Shandur Polo Festival 2023: A High-Altitude Display of Cultural Sport Set to Engage Spectators

shandur polo festival gilgit skardu

The much-anticipated Shandur Polo Festival is poised to once again enthrall spectators as contenders from various regions across the country prepare for three days of high-octane polo action. The 2023 edition of this much-loved event is slated to occur from July 7th to 9th, promising to draw both tourists and sports enthusiasts alike, enhancing the overall excitement of the competition. 

Held in high esteem by tribes in Gilgit and Chitral, this festival embodies significant cultural value within the idyllic northern territories of Pakistan. 

Situated amidst the awe-inspiring Hindukush Mountain range, the Shandur pass becomes a cultural crossroads each summer, uniting tribes from both Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. 

Perched at a dizzying altitude of 3,700 meters, the playing field boasts the distinction of being the world’s highest polo ground, mesmerizing onlookers with its incredible panoramic vistas. 

Read More: Chitral emerges as the most popular destination for foreign tourists

The Shandur Polo Festival garners recognition for its distinctive brand of freestyle polo, a wild and thrilling game that sees teams from the two regions locked in intense competition. Last year’s victors, the Chitral team, will no doubt be hoping for a repeat performance. 

Staying true to its roots, the game features two teams of six players each, split into two halves of 25 minutes with a 10-minute intermission. 

Each player is restricted to a single polo pony. If an injury forces a player or pony to leave the pitch, the opposing team is required to reduce its on-field strength by one to maintain the balance of play. 

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