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Shandur Polo Festival 2016 set to return after hiatus

CHITRAL: The Shandur Polo Festival will be held from 22nd July 2016 after a year long hiatus.

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The decision has been made by the Tourism Corporation Khyber Pakthtunkwa (TCKP). The date of the festival have been revised  due to Ramazan

The free-style polo match is one of the largest festivals in the country and is held since 1936 from 7-9th July on Shandur Top of Gizer District, Gilgit Baltitstan  between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit.  The event is held at the highest polo ground in the world and draws polo fans from across the country.

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However, the festival was cancelled last year due to floods which inducted the area, and also due to crumbling infrastructure which was damaged beyond repair. The infrastructure in the district was further devastated after a earthquake on 26th October. 2015 which affected the region.

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The event has also run into trouble over political differences over the ownership of the Shandur Pass.  In 2010, Gilgit boycotted the festival to protest the decision of the government to hand over the event to Khyber Pakhtunkwa and stayed away till 2014 until they were convinced to return.

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The festival also includes folk music, dancing, a camping village set up at the Pass and numerous other activities to enjoy such as trot fishing at nearby lakes and streams, horse riding, mountaineering, hiking and exploring reminiscent of Northern Pakistan culture.

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The TCKP has also decided to repair certain infrastructure including six bridges towards Shandur. It was decided to advertise the event with the help of a multinational company, pay horse allowances to polo players and places portable toilets at different areas on the route to Shandur.

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