Dir was a small former princely state located in the modern North-West Frontier Province in Pakistan. The state ceased to exist in 1969 when it was incorporated into Pakistan. The area once occupied by the state (5,282 km²) now forms two districts of Pakistan – Upper Dir and Lower Dir. The two districts were part of Malakand Division until divisions were abolished as an administrative tier. Dir district is 3,699 square kilometers 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.The majority of the population in this area are Yousafzai Pashtuns speaking Pashto
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.
Dress and Ornaments:
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 neighbors of the deceased’s family. The clothes of the dead person are distributed among the poor.
Kumrat is a charming valley in the District Dir. It is one of the beautiful valleys of Pakistan, and a picturesque spot for travelers. Every summer season thousands of tourists from different areas of the country visit to Kumrat valley and enjoy the pristine greenery and cool weather.Unlike Kalam region of Swat valley, Kumrat is covered with lush green pastures, snow clad mountains, gushing river Panjkora, mesmeric foggy mounds and romantic forests are ever alluring attractions of the region, which serve as habitats for variety of flora & fauna. It is located in the Upper Dir Kohistan region at the back side of which Swat Kohistan area of Gabral is located.
Ushirai Dara (also spelled as Usherai) is a beautiful sub-valley in Upper Dir. It is located at a distance of 25 km from the main town of Darora.s and peasants have been kept. Deers also roam about in the Park. The place in an ideal spot for nature lovers.