SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL:
Shandur Top (el. 12,200 feet (3,700 m) located in District Ghizer (Gilgit-Baltistan Province), Shandur-Top in Shandur is often called the ‘Roof of the World” The top is flat, a plateau and can be crossed between late April and early November. The grade is very gradual, and the area is crossed by small streams of trout. Grazing in summer is plentiful.
Every year there is a Polo match played on Shandur Top between the home teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and guest teams from Chitral. Shandur Pass is one of the major mountain passes of Gilgit-Baltistan; the people who live on both sides of Shandur Top speak the Khowar language:
SHANDUR POLO FESTIVAL HELD FROM 7TH TO 9 JUYL:
Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the local teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The tournament is held on Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700 meters (the pass itself is at 3,800 meters). The festival also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up. The polo tournament is featured in the first episode of Himalaya with Michael Palin.
Various teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral have always played the game of polo closest to its original form. In the past, the British Rulers were the patrons of the game.
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.
In order to decide the final teams to play at the Shandur Polo Festival preliminary matches are played both in Gilgit and Chitral in which the best horses and players are chosen for the final games by the local juries. The festival begins on the 7th of July with a polo match between the local teams of Ghizer Gilgit-Baltistan with the guest teams coming from Chitral (KPK). 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 favor of the team scoring nine goals. The final is held on 9 July.
KALASH FESTIVALS :
One of the major attractions of Pakistan Cultural Festivals are Kalash Valleys Festivals. The Kalash Valleys of Rumbur, Bunboret and Birir are within Chitral in the North-West Frontier Province, near Nuristan in Afghanistan. The people here are some of the only non-Muslims for hundreds of miles. The home of kafir Kalash or wearers of the black rose, a primitive pagan tribe.The Kalash are ancient tribe and have a religion and culture of their own; their culture is unique as well as amazing one. A legend says that one General Salik Shah, who was called by the Greek as General Sulfurous with five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of MACEDON, settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir Kalash. The Kalash are infamous for their festivals; these folks know how to let their hair down in style. There is much dancing where the elders chant legends with drum accompaniment and the women dance round outside. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash People celebrate three main festivals in year.