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Shandur Polo Festival begins today, CM to inaugurate three-day mega event

By Our Correspondent
July 07, 2019

CHITRAL: As all arrangements have been completed for the mega event, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan would inaugurate the three-day annual Shandur Polo Festival at the world highest polo ground today (Sunday).

The festival, being organised by the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) and administration of Chitral district, attracts thousands of foreign and domestic tourists, fans of “King of games and game of kings” - polo - to watch the thrilling matches between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Chitral A and B teams and Gilgit-Baltistan A and B teams are participating in the spectacular polo festival.

The Laspur team will face Ghizer on the opening day of the event while Chitral Team-B and Gilgit-Baltistan Team-B will show their prowess on the second day.

The Tourism Department has made all arrangements to hold the festival in a befitting manner to attract domestic and foreign tourists to the scenic region and traditional game in large number.

“This year, the number of foreign and domestic tourists will be greater as compared to the yester years as complete peace has been restored in the province and the condition of acquiring no objection certificate (NOC) for the international tourists has already been withdrawn,” said an official, who is member of the team that has been assigned to organise the event.

He said an information centre has also been established in Chitral so that tourists could not face any hardships during their stay. He said that boarding and lodging facilities were in place for both foreign and domestic tourists as beautiful tent-village had been set up.

He said the festival would provide an opportunity of great thrill and enjoyment to the tourists, spectators and fans of the polo game. The event, he added, would also send a positive message to the outer world that peace had been restored in the region.

He said that a great number of foreign tourists had visited Kalash valleys and enjoyed the Chilimjusht festival earlier this year.

The district administration Chitral, police, army and other institutions would extend full support to hold the gala at the world’s highest polo ground peacefully.

The polo ground has been renovated, while water supply, transport and other facilities would be provided to the participating teams, fans and tourists.

The local artisans and skilled entrepreneurs would showcase their products besides polo game, food stalls, traditional music and dances and adventurous activities in the gala.

For this purpose, stalls have been established to highlight and promote the artworks of Chitral and Gilgit local artists and skilled people. Rafting in Shandur Lake, paragliding, archery, fireworks and kite flying would be other features of the event to attract domestic and foreign tourists in great numbers.The Tourism Department has already launched a drive for promoting the festival through publicity campaign in print and electronic media and social media as well.

The game has got international fame, which is being played at the highest polo ground of the world at Shandur Pass in Chitral.

Chitral is the most peaceful region and it attracts thousands of domestic and international tourists annually, especially during the Shandur and Kalash festivals.