CHITRAL, July 7: The three-day Shandur polo festival started on Saturday in Shandur, known as the world’s highest polo ground located at a height of 3,734 metres above sea level.
Peshawar Corps Commander Lt-Gen Khalid Rabbani formally inaugurated the festival by throwing the ball in the ground between Laspur team of Chitral and Ghizar team of Gilgit-Baltistan.
In the opening match, Ghizer team of Gilgit comprehensively beat Chitral’s Laspur team by scoring nine goals to their one. The festival will conclude on Monday with a breathtaking final between the top two teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan.
A number of folk games and paragliding besides fireworks and music shows are also part of the festival to keep the tourists engaged. However, polo matches are the chief source of entertainment at the festival.
Thousands of polo fans from Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan and hundreds of tourists from different parts of the country besides foreigners have arrived here to witness the event. Teams for the polo tournament are selected from among civilian and official teams, who demonstrate good performance during the year.
The vast ground of Shandur is giving a new look as a tented village has been set up for visitors. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has made foolproof security arrangements for the epic event of the region.
Officials of Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that elaborate arrangements had been made to hold the festival in a befitting manner and facilitate the tourists.–Zahiruddin