[News] The Shandur Poloo festival will begin on the 7th of July 2010

BY: Asghar Khan

Shandur is the highest polo field on earth. Shandur Pass is situated with border of Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa in Pakistan at a distance of 147km from Chitral and 212km from Gilgit. The pass not only connects Gilgit and Chitral but also offers one of the world’s most interesting and attractive sports annually – i.e. freestyle mountain polo. The game is played on the ‘Roof of the World’, about 12500 feet above sea level approx, where the Hindukush, Pamir and Karakoram ranges meet.

The festival will begin on the 7th of July 2010 with a polo match between Laspur Team, which is a village near Shandur in Chitral, and the Ghizer Team from Gilgit. During the festival A, B, C and D teams of Chitral and Gilgit shall battle it out on the polo field. Each team has six members with 2-4 reserve players incase of injury etc. The match is divided into two halves, with a 10 minutes interval. During intervals the locals enthrall the audiences with traditional and cultural performances. The game is won by the team scoring nine goals.

The final day of the festival will begin with a guard of honour by the Chitral Scouts. After which the final will be played between the traditional rivals Chitral A and Gilgit A. Apart from the polo matches, other activities included during the festival are; traditional and cultural performances, paragliding, horse racing and Tampuk Bazi (a traditional game), scintillating fireworks (8th July) that will mesmerise the audience and a bonfire to warm up the chilly Shandur nights. 

After the festival, tourists can visit  valley of Chitral Mastuj, Boni and Kalash valleys and Gilgit-Baltistan side Phunder, Gupis, Yasin & Ishkoman valley, Gakuch Gilgit, Hunza, Skarud and enjoy the centuries old cultures.

The rugged Mountain polo is arguably polo in its purest form. This version of the game played at Shandur 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!

Historically, polo being the king of games was played between small kingdoms, villages and rival groups of Gilgit and Chitral. From 1936 onwards polo tournaments were held annually on this ground. The three day Shandur Polo Festival has developed steadily in recent years into the massive celebration of mountain polo that it is today. It is attended every year by prominent celebrities, public figures and opinion makers.

 

Asghar Khan is Assistant Director of Sales Serena Hotels, Brig Sherullah Beg, Road Jutial Gilgit He could be reached at Tel:     +92 5811 455894-99 Cell: +92 346 5020016 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting  +92 346 5020016      end_of_the_skype_highlighting     Fax:    +92 5811 455900, 452740, Email: asghar.khan@serena.com.pk, URL: www.serenahotels.com  

 

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