PORTRAITS OF THE ISMAILIS
Taking a photograph while sitting astride a horse is no small feat. Taking one at full gallop is quite another matter. It is, however, a talent that has been perfected by world acclaimed photographer, Henry Dallal. A keen horseman, Dallal has been taking photographs since he was nine years old. Specializing in equine cultures and pageantry from around the world, Dallal has travelled worldwide to remote areas to pursue his interests in mountaineering, adventure and experiencing different cultures.
When he was invited some years ago to join an eight man expedition on a horseback journey through the Hindu Kush Mountains in the Northern regions of Pakistan, he did not hesitate. Dallal says, “what better way to experience the unspoilt nature and beauty of the mountain and the local culture than by travelling in good company on a loyal and dependable steed.”
The expedition members rode on superb Marwari and Badakhshi horses from Gilgit along the banks of the blue-green Ghiza River Valley (also known as Ghizer River, or the Gilgit River in some areas) and cut through some very impressive mountain scenery over the Shandur Pass and down to Chitral, travelling a total of 450 kilometres.
The local inhabitants in the Ghiza district are mainly Ismailis. During the journey, members of the expedition team experienced glowing and welcome hospitality from the few people they encountered in the surrounding villages where they camped.
Dallal observes: “This is the way to witness it: by horseback deep in the country, at a pace that permits you to see and feel the local culture and magnificent scenery. The mountain folk desperately clinging to survival in the long and harsh winters and short summers used for growing all the food for the following winter. A delicate and balance of nature and survival for these, the nicest of peoples.”
Article publication date: August 13, 2010
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About the photographer: Henry Dallal was recently in Ottawa, Canada, to photograph Her Majesty the Queen on Canada Day. During his visit to Canada, Henry Dallal also worked on a book on the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police).
Specializing in equine cultures and pageantry from around the world, Dallal has travelled worldwide to remote areas to pursue his interests in mountaineering, adventure and experiencing different cultures. As much as he is passionate about travelling, he is equally passionate about sharing his photography with others. Simerg is deeply indebted to Henry Dallal for sharing with readers of this Web site some of his photographs of the mountaineering trip he made to the Hindu Kush. The Ghiza river valley and district, where he took the photographs shown on this page, are mainly inhabited by Ismailis. Please visit his Web site, Henry Dallal Photography, for more photographs of his journeys around the world.
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Please click the following image for portraits of the Ismailis living on “Roof of the World” by Matthieu Paley, another world acclaimed photographer: