alexander.
Girls are usually married at an early age. If a woman wants to change husbands, she will write a letter to her prospective husband offering herself in marriage and informing the would-be groom how much her current husband paid for her. This is because the new husband must pay double if he wants her. For example, if the current husband paid one cow for her, then the new husband must pay two cows to the original husband if he wants her.