The Ultimate Adventure Team

Shandoor Polo Festival

Fact Sheet

Days:14 Location:Gilgit-Baltistan
 Max Altitude:3714m Season:July
Country:Pakistan Group Size:1-18

Trip Introduction

Passion for Polo will be the highest on the world’s highest Polo ground. Shandoor invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit during the 2nd week of July. The tournament takes place on the Shandoor Pass, the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700 meters. The festival will also include folk music and dancing and a camping village is set up. Number of people, locals as well as foreigners, come here to view the battle like final match between Chitral and Gilgit.

Let other people play other things-the king of games is still the game of kings”

This verse is inscribed on a stone next to a plol ground in Gilgit, Northern Areas of Pakistan near Legendary Silk Route.

Polo is an equestrian sport with its origin embedded in Central Asia dating back to 6th century BC.
At first it was a training game for cavalry units for the King’s guards or other elite troops. To the warlike tribesmen who played polo with as many as 100 players to a side, it was a miniature battle. It became a Persian national game in the 6th century AD. From Persia, the game spread to Arabia, then to Tibet, China and Japan. In China, in the year 910, death of a favorite relative in a game prompted Emperor Apao-Chi to order beheading of all players!

Polo was introduced in South Asia, by the Muslim conquerors in the 13th century. English word ‘Polo” is a Balti word meaning, “ball”. Now a day, there are six players to a side, but this is by no means a rule in local polo games. There was no limit to the number of players and no time limit. Whichever team scored nine goals first, was the winner? The present game with a team of six players in a side lasts one hour with a ten minute break.

Gilgit, Chitral and Skardu have always played the game of polo closest to its original form. In the past, local Rajas, Mirs and Mehtars were the patrons of the game. At times, more than 50% of the annual budget of their principalities would be spent on supporting the game.

 Shandoor’s Annual Polo Tournament:

The first time a polo tournament took place at the Shandoor Pass, was in 1936.  A British Political Agent, Major Cobb, who was fond of playing polo under a full moon, had the polo ground near Shandoor, named, “Moony Polo Ground”. The most exciting polo tournament of the entire Northern Pakistan is played on top of Shandoor Pass, around 3,700 meters above sea level. It is a place unique and exotic in itself, surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the world. The event marks the annual rivalry between the polo teams of Gilgit and Chitral. The Polo tournament has some added attractions for the visitors; trout fishing at the nearby streams and lakes and a festival of folk dances and music of the Northern Pakistan.

The highlight of the festival is the final match between the Gilgit and Chitral teams. The final provides a most colorful spectacle. Supporters of both sides travel long distances from the remote parts of Chitral and Gilgit, to watch the thrilling game. The event, as such, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the people of this region. Their culture and indigenous customs are a delight to behold for the visitors.

Day 1Arrival Islamabad and transfer to hotel.
Day 2Islamabad to Chilas. Departure for Chilas on KKH along the Indus river.
Day 3Chilas to Hunza via Gilgit. overnight hotel
Day 4Hunza to Golapur and overnight in Golapur.
Day 5Golapur to Phander, a strenuous 4*4 Jeep drive on rough road to Phander valley.
Day 6Phander to Shandur an adventurous jeep drive experience on unpaved road.
Day 7Shandur Pass- enjoy the Polo math on world’s highest polo ground. overnight Camp
Day 8Enjoy fishing and polo match
Day 9Day hike to the surroundings
Day 10Shandur to Chitral. Drive to Chitral for overnight stay at Hotel
Day 11Chitral to Bamburet in Kalash. Explore the region. overnight hotel
Day 12Bamburate to Swat and overnight hotel.
Day 13Swat to Islamabad-the last destination of the tour.
Day 14Departure to homeland

What is include in service?

1. Accommodation as per the list provided.
2. Private Air Conditioned transport and 4*4 Jeeps
3. Meals, breakfast, lunch, Dinner in hotels.
4. Entrance fees to museum and sites during Tour.
5. English Speaking Guide services.
6. Tips at hotel and airport.

What is not include in service?

1. International airfares.
2. Personal insurance.
3. Extras at hotels, like drinks, laundry, personal phone calls, etc.
4. Anything which is not mentioned at above given programme.

Hotels

Islamabad: Envoy Hotel/ Grand Regency Hotel
Chilas: Panaroma Inn/Shangrilla Midway
Hunza:Marcopolo Inn 
Phundar:PTDC Motel
Chitral:Marcopolo Inn
Bamburet:PTDC Motel
Swat:PTDC Motel

Price

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