Shandur Polo Festivel
The remote wind-swept amphitheater of the Shandur Pass, located on the lofty border between Gilgit and Chitral, comes to life once a year as the dramatic venue of the Shandur Polo Festival held during the first week of July.
At 3734m, this is the world’s highest polo field, set in a magnificent landscape of rolling pastures, crystalline azure lakes & Hindu-Raj mountains, it is just the setting for the clash of the local polo titans, Chitral and Gilgit. This contest is considered the toughest polo tournament in the world – with fraying tempers and passions running high, the strain of the high altitude and the ferocity of the game create a drama in which horses die and players invariably suffer grievous injuries. Yet despite the hazards, the polo tradition continues unabated.
Historically the game goes back many centuries when the local Mehtars , Mirs and Rajas were patrons of polo and it was played, not only for pleasure, but for celebratory and commemorative occasions. The Mehtar of Chitral would send a message to his relatives the Rajas of Ghizar , Yasin and Ishkuman and word would travel far down the valleys to Punial Gilgit and Chilas where the challenge would be taken up. But despite being dubbed ‘the game of kings’, in the Gilgit-Baltistan, it is not an elitist sport, often played in village square on sorry nags or even on bicycles. ” It is the local obsession along with music & dancing on Shandur. In recent years, the event has become something of a legend – the dramatic landscape, the local colour, the presence of international celebrities but above all the passion with which the game is played by the age-old rivals, make the Shandur Polo Festival an unforgettable occasion. A large tented village and bazaar is set up with thousands of people camping out.
Each year the following events are scheduled.
- Natural Beauti can be seen on its Peak with all kind and colours of wild flowers, greenary, Lakes and mountain rivers.
- The Charm is so great that once you visit the fascinating area.
- You will feel like visiting this trek again and again.