The Valley of Dir, which is full of enthralling beauty, chanting scenes and exhilarating climate is famous worldwide. This area is rich in snow-caped mountains, pine and fur forests, pleasant climate, crystal clear rivulets, melodious waterfalls and cataracts and lush green scenes.
Upper Dir district is 3,699 square kilometres in area and formed part of the former Malakand Division, lying along the Afghanistan border between Chitral, Bajaur Agency and Lower Dir.
Almost all of the district lies in the valley of the Panjkora river which rises high in the Hindu Kush at Lat. 35.45 and joins the Swat River near Chakdara in Malakand District, at Lat. 34.40. Upper Dir is rugged and mountainous with peaks rising to 16,000 feet (4,900 m) in the north-east and to 10,000 ft (3,000 m), along the watersheds with Swat to the east, Bajour Agency to south west, Chitral to North, Lower Dir to south and Afghanistan to the west.
It is connected with the Kohistan District via the Badawi Pass.
The district Dir upper is upper part of the old Dir district. At the time of independence Dir was a state ruled by Nawab Shah Jehan Khan. It was merged with Pakistan in 1969 and was declared as a district in 1970. In 1996, it was bifurcated into Upper and Lower Dir districts. Upper Dir district consists of DIR and Wari sub divisions with district headquarter at Dir.
HISTORY OF DIR:
Till 1880, Dir continued to be ruled by different chiefs. In 1881 Khan Umara khan of Jandool, captured Dir and brought all pity chiefs under his control. With in a period of three years, he extended Dir up to Swat and the present provincially administered tribal area of Malakand. He expelled the then ruler of Dir, Muhammad Sharif Khan from the state. The latter took up residence in Mardan district. In1895, getting alarmed at the growing influence of Umara Khan, the British government took a large force and defeated him in an engagement near Malakand. Umara Khan took asylum in Afghanistan, where he died subsequently. The British Government restored the former ruler, Muhammad Sharif Khan to the Gaddi of Dir. He was first called the Khan of Dir and latter elevated as Nawab. After the death of Muhammad Sharif Khan his son Muhammad Aurangzeb Khan and after his death, his son Nawab Muhammad Shah Jehan Khan, succeeded to the Gaddi of Dir. The Pakistan Government, therefore, in according with the wishes of the people of the state, deposed and removed him from the state, together with his second son, Khan Shahabuddin Khan of Jandool. The eldest son of the Nawab and their parents, Prince Muhammad Shah Khan Khusro, succeeded Nawab shah Jehan Khan in October 1961; Pakistan government recognized him as rightful ruler of the state. Dir, like other princely states acceded to Pakistan, of its inception in 1947. The princely status of Dir, along with the adjoining states of Swat and Chatral was brought to an end by a presidential declaration in 1969 and each one of them was merged with the then province of West Pakistan as separate administrative district. In1996 Dir district was bifurcated into two districts i.e Lower Dir and Upper Dir.
Gujar, Painda Khel, sultan khel, kadi khel, Swati Katani and Kohistani tribes populate district Dir Upper. The people of the district are very simple, hospitable and good pathans. They are known for their hard work. They all are Sunni Muslims. Poverty is wide spread. People live and die for their honor and dignity. They feel pride in taking revenge of their enemies but Jirga and hospitality is very dear to them.
The common dress amongst male and female is Shalwar Kamees and Chadar. In winter warm coats, sweaters, woolen pakol (cap) are used by male. The female belonging to poor families use bangles, rings, and charguls. Pazeb, ear- rings made of silver. The female of well -to -do- families use those ornaments made of gold.
The staple food of common man in the valley is generally wheat and maize bread. It is taken with milk, butter, lassi, onion and challis. Boiled rice with vegetables is used at dinner. On marriage functions and occasion, pulao, kabab, sweet rice and meat are presented to the guests.
People of the remote areas lead a nomadic life. They have katcha houses made of stones, clay and wood. The occupants and their livestock's commonly use the rooms. In winter, the people migrates with their cattle's to the plan areas as well other districts, where fodder are available for their cattle's. Since the district is mountainous, the people usually live on their respective lands available for cultivation. Normal household consists of kut (bed), a wooden box, blanket, darri or matting.
Majority of the people in the district are Muslims and belong to Hanifi school of thought. All the Muslim population offers prayers regularly and observes fast during Ramadan.
Farming daily wages, trade and working overseas are the main occupations of the people. Due to lack of employment opportunities, large number of people is either employed in private institutions or unemployed. A very small portion of population is employed in government departments. The women usually share the work with their men. They work side by side with men in the agriculture sector in addition to their household duties.
Arrange marriages normally at early age are celebrated with extravagant spending and serving of food to the guests and community concerned. Marriages are the occasions when relatives, friends, neighbors are invited for food with traditional pump and show. For the departure of girl to the husband's house, a large procession called janj-carrying Doli (palanquin), visits the bride's house from the bridegroom, family on the fixed date. The youngsters of groom's side fire gunshots in the air for joy. Nikah ceremony is performed in the mosque in the presence of Moulvi and other relatives.
Soon after death has occurred the male and female of neighborhood and relatives go to the deceased's house. The men set outside in open place receiving people and telling the circumstances in which the death occurred. After the funeral prayers the deed body is laid in the grave. Cooking in the house of the deceased's family generally does not take place even fire in the house is extinguished. All the guests are served food by the neighbours of the deceased's family. The clothes of the dead person are distributed among the poor.
1) Sumat Shahi
6) Lawari Top
7) Daubando Pass
8) Khwago Obboo
The Education Officers are in charge of schools in the district and assisted by sub-divisional Education Officers in both primary/ secondary for male / female education. There is one-degree college for boys. The number of private and governmental educational institutions is increasing every year. The literacy ratio in Dir (u) has increased from 4.5% in 1981, to 21.2% in1998. The literacy ratio for males is 36.1% as against 6.1% for females.
Pushto is the main spoken language of Dir, while Gugro, and Kohistani are the languages of Kohistanis and Gugars. The people are of warrior nature. They use various types of weapons for fighting and hunting. The facous hunts were Pheasant, Wild Duck, Wild Pigeon, Lovate, Gora (Molasses), Ramoosai (A kind of dear) and Gharcham (Wild sheep). The famous weapons were sword, Machoghna (A old type of catapult), Pataqdar, Yubundi (A gun which accommodates one bullet in its magazine) and Chariaz (A hunting gun), but now they use sophisticated weapons. They enmity between families, and villages still exists. In past two groups started fighting and the looser had to vacate the village, and migrated to other villages, prepared themselves again for revenge. There are also tussle among the families and the enmity goes from generation to generation. The major causes of enmity are women, land and money. They call it Ghirat (Honour) and Turborvali (Relatives on paternal side at dagger drawn) in their local customs and culture. They are fair in enmity and friendship and do consider everything fair in friendship and enmity.
The people are living close to forests and wood that is why they are great experts of carpentry and engraving wood are their favourate hobby. The sign and symbol of their art still exist in old mosques and houses and the engraved pillars and other types of wood, window and door. The women make Kundwan (Flour storing earthen cavities), Tanwari (Grain storing wooden cavities) and Basket. They also make Dulai (A wood frame with proper covering and a deal used for carrying bride to the bridegroom house). The famous handicrafts are Lamsi (A carpet made of wool of local animals) and Palace (the leather of animals dried and cleared for prayers). The women make local fashion basket from Ghawarija (A small herbal plant with elastic straws used for basket), Parwata (A creeping plant with week roots and serving a food for animals) and Berang (An oak like evergreen tree whose leaves are used as fodder), hamlets, Caps and Tandoor (bread oven) are the famous handicrafts made by local women.
The district is administratively subdivided into six tehsils which contain a total of 31-3=28 (3 UCs shifted to Lower Dir namely Khall, Akhagram and Toor Mang) Union Councils:
|Name of Tehsil||No. of Unions|
|Khal||4-3=1 (3 UC shifted to Lower Dir)|
|Total||31-3=28(3 UCs, shifted to Lower Dir)|
For More About Dir Politics Please Vist Politics In Dir Page
The only motor road to Chitral reaches 10,234 ft (3,119 m) at the Lowarai Pass. The district headquarters, Dir, lies at the foot of the Lowarai. Except for Dir and a number of rapidly growing bazaar towns along the main roads, the population is rural, scattered in more than 1200 villages in the deep narrow valleys of the Panjkora and its tributaries.
Of these the largest are
Dir district was officially split into Upper Dir and Lower Dir in 1996. Until 2000 as funds were not available to provide the accommodation needed at Dir town by government departments at a district headquarters, both districts continued to he administered by a single deputy Commissioner stationed at Timergara in Lower Dir.