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 3,700 meter. The polo ground is adjacent to Shandur lake. Shandur polo 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.
Shandu polo festivals 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.
Welcome at Islamabad airport, and transfer to hotel.
Afternoon 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.
Altitude: 540 M
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive to Swat 4-5 hours, en route visit Taxila; which includes Jaulian, Mohra, Moradu and Sirkap and Museum. Arrive Swat transfer to hotel. Afternoon sightseeing in Swat valley.
Drive to Chitral 254 km. Afternoon visit Shahi Mosque, Chitral Museum, Chitral Fort and Chitral town.
Drive to Bumburate (Kalash valley) 60 km, 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.
Morning visit Birir, Bumburate and Rumbur, afternoon drive back to Chitral for overnight.
Drive to Shandur Pass 3,700 meters, 157 km, 6-7 hours. 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).
We enjoy Polo matches at Shandur Pass and will the colorful spectacle of the fiercely contested polo matches being played at a frenetic pace in the festival atmosphere. This title match will be the main attraction of the festivals as audience will be supporting their teams with full zeal and enthusiasm.
Drive to Phander 50 km arrive and transfer to hotel. Afternoon visit Phander valley and enjoy trout fishing at 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.
Drive to Karimabad 288-km 6-7 hours. En route stop at various view point for photography and refreshment.
Morning visit Baltit Fort 700 and Baltit Fort 900 Years old, Altit. Afternoon drive to Duiker valley thirty minutes arrive and transfer to hotel. An evening walk through the village to Holy shrines, today you will have opportunity to see many local people working in the fields.
(Duiker valley is viewpoint to see the sunset and Sunrise over the beautiful mountains in the surroundings of Hunza). Duiker valley (Roof of 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.
Full day excursion to Khunjerab Pass 4733 m, (Pak- China Border) evening drive back to Karimabad.
En-route visit Attabad Lake, arrive and transfer to hotel. Afternoon visit Borith Lake, Gulkin village, Gulmit village, Passu white Glacier, Passu village, Hussani village and Hussani suspension bridge.
Drive to Naran 355km 9-10 hours 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.
Drive to Islamabad 239 km, 6-7 hours, 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.
Transfer to Islamabad airport for international flight
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