LOCATION: The Northern Areas of Pakistan
Gilgit, Ghizer, Chitral and Hunza areas.
Polo of these Northern Areas are famous throughout Pakistan. The
ball is hit around at amazing speeds and the horses do well to keep
up with the ball. The spectators also have to be brave and sit above
a low wall to which the ball hits and rebounds into play. The music
also dictates the game. The famous polo teams are Gilgit and Chitral
and every year a tournament is held at the Shandur Pass which connects
Chitral and Gilgit and hundreds of people come to watch the games.
You can also learn polo with a trained guide here.
Shandur Polo Tournament at the highest polo ground on Earth:
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 colorful 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 Shandur Pass
lies almost midway between Chitral and Gilgit on a jeep road, travelling
on which, is adventurous, to say the least. The distance from either
side is 170 kms. One can get to Chitral or Gilgit by Pakistan International's
daily F27 Fokker planes form Peshawar and Islamabad. There are daily
two flights from both destinations, subject to good weather. Visitors
planning to go by air must expect adjustment of minimum 02 days
in their itineraries just in case the weather.
Equipment is available at the respective
A tourist tent village with restaurant
facilities is sprung up during the tournament. Merchants from Peshawar,
Chitral and Gilgit set up souvenir and folk craft shops. The tournament
offers visitors and opportunity to mix with the locals.
For visitors to Shandur, Pakistan
Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) has set up its new motels
with all facilities like, attached toilet/bathroom, hot/cold water,
restaurant etc, at Panah Kot (Dir), Chitral, Bamburet (Kalash Valley),
Besham (KKH), Barseen (KKH) and Gilgit, besides some private hotels.
On the Pass, a tent village with all facilities is set up.It is
advisable to be there one day in advance to enjoy all the offerings
of the festival. Activities at Shandur includes dance and music
performances by different groups, trout fishing, mountaineering,
trekking, hiking and of course, horse riding. Crystal clear lakes,
snow covered mountains, alpine flowers and vast stretches of green
grass, are added attractions.
LOCATION: The Northern Areas of Pakistan
This trekking is for beginners and amateur hikers. The area between
Gilgit and Chitral areas is called Ghizar and provides great chances
for trekking and hiking. The most famous areas are Naltar, Yasin,
Phander, Fairy Meadows, Hopar, Nagar and Shimsal Valleys. Especially
in Naltar Valley, where a trekker can hike up to the Naltar Lakes.
All equipment is available in Gilgit or Karimabad.
LOCATION: Naltar Valley, Malam Jabba of Pakistan
Valley: 2 hours drive more Gilgit over a jeep track.
Malam Jabba: Drive on a metalled road more Saidu Sharif.
The two major Skiing resorts in Pakistan are in Malam Jabba (Swat
Valley) and Naltar Valley (near Gilgit). The Malam Jabba Resort
is much more developed with a great hotel and all skiing facilitiies.
However, Naltar still requires some work but still is a very beautiful
area and lots of snowfall in the winter. There are also 2 ski lifts
Bring your own equipment if you want to ski at Naltar or arrange
the trip from your tour operator. Skiing equipment is available
at the Malam Jabba resort.
LOCATION: The Gilgit River of Pakistan
The wild and roaring streams and rivers of the Northern Pakistan
possess great potential for white and wild water sports. The rapids
of these streams and rivers provide the ultimate adventure and thrill
in mountain water sports and lend themselves to canoeing, Kayaking
and white water rafting.Rafting in northern Pakistan excites the
imagination. Here the mountains are one of the most rugged and isolated
place on earth. The Swat river, Gilgit river, Hunza river, Kunar
river, Neelam river, Chitral river and Indus river. All provide
excellent stretches for white water canoeing and kayaking. The Indus
River from Jaglot northwards till its origin is deemed unfit for
rafting (unless you want your grave in the Indus River bed). The
Indus River is a black raging river upto Jaglot and no one can even
swim it. The best options for rafting are from Aliabad (Hunza) till
Gilgit on the Gilgit river or on the Gilgit River near Phander..
Arrange the trip with your tour operator OR the hotel manager who
would be more than happy to organise a rafting expedition for you.
By the way, at least 4 people (usually) for rafting required. Rapids
usually between level ii to level v passing through stunning scenery.
LOCATION: The Batura, Baltoro, Biafo and other
Glaciers of Pakistan
Hiking and trekking of the glaciers is common in Pakistan. The Baltoro,
Batura, Hispar and Biafo are the largest glaciers in the world and
Siachen (which is the largest) are a trekker's paradise. Siachen
is currently closed to foreigners and other Pakistanis for that
matter as currently it is a warzone ( the highest battlefield on
Earth. above 5500 m ) with helicopters and tanks patrolling the
areas. In the area of the Baltoro Glacier, foreigners are required
to have all the necessary documents (including permits,visas and
passports) with them while hiking because you can be airliftef (at
your own expense) out of the area if caught without the necessary
documents by Pakistani helicopters from Siachen (a cool experience
Normal equipment for hiking is to be required. Porters are available.