• Shandur Polo Ground

Shandur Polo Ground

The Shandur Polo Ground is the highest in the world and is located in Ghizer in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It is a wonder of natural beauty and is nestled between the mountains, making it one of Pakistan’s most serene sports venues.

Moreover, the Shandur Polo Ground is known for the annual Shandur Polo festival, which is an annual sports festival characterized by music, dancing, and athletic sports. This festival brings together people from all walks of life, locals and travelers alike, binding them in a moment of love, warmth, and togetherness.

It would be unfair if we didn’t tell more about this majestic gem in Pakistan’s mountains. So today, let’s take a closer look at the Shandur Polo ground and see how it is one of the best places for sports and nature enthusiasts!

What is the meaning of Shandur?

The word Shandur, after which the polo ground takes its name, is understood to mean Artist or Charismatic. However, it is more broadly relayed as a place where art meets charisma in a sea of calm and peace. The essence of the word Shandur lies in understanding and appreciating nature as a way to connect with the world and around us. A fitting name for the right place if you ask us!

Shandur Polo Ground Attractions, Timings, and Location

The Shandur Polo Ground is one of the most beautiful wonders of Pakistan. The ground and its surrounding area are stunning. It is majestic, and no matter what time of day you visit, you will have a wonderful experience. Moreover, it is where you can soak in the great outdoors, have a thrilling time playing sports, and drown in the majesty of the high mountains all in one place.

Shandur Polo Ground

Who Built the Polo Ground of Shandur?

The idea of a polo ground in Shandur was first introduced by the Balti Raja of Skardu, Ali Sher Khan. However, the initiation of the ground took place under British Rule. In 1935, the UK Administrator for Northern Areas, Evelyn Hey Cobb, asked Ali Sher Khan and the Nambardar of Chitral, Niat Qabool Hayat Kakakhel, to construct a polo ground in Shandur. The project was completed with the help of the local population and, to this day, remains one of the foremost traveler attractions in the Shandur area.

When is the Best Time to Visit Shandur Polo Ground?

The Shandur Polo Ground is truly a hidden gem of Pakistan. Its location in the mountains makes it one of the most serene places in the world. If you decide to visit, we recommend seeing them in the morning or early afternoon. The lush green of the ground and the lure of the surrounding areas are visible now. It instills a feeling of peace and tranquility that genuinely allows you to admire what mother nature offers. 

Attractions at Shandur Polo Ground

The Shandur Polo Ground is genuinely like no other place in the world. It is the one place where you can enjoy both the King of Games (Polo) and the Majesty of Mother Nature. If you decide to visit, here are some things that you might want to check out during your stay:

Highest Polo Ground in the World

The Shandur Polo Ground is the highest in the world. Often referred to as the ‘Roof of the World,’ this is the place for adrenaline junkies. You play or enjoy a game of Polo 12,140 feet above sea level while also soaking in the immaculate natural beauty surrounding you.

Crystal Clear Shandur Lake

In addition, if you want to enjoy the serenity of the streams, Shandur lake is nearby. You can enjoy the lake’s clear waters and soak in the beauty of this ever-flowing stream. 

Karakoram Mountainous Ranges

The mountain ranges tower over the Shandur Polo Ground. You can enjoy the pristine view of the tallest mountains in the world, including the Karakoram, Pamir, and Hindukush, from the ground, further aiding the magnificence of this place.

Peaceful and Amazing Place

In addition, the Shandur Polo Ground is a relaxing place where you can unplug and relax. The site’s greenery and wilderness make it a calming experience where you can connect with nature and forget all your worries.

Beautiful Flowers and Lush Meadows

The ground and its surrounding areas are also home to some majestic flowers. The flora of the place makes it a genuinely bio-diverse setting where you can enjoy yourself fully. The rolling green meadows only add to the site’s beauty and make for a genuinely amicable affair.

Why is Polo a Unique Game in Pakistan

In Pakistan, most people love cricket or hockey, so it is strange to see Polo enjoyed by so many individuals. You might be surprised to learn that despite not being popular amongst the masses, Polo is one of the favorite sports of people from the North, especially from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. Thus, making the Shandur Polo festival one of the most appreciated events in the region.

In addition, the polo games played at the Shandur Polo Festival feature teams from the rival tribes of Chitral and Gilgit. This makes the Shandur Polo Festival even more exciting to watch. It is like the Northern Pakistan version of a Pakistan vs. India cricket match!   

When is Shandur Polo Festival Played

The Shandur Polo Festival is an annual sports festival held from the 7th to the 9th of July. The polo tournament is played between the teams of the Chitral and the Gilgit-Baltistan districts. The teams play a traditional form of Polo, closest to its purest form with freestyle rules.

The Shandur Polo festival is renowned for the music and dancing usually played with the game. The festival ends on the 9th with a final match between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit-Baltistan. All in all, it is a fun-filled and exhilarating experience, one which you should consider!

How to Reach Shandur Polo Ground

You can reach the Shandur Polo Ground Chitral either from Chitral or from Gilgit. The ground is located 197 kilometers from Gilgit. If you choose this path, you can also see the breathtaking valleys of Gahkuch, Gupis, Phandar, and many beautiful lakes, making this route the more attractive.

Alternatively, you can travel from Chitral. The ground is located 147 Kilometers from Chitral, and you also get to witness some beautiful plains and plateaus along this route.

Location of Shandur Polo Ground

The Shandur Polo Ground is located on a flat opening between the hills in Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan. The rectangular ground has a stunning view as it is surrounded by the mighty mountains with Shandur Lake and Shandur Pass nearby.

In addition, it holds the title of the highest polo ground in the world. Its position between the Hindukush, Pamir, and Karakoram mountains has sometimes been called the ‘Roof of the World.’

FAQs

What is the height of Shandur Polo Ground?

The Shandur Polo Ground Chitral is situated at an altitude of 12500 feet (38000 meters) above sea level, making it the highest polo ground in the world. This altitude and its proximity to mountains give the Shandur Polo Ground the title of the ‘Roof of the World.’

Who Invented Horse Polo?

Horse Polo is an equestrian sport that traces back to the 6th Century BC. The first known instance of the sport being played is in Central Asia by nomadic Iranian and Turkic people. In the old days, its main objective was to train the cavalry for real-life battles. However, its format and rules have changed over the years, making it the beloved game we know today. 

How many Players are there in Shandur Polo Match?

The Polo Matches at the Shandur Polo Ground Chitral are played with six members on both sides with two to four reserve members in case of injury. The matches usually last about an hour, with a ten-minute interval in between.

Fun Fact: Sometime after its construction, the Shandur Polo Ground was renamed ‘Mas Junali.’ The word “Mas Junali” is derived from the Khowar language. The term “Mas” means moon, and “Junali” means polo ground signifying that the polo ground is so high that you can play Polo even at night.

Conclusion

To bring it all together, the Shandur Polo Ground is a piece of heaven on earth. Its location, nestled between the mountains and surrounded by the wilderness, makes it one of the most peaceful places in Pakistan. It is the one place where serenity and calm meet thrill and adventure.

If you want a holistic natural experience, we recommend you check out the Shandur Polo Ground. Its promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will certainly not disappoint.