Welcome to Shandur pass, world famous for being one of the major mountain passes of Chitral-Gilgit-Baltistan. Every year there is a grand polo match played on Shandur Top between the teams of Chitral District and Ghizer District.
The world famous Shandur pass is a bout 3738 meter an above sea level and located in Chitral at the boundary adjacent to Gilgit-Baltistan. The distance from Chitral is 168 Km and from Gilgit is about 211Km. These areas remains snow covered in winter and turn into the green heaven during summer season. There is a big lake in the area. The traditional polo tournament played between Chitral and Gilgit teams in the month of hot July. Foreign tourist and native came to see the festival. The first recorded polo tournament played at this ground was in 1936, since then every year in July a grand polo tournament takes place at Shandur pass.
The Shandur Polo ground is in the district Chitral, and is situated. It is bordered on the west by Yarkoon valley of Chitral and on the northerners by the valley of Gilgit district. It is dividing point between the caracara and the handout mountains ranges. The polo ground is about 168 Km from the main town Chitral and accessible by jeep. The road is closed during winter due to heavy snow.
A polo tournament is held on Shandur Top annually. The festival also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up.Various teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan have always played the game of polo closest to its original form. Free-styled 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" 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 are played both in Chitral and Gilgit, in which the best horses and players are chosen for the final games by the local juries.
Normally thefestival begins on the 7th of July. In 2017, it is scheduled to begin on July 21st. 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 is divided into 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. The final is held on 9 July.Mountain passes of AfghanistanThe field measures about 200 meters by 56 meters (normal polo field is about 270m by 150m), with 60 cm high stone walls running the length of the field on both sides instead of boards. 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.