Description

Shandur Polo, often referred to as the “Roof of the World,” is an exhilarating and iconic polo event held annually at the Shandur Pass in northern Pakistan. Situated at an altitude of around 3,700 meters (12,139 feet) above sea level, Shandur Pass is one of the highest mountain passes in the world accessible by jeep.

The Shandur Polo Festival typically takes place in July and attracts polo enthusiasts, spectators, and tourists from around the globe. The event serves as a vibrant celebration of the traditional sport of polo, which has deep historical roots in the region and is considered the “sport of kings.”

During the festival, teams of skilled polo players representing different regions and communities gather to compete in thrilling matches on the natural grass field of Shandur Pass. The breathtaking backdrop of snow-capped peaks, rolling hills, and vast open skies adds to the allure of the event, creating a truly spectacular setting for the sport.

Highlights

This trip typically includes:

1. Transportation: Arrangements for transportation to and from the Shandur Pass, including travel by road or air, depending on the starting location of the journey.

2. Accommodation: Provision of lodging arrangements at hotels, guesthouses, or camping sites near the Shandur Pass, ensuring comfortable accommodations for the duration of the trip.

3. Polo Matches: Admission to the Shandur Polo Festival, allowing participants to witness thrilling polo matches played by skilled teams on the natural grass field of Shandur Pass.

4. Cultural Activities: Access to cultural performances, exhibitions, and demonstrations showcasing the rich heritage and traditions of the local communities in the region, including music, dance, handicrafts, and cuisine.

5. Guided Tours: Guided tours of the surrounding area, providing opportunities to explore the natural beauty, scenic landscapes, and cultural attractions near Shandur Pass.

6. Meals: Provision of meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering a taste of local cuisine and traditional dishes prepared by experienced chefs or local hosts.

7. Security and Safety: Ensuring the safety and security of participants during the trip, with arrangements for experienced guides, drivers, and support staff to assist throughout the journey.

8. Cultural Exchange: Opportunities for cultural exchange and interaction with local communities, allowing participants to learn about their customs, traditions, and way of life.

9. Photography and Souvenirs: Capture memorable moments and purchase souvenirs to commemorate the trip, with opportunities for photography, shopping, and mementos of the experience.

10. Adventure and Recreation: Optional activities such as trekking, hiking, horseback riding, or outdoor adventures, allowing participants to fully experience the natural beauty and adventure of the Shandur Pass region.

Overall, this trip aims to provide participants with an immersive and unforgettable experience at the Shandur Polo Festival, combining thrilling polo matches with cultural immersion, adventure, and exploration of the stunning landscapes of northern Pakistan.

What to Expect

From a trip to the Shandur Polo Festival, you can expect:

1. Thrilling Polo Matches: Witness exhilarating polo matches played at one of the highest-altitude polo grounds in the world. Experience the intensity and excitement of the sport against the backdrop of breathtaking mountain scenery.

2. Cultural Immersion: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region as you participate in traditional music, dance, and cultural performances. Explore local handicrafts, cuisine, and customs, and interact with the friendly people of the surrounding communities.

3. Spectacular Scenery: Marvel at the stunning natural beauty of the Himalayan landscape surrounding Shandur Pass. Capture panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, verdant valleys, and vast meadows, providing a picturesque backdrop for the polo matches and festivities.

4. Festive Atmosphere: Soak up the festive atmosphere of the Shandur Polo Festival, with colorful tents, bustling markets, and lively entertainment adding to the excitement of the event. Enjoy the camaraderie of fellow spectators and participants as you celebrate the spirit of polo and culture.

5. Outdoor Adventure: Embark on outdoor adventures and recreational activities such as trekking, hiking, or horse riding in the pristine wilderness surrounding Shandur Pass. Explore hidden trails, pristine lakes, and remote villages, and embrace the spirit of adventure in the heart of the Himalayas.

6. Cultural Exchange: Engage in meaningful cultural exchange with local communities, learning about their traditions, customs, and way of life. Share stories, experiences, and laughter with the warm and hospitable people of the region, forging lasting connections and friendships.

7. Memorable Experiences: Create lasting memories and unforgettable experiences as you immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the Shandur Polo Festival. Whether you’re a polo enthusiast, a culture lover, or an adventure seeker, this trip promises to leave a lasting impression.

Overall, expect a journey filled with excitement, cultural discovery, and natural beauty as you experience the magic of the Shandur Polo Festival in the enchanting surroundings of the Himalayas.

Itinerary

Arrive in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. Transfer to the hotel and check-in. Rest and relax after your journey.

Depart early morning for Chitral via a scenic drive. Enjoy picturesque views of the Swat Valley and mountains along the way. Arrive in Chitral in the evening and check into the hotel. Explore the local market and surroundings.

Depart for Shandur Pass, the venue of the Shandur Polo Festival. Enjoy the scenic drive through mountainous terrain and valleys. Arrive at Shandur Pass in the afternoon. Settle into your accommodation at the festival campsite. Attend the opening ceremony of the polo festival in the evening.

Spend the next two days witnessing thrilling polo matches at Shandur Pass. Enjoy cultural performances, traditional music, and dance. Explore the festival grounds, interact with locals, and shop for souvenirs. Take part in outdoor activities such as trekking or horse riding around the pass.

Depart from Shandur Pass and begin the journey back to Islamabad. Stop for lunch and breaks along the way. Arrive in Islamabad in the evening and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy a farewell dinner and rest overnight.

Check out from the hotel and transfer to Islamabad International Airport. Catch your flight back home or continue with your onward travel arrangements.

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