CHITRAL: All arrangements have been finalised as the three-day polo festival is beginning at the world’s highest polo ground at Shandur in Chitral today.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Caretaker Chief Minister Justice (Retd) Dost Muhammad Khan will inaugurate the annual mega event. Caretaker Minister for Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Rashid Khan, Secretary Muhammad Tariq, Additional Secretary Babar Khan, Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) Managing Director Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, General Manager Sajjad Hameed, Chitral Deputy Commissioner Khursheed Khan, District Police Officer Mansoor Aman, Col Saqib of the Frontier Corps and government representatives of Gilgit-Baltistan will also attend the festival.
According to organisers, a large number of foreign and domestic tourists and visitors will experience the battle between the true warriors on the world’s highest polo ground in Shandur. The polo teams of Chitral, Gilgit, Laspur and Ghizer are participating in the “game of kings” and the “king of games.”
The Laspur polo team of Chitral will face Ghizer team of GB on the first day of the gala while Chitral-B and Gilgit-B teams will face-off on the second day.
This year the festival is being organised from July 7 to 9, as for a couple of years the annual three-day event could not be held on the old dates due to Ramazan. The polo game has now got international fame and every year thousands of visitors and tourists from across the world come to Chitral to watch the grand gala.
Besides other arrangements, the Tourism Department has also arranged transport service from Chitral to Shandur to facilitate the visitors. The local cultures including music and Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan’s performing art would be displayed.
A tent village had been set up for providing boarding and lodging facilities to both foreign and domestic tourists.
The polo ground had been renovated and arrangements had been made for water and power supply, power generators, telephone, transport, media coverage, security and provision of other facilities.
The organisers said there would be a number of other programmes to showcase work of local artisans and cultural nights during the festival.
The district government of Chitral, police, army and other stakeholders had assured full cooperation to organise the festival in a befitting manner.
The tourists will also enjoy cultural and music evenings while fireworks are other features to be arranged at night time. Paragliding and traditional dances of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan will be organised in the day.
The Shandur annual festival brings a great sense of contentment among the people of these districts. The festival is often embellished with cultural orientations of both the teams that include their cultural dances, paragliding and folk music.
Chitral is the most peaceful region and it attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists annually, especially during the Shandur and Kalash festivals. This year, the number of foreign and domestic tourists will be more as compared to the previous years as peace has been restored in the province and the visitors can now visit any scenic place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa without acquiring no-objection certificate.
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