The historic Shandur Polo Festival was recently celebrated from 7-9 July in the Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa  

Photography: Uzair Aziz

Every year, Pakistan hosts one of the world’s most spectacular sporting events, the Shandur Polo Festival, played on the world’s highest polo field. This free-style game is fiercely played between teams from the districts of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan over a course of three days. The festival also features cultural activities such as folk music and dance performances as well as traditional sports.

This year, thanks to the KP’s government’s untiring efforts to promote tourism across the province, a record number of guests, both local and international attended the event. Speaking at the occasion, Provincial Minister of Tourism, Sports, Culture, Archaeology and Youth Affairs, Atif Khan said: “The Shandur Polo Festival is a historic event, not just in Pakistan but globally. Imagine a game of polo being played 12,500 feet above sea level… this happens nowhere else in the world but in KP, Pakistan.”

Special arrangements were made by the provincial government to facilitate visitors to the area. A camping village was set up on the pass to accommodate guests. “Shandur polo would help promote tourism in the country,” said Atif Khan. “Events like this can help change the international perception of Pakistan and play a role in strengthening the national economy by promoting tourism.”