Shandur Polo Festival

Shandur Polo Festival

Shandur polo festival is an amazing festival celebrated by the tribes of Gilgit and Chitral in the northern areas of Pakistan. The tribes from the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral meet at the Shandur pass every summer. The pass has a beautiful polo ground where a unique wild free-style polo is played between different teams of the region. Shandur polo ground is considered to be the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700meter. The polo ground is adjacent to Shandur lake. The festival provides an amazing cultural experience in the Hindukush mountain ranges.

Shandur Top (el. 12,200 feet (3,700 m)) located in District Ghizer of Gilgit-Baltistan: Shandur-Top in Ghizer is often called the ‘Roof of the World’ where the Hindukush in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Shandur invites visitors to experience a traditional Polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the 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.

Overview Shandur Polo Festival 

Day-01 Arrive Islamabad airport and transfer to hotel  

Day-02 Drive to Swat, 180km, 6-7 hrs 

Day-03 Drive to Chitral 254km, 7-8 hrs

Day-04 Drive to Bomborat (Kalash valley) 60km, 2-3 hrs

Day-05 Visit Birir, Bomborat and Rambour

Day-06 Drive to Shandur Pass 3700 meters, 157km, 6-7 hrs

Day-07/08 Two days at Shandur pass for  polo tournament

Day-09 Drive to Phander valley 50-km arrive and transfer to hotel

Day-10 Drive to Karimabad 288km 6-7hrs 

Day-11 Local visits in Karimabad 

Day-12 Excursion to Khunjerab Pass 

Day-13 Drive to Naran via Babusar Pass 4137m 

Day-14 Drive to Islamabad 6-7hrs 

Day-15 Transfer to Islamabad for the return flight 

In this venture, we assure you a quality time. Hunza Guides is one of the parent tour and trekking companies in Pakistan. Shandur Polo Festival is one of the finest tour you can find on planet earth. Please do not hesitate to Contact Us or click on the next tab for further details.

Map and Itinerary for Shandur Polo Festival

Day-01 Islamabad
Welcome at Islamabad airport, and transfer to hotel,
after refreshment proceed for city tour of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, which includes famous Faisal Mosque, Shakar Parian, Pakistan monument, Damen Koh, Lok Versa, Museum, Rawalpindi old bazaar, Raja Bazaar.

Day-02 Islamabad- Takht-e-Bai-Swat
After breakfast departure for Swat, 245km, 7-8 hrs,
en-route visit well-preserved monastery of Takhat-e-Bai. 
Driving along the picturesque Malakand Pass you will first visit the magnificent ancient Buddhist monastery Takht-i-Bahi dating back to 1st to 7th Century AD. Takht-e-Bhai consists of numerous chapels and stupas sticking to the high, rocky spurs. Next, continue to the enchanting Swat Valley visiting the famous Churchill’s Picket en route.

The valley of Swat, famous for its scenic beauty, snow-capped peaks, countless waterfalls and glaciers, water springs and pastures, streams and rivulets, thick woods, glades and glens, natural parks, lakes and dark forests. 

Day-03  Swat- Chitral
Drive to Chitral 254 km, 7-8 hrs, afternoon visit Chitral town. Overnight at hotel
Chitral town is surprisingly large; it is population having swelled by Afghan refugees from across the border. Visit Chitral fort and 100 years old Shahi mosque surrounded by clusters of enormous chinars trees. The impressive fort is the ancestral home of the mehtars of Chitral (The ex-ruling family).

Day-04  Chitral-Kalash Valleys 
Drive to Bumburate (Kalash valley) 60km, 2-3 hrs, arrive and transfer to hotel, afternoon visit Bumburate valley
Chitral prime attraction is the Kalash valleys, home of 3000 non-Muslim Kafir Kalash (or black infidels) who live in 20 small villages in the valleys of Birir and Rumbur. The Kafir Kalash still follow their own religion, a mixture of animism and ancestor-and fire-worship, and have retained some of their original cultures. They make offerings to several gods: sajigor, the highest deity, is in charge of everything: Surisan protects the cattle, Goshedoi milk products, and praba fruit. Most of the Kalash are pale skinned, and some of them even have fair hair and blue eyes, all of which give rise to the usual legend that they are descended from the followers of Alexander.

Day-05 Valleys – Chitral  
Morning visit Birir, Bumburate and Rumbur, later afternoon drive back to Chitral for overnight.
Chitral prime attraction is the Kalash valleys, home of 3000 non-Muslim Kafir Kalash (or black infidels) who live in 20 small villages in the valleys of Birir and Rumbur. The Kafir Kalash still follow their own religion, a mixture of animism and ancestor-and fire-worship, and have retained some of their original cultures. They make offerings to several gods: Sajigor, the highest deity, is in charge of everything: Surisan protects the cattle, Goshedoi milk products, and praba fruit. Most of the Kalash are pale skinned, and some of them even have fair hair and blue eyes, all of which give rise to the usual legend that they are descended from the followers of Alexander.

Day-06 Chitral-Shandur Pass
Drive to Shandur Pass 3,700 meters, 157 km, 6-7 hrs, overnight in tents
Shandur Top (el. 12,200 feet (3,700 m) Shandur is 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 plentiful small streams during summer. The boundary line between Ghizer District and Chitral District is also situated in Shandur Top in Punji-Lasht as per the international boundary law division by watershed initially demarcated by Lt. Col AG Durand (also known as Durand boundary line).

Day-07/08 Shandur Pass
Enjoy freestyle Polo match at Shandur Pass 3700m. Overnight in tents

Day-09 Shandur Pass- Phander
Drive to Phander (50km) (6-7 hrs) arrive and transfer to hotel, afternoon visit Phander valley and Phander Lake

Phander is one of the most scenic valleys with easy access both from Gilgit and Chitral. Which is commonly called “Little Kashmir”. Phander Lake is one of the most famous tourist spots in the entire region. Phander valley was the breadbasket for the whole Northern Areas. The name of Ghizer comes from the name of a village ‘Ghizer’ that is situated in the vicinity of Phander. The deep blue lake in Phander offers a magnificent view and is basically the home of trout fish.

Day-10 Phander- Karimabad 
Drive to Phander (288-km) (6-7 hrs) arrive and transfer to hotel
The Hunza Valley is a mountainous valley, situated north/west of the Hunza River, at an elevation of around 2,500 m. The territory of Hunza is about 7,900 square km (3,100sq mi). Aliabad is the main town, while Baltit and Altit are popular tourist destination because of the spectacular scenery of the surrounding mountains.
The people are cheerful and friendly, almost all speak Burushaski and in upper Hunza, they speak Wakhi.
The miracle of the Hunzakuts longevity, supposedly resulting from their mostly vegetarian diet of cereals and fruits From Hunza valley, Panoramic views of Rakaposhi 7788m, Diran Peak 7266m, Spantik Peak 7027m, Ultar 7388 Lady Finger 6000m.

Day-11 Karimabad local visits
Morning visit Baltit Fort and Altit Fort, afternoon drive to Duiker valley, arrive and transfer to hotel, after refreshment walk through the village to Holy shrines.
Duiker valley (Roof the world), have a spectacular view down to Karakoram Highway and awesome views of Golden peak 7027m, Rakaposhi 7788m, Ultar Sar 7388m, Diran Peak 7266m, Lady Finger 6000m and Disteghil Sar 7885m.

Day-12 Khunjerab Pass- Karimabad 
Full day excursion to Khunjerab Pass 4733m, (Pak- China Border) evening drive back to Karimabad.
Khunjerab Pass elevation 4,733m is a high mountain pass in the Karakoram Mountains in a strategic position on the northern border of Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region and on the southwest border of the Xinjiang region of China. Its name is derived from Wakhi ‘Khun’ means Home and ‘Jerav’ means spring water/water falling. The Khunjerab Pass is the highest paved international border crossing in the world and the highest point on the Karakoram Highway. The road way across the pass was completed in 1982, and has superseded the unpaved Mintaka and Kilik Passes as the primary passage across the Karakoram.

Day-13: Karimabad- Naran
Drive to Naran (355km) 9-10 hrs, via Babusar Pass 4173-m)
Babusar Pass (el. 4173 m. /13,691 ft.) is a mountain pass at the north of the 150 km. (93 miles) long Kaghan Valley connecting it via the Thak Nala with Chilas on the Karakoram Highway (KKH). Babusar Pass connects Gilgit Baltistan with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Day-14 Naran- Islamabad
Drive to Islamabad 239 km, 6-7 hrs en-route visit Taxila Museum and historical sites.

Taxila: Most of the archaeological sites of Taxila (600 BC to 500 AD) are located around Taxila museum. For over one thousand-year Taxila remained famous as a center of learning Gandhara art of sculpture, architecture, education, and Buddhism in the days of Buddhist glory. There are over 50 archaeological sites scattered in a radius of 30 km around Taxila. In Taxila visit archaeological sites of Jaulian, Mohra Moradu, and Sirkap. Later visit.
Taxila museum: A museum comprising various sections with rich archaeological finds of Taxila. It is one of the best and well-maintained site museums of Pakistan.

Day-15 Fly back: 
Transfer to Islamabad airport for international flight

Service details for Shandur Polo Festival

What's Included

  1. Accommodation and Meals
    Accommodation will be provided based on following hotels sharing twin/double occupancy.
    Islamabad– Hill View hotel or similar category – Bed & Breakfast only.
    Swat- PTDC Motel or Guesthouse – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

    Chitral: PTDC Motel – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
    Kalash: PTDC Motel – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
    Hunza- Hill Top or Hunza Embassy hotel – Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
    Naran
    – PTDC Motel or Guesthouse Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
    Note:
    Alternate accommodation will be provided if rooms in
    above-mentioned hotels are not available. Check in before 12:00 pm is subject to previous night charges
  2. Transportation
    Air-condition transportation for sightseeing
    Air-condition transport for airport pick and drop

    Air-condition transport from Islamabad to Chitral and Hunza to Islamabad 
  3. 4×4 Jeeps
    4×4 Jeeps from Chitral to Kalash valleys- Shandur Pass- Hunza
  4. Taxes and Fees
    Road taxes.
    Camping fees. 
    Forts- Museum entrance fees. 
  5. Camp food- Equipment & Accessories
    Camp food at Shandur pass 
    Mattresses.
    D3V sleeping tent.
    Toilet Tent.
    Shower Tent.
    Mess Tent- Kitchen Tent- Tables- Chairs.
  6. Kitchen Equipment
    All necessary kitchen utensils.
    Kitchen tent.
    Lamps for light.
    Cooking Stoves.
  7. Staff
    Professional English Speaking Guide
    Professional Cook
    Assistant Guide as per group size
    Cook helper

What's not Included

  • International air ticket & airport taxes.
  • Visa fee for Pakistan & personal insurance of the clients.
  • Tips for drivers, porters and staff
  • Single supplement
  • Hotel meals in Islamabad (lunch & dinner)
  • Transfers to and from airports for participants making individual air arrangements
  • Optional excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour
  • All personal expenses such as telephone, fax, email charges, liquor or soft drinks,
  • Room service, gratuities for personal services, items of a purely
    • If group splits due to personal reasons, the cost will be charged additionally.
    • Extra hotel nights (if any) will be charged to trekking members.
    • Any extra cost due to road blockade or any other unforeseen reason will be charged in addition to normal package offer.Any other service that is not mentioned in the list above.
    • If government imposes a fee or new condition resulting extra charges (after the package is submitted) the same will be charged in addition to normal package offer.

Joining Arrangements & Transfers

  • The accommodation arrangement in Islamabad is of standard hotels. Rooms at our provided hotels will be on twin sharing basis. If any participant is coming alone on this tour he/she will be accommodated with one of the other members for room sharing. Nevertheless, a participant can opt for the separate room as he/she likes, however, the additional cost will be incurred for making the separate arrangement. Any participants seeking separate accommodation must inform our office in advance.

Meal Plan

  • While in Islamabad accommodation is on bed and breakfast basis and our guide will guide you to different restaurants nearby for lunch and dinner. Rest in all hotels accommodation is based on breakfast, lunch dinner. 

Accomodation

  • The accommodation arrangement in Islamabad is of standard hotels. Rooms at our provided hotels will be on twin sharing basis. If any participant is coming alone on this tour he/she will be accommodated with one of the other members for room sharing. Nevertheless, a participant can opt for the separate room as he/she likes, however, the additional cost will be incurred for making the separate arrangement. Any participants seeking separate accommodation must inform our office in advance.

Dates Availability Status
01-JUL-2019 - 14-JUL-2019 AVAILABLE
03-JUL-2019 - 16-JUL-2019 AVAILABLE
04-JUL-2019 - 17-JUL-2019 AVAILABLE

Shandur Polo Festival starts from July 7 at the world highest Polo Ground in Chitral. [Shandur Polo Festival (July 7, 8, 9] The start and end dates in the table above are your dates of arrival and departure from Pakistan We have at least two guaranteed departures for Shandur Polo Festival. Our dates for the tour to Shandur Polo tour are given above.

How the trip will operate?

Upon arrival in Islamabad, one of our representatives will pick you up from the airport and transfer to hotel. Next day we drive over Lowari Pass 3118m to Chitral. After overnight we drive to Kalash valleys on 3rd day. Where we will visit Kalash valleys, Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur.
After visiting Kalash valleys, we depart for Shandur Pass 3700m, were spend three days to watch freestyle polo matches at Shandur Pass 3700m. Then we depart for Hunza valley via Gupis, Phandar Lake and Gilgit to Hunza. From Karimabad we visit Baltit  Fort, Altit Fort, Passu village, Passu Glacier and Khunjerab Pass (Pak/China Border). Then we drive to Islamabad via Babusar Pass 4173.  

What you Carry?

In your daypack, you will need to carry extra warm clothing (depending on the altitude, location, and weather), a rain jacket, water bottle, film and camera gear, valuables and personal items such as sunscreen, lip-Eze etc.

What will be the camp food?

While in Islamabad accommodation is on bed and breakfast basis and our guide will guide you to different restaurants nearby for lunch and dinner, while at the camps at Shandur Pass you will get breakfast with porridge and cereal, toast or chapattis/parathas, omelettes and a range of hot drinks. In the afternoon you will be given tea and biscuits and a three-course meal will follow with soup, a main meal, and dessert. We bring along fresh vegetables and meat for the main meals. We can cater for those with special dietary requirements, so long as we are informed of these at the time of booking.

 

Guidance on tipping?

It is usual to tip the members of your tour crew, including your local guide, if you are happy with the services provided. We estimate that $150 – $200 (in local currency equivalent) will cover this aspect of your trip expenditure.

Towards the end of the tour, the trip leader will help the group to determine an appropriate level of tipping for each crew member, and this is most usually done as a group ‘thank-you’ with a ceremony on the final day of tour.

 

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