Since childhood i have been fond of traveling. Two weeks ago, i visited Shandur which is located in the beautiful Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Every year Ministry of Tourism organizes Shandur Polo Festival at Shandur Polo Ground.

I have always been inspired of the polo match which is played at 12500 feet above sea level on the natural plan ground on the top of the beautiful mountainous region.

Shandur, a place which people usually visit on the special occasion of Shandur Polo Festival. I always had different question in my mind such as of low oxygen, food, how to survive up there in these particular days and most importantly how people reach Shandur, where there are no road.

But on 7th July 2019 I was one of the audience and witness the match played between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit. Before I tell you about match i would like to tell you how I reach Shandur.

It was a complete and calculated adventure, I drove my car all the way from Islamabad to Shandur in 19 hrs, as it was very hard to drive the last 55 km where there was only mud road.

We reached our destiny at night. Where we saw everyone is camped enjoying the bonfire and sitting together and dancing on the local music. I was too low at the time we reached but when I saw the energy in those people so I stood up and had fun, as it reaches to mid night temperature fell down and it feels like the temp dropped into minus, people were warming there self with clothes but music i guess make them more warm and kind.

IMG 20190721 WA0018 1024x682 - An unforgettable trip to Shandur | Polo Festival 2019

Very next morning as the sun raises, a beautiful place we found, where we were hell tried to reach for the match at our earliest. While sitting as audience, we heard from people that Chitral has been winning the match from the past decades.

As the time passed, the ball was thrown into the ground, players were rushing towards the ball and the audience was cheering up their teams in high moral, within minute the first Goal was made by the Gilgit Team, at this time I thought Gilgit is going to win after decades

The 1st half ended up with 2 goals for Chitral and 5 goals by Gilgit. At this moment, it seemed like Gilgit can win easily but the 2nd half changed the game, Chitral polled 3 goals and made a comeback. The match was going equal, each team was doing its best.

The last 5 minutes of the match were quite intense, both the teams wanted to win. Every single moment was precious, in the last few minutes, a big shout from the audience was heard and i saw Chitral scoring the final goal that led to their victory. It was an epic battle between the two teams and its felt like a war. Although, Chitral won the match but team Gilgit wins the heart.

Pakistan is our country and we as a nation, should try our best to promote the culture, tradition, peace and harmony. I recommend this place to all the people who loves to travel and explore different places. Shandur has been the most beautiful memory of my life.

- An unforgettable trip to Shandur | Polo Festival 2019

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