"The game of kings and the king of games," reads the sign at the entrance to Shandur.
Shandur Polo ground
Every year in July/August for almost 100 years a polo tournament is held at the highest polo ground on the planet, at Shandur Pass, in Hindu Kush mountains of Pakistan's North West Frontier Province. It is here British re-discovered Polo, when in 1930s, a British officer named Col. Cobb, who was crazy about playing Polo in moon light, formalised a centuries-old sporting rivalry.
Polo teams from the mountain districts of Chitral and Gilgit converge on a spectacular natural stadium surrounded by snow-sprinkled peaks which, at an altitude of over 12,000ft, is the world's highest polo ground. A whole new world is built before the event. Visitors are treated to a breath-taking view of Shandur with its beautiful lush green mountains and its pure water lake.The festival provides visitors with the thrilling excitement of polo in its true form.
Here the game has developed in a manner different from elsewhere in the world, the main contrast being that it is much tougher. For example, contrary to polo games elsewhere, no changing of horses is allowed. There simply are no rules, except that the players have to stay in the saddle, and referees are only needed to allow or disallow a goal. The game is won when a team scores nine goals.
Last year despite the fears of Taliban attack, the tournament was held with great success.
Credits for pictures and information: guardian.UK, suite101,infohub, Frederik Buyckx, etc.