The world’s Highest Polo Ground
Just for a moment race up your horses of imagination and reach a place where there are the highest mountains around you. There is nothing around you except high peaks and a grassy flat ground beneath you. There are no trees. The sky seems very close to you. You have the feeling that you can touch the sky. There is a light cold breeze blowing. When you inhale the air that does feel so pure and clear. When you look at the grassy ground, an idea comes into your mind. You think that the conditions are ideal for something that would entertain, refresh and introduce you and your place to the world. But what to do? Then you take a view of the culture of the area. The bravery of the people, available resources and traditions inspire you and you think that the place is ideal to have Polo here. Now give a rein to your horses of imagination. Just pack your bag and reach Shandur to have the remarkable memories of your life in the highest polo ground of the world.
History of Polo
Sometimes, imagination leads you to give birth to a big event or festival. It has been the history that the emperors and the rulers have imagined the peace and harmony with such kind beauties and blessings of the nature. Beauty of nature always gives you the soft feelings and games give you the power of decision and bit positive kind of rigidity. Both attributes are necessary to make a real human being. Polo is called the game of games.
Polo has its origin from Central Asia started back in 6th BC. At first it was a training exercise for the cavalry of King’s guards. Initially there were 100 players in each side. It was like a miniature battle. Polo became the national game of Persia (Iran), and then it spread to Arabian countries and later on in Tibet, China and Japan.
Shandur pass is about 12,200 high above the sea level. It is located in Northern Areas of Pakistan. Shandur is a high mountain pass that connects Chitral to the Gilgit in Pakistan. Pass is a route between mountain ranges. At this place three mountain ranges, Hindukash, Pamir and Karakaram meet. This is the reason why it is called the Roof of the World. The Shandur Pass is flat, a plateau and can be crossed in late April and early November. People of Shandur speak Khowar language.
Shandur Polo Festival
In 1920s, the ruler of Moskuj (a place between Chitral & Gilgit) was told by his King to promote integration within his realm through a polo match among best players. Col Evelyn Hey Cobb, a polo player himself, introduced an idea of having a polo tournament in the Shandur Pass. They decided to have a tournament among the best teams of Chitral and Gilgit. From that day,every year there is a polo tournament played on Shandur Top between rival teams from Chitral and Gilgit. This polo tournament is held in July every year. This is being held since 1936 annually. Shandur polo ground is considered to be the highest polo ground in the world. Except polo there are other festivities like folk music, dancing and camping village are also set up.
Unique about Polo in Shandur
As you have read earlier that Shandur is the highest Polo ground of the world. This is at the height of 12,200 feet. Another thing is that the Polo is played here according to the old ancient rules. Theses are the rules set by the people who originally invented. You will find polo in its purest form here. Interesting about Shandur is that it is a No Tree zone.