Shandur Polo Festival
At 3734m, Shandur Pass 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 creates a drama in which horses die and players invariably suffer grievous injuries. Yet despite the hazards, the polo tradition continues unabated.
The first recorded polo tournament played at this ground was in 1936, since then every year in (July 7-9th) a grand polo tournament takes place at Shandur pass.
The distance from Chitral is 147 Km and Gilgit is about 211Km.
Freestyled mountain polo is arguably polo in its purest form. This version of the game played at Shandur-Top has attained legendary status and is of great interest to international and domestic adventure tourists alike. There are no umpires and there are no holds barred.
The rules are:
There are no rules! In "The Roof of the World"
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 Northern Areas, 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.
The scheduled events are:
• Traditional dancing & singing and sitar music
• Para Gliding
• Rafting in the Shandur Lake
• Wild mountain polo , horse races and at times Buz Kashi
• Traditional tug of war
• Traditional handicrafts on display