History of POLO
Polo is one of the oldest sports in the world. It combines the skills of the rider with the power of the horse as well as
team tactics. Polo is an equestrian sport with its origin embedded in Central Asia dating back to 6th century BC. At first
it was a training game for cavalry units for the King's guards or other elite troops. To the warlike tribesmen who played
polo with as many as 100 players to a side, it was a miniature battle. It became a Persian national game in the 6th century
AD. From Persia, the game spread to Arabia, then to Tibet, China and Japan. In China, in the year 910, death of a favorite
relative in a game prompted Emperor Apao-Chi to order beheading of all players! Polo was introduced in South Asia, by the Muslim conquerors in the 13th century. English word 'Polo" is a Balti word meaning, "ball". Now a day,
there are six players to a side, but this is by no means a rule in local polo games. There was no limit to the number of players
and no time limit. Whichever team scored nine goals first, was the winner. The present game with a team of six players in
a side, lasts one hour with a ten minute break.
Shandur POLO Tournament:
Islamabad – Dir – Chitral – Shandur Pass
– Shandur – Chitral – Kalash Valley – Chitral – Dir - Islamabad
The first time a polo tournament took place at the Shandur Pass, was in 1936. A British Political
Agent, Major Cobb, who was fond of playing polo under a full moon, had the polo ground near Shandur, named, "Moony Polo Ground".
The most exciting polo tournament of the entire Northern Pakistan, is played on top of Shandur Pass, around 3,700
meters above sea level. It is a place unique and exotic in itself, surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery
in the world. The event marks the annual rivalry between the polo teams of Gilgit and Chitral. The Polo tournament has some
added attractions for the visitors; trout fishing at the nearby streams and lakes and a festival of folk dances and music
of the Northern Pakistan. The highlight of the festival is the final match between the Gilgit and Chitral teams. The final
provides a most colourful spectacle. Supporters of both sides travel long distances from the remote parts of Chitral
and Gilgit, to watch the thrilling game. The event, as such, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the people
of this region. Their culture and indigenous customs are a delight to behold for the visitors.