The World’s Highest Polo Field
Shandur Polo Festival welcomes Polo lovers to experience the traditional Polo match between Gilgit and Chitral during the 2nd week of July every year. The tournament is held at the world heights Polo ground Shandur Pass at the altitude of 3,720 meters. The visitors will enjoy the folk music, cultural dancing and a camping village. The first Polo tournament took place in 1936 at Shandur by a British political agent major Cobb who was fond of playing polo under a full moon at night.
Legendary Status of Shandur polo Festival
This version of the game played at Shandur-Top has attained legendary status and is of great interest to international and domestic tourists alike. There are no umpires and no holds barred. The rules are: There are no rules. In “The Roof of the World” Amin/Willets/Tetley write: “by comparison, an American Wild West rodeo might pass for choir practice.”As one player once mentioned: “You can ride head-on into the opponent, if you dare. In order to decide the final teams to play at the Shandur Polo Festival preliminary matches play both in Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan Region. The local juries choose the best horses and players for the final games.
More about the Shandur Polo Festival
Shandur Polo Festival, normally the festival begins on the 7th of July. During the course of the tournament A, B, C and D teams of Gilgit and Chitral battle it out on the polo field. Each team has six members with 2-4 reserve players in case of injury etc. The match duration is usually one hour. It has two halves, with a 10 minutes interval. During intervals the locals enthrall the audiences with traditional and cultural performances. The game decided in favour of the team scoring more goals. July 9th is a fix day for final match every year. As six players make up one side, the field can get fairly crowded. This has the advantage of slightly slowing down the pace, which, all things considered, is probably somewhat safety-enhancing. Players rarely wear helmets. The horses’ legs often have no bandages, and mallets often have no grips or straps.
Festival dates: July 7-9 every year (please re-confirm dates)
Maximum Elevation: 3734 meters
Duration: 13 days (9 hotel nights & 3 camping nights)