Shandur Polo Festival is one of the big festivals in Pakistan. This festival is held from 7 to 9 July every year on Shandur Pass in Chitral District of Khyber PakhtunkhwaThe polo match is played between the teams of Chitral District and districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, is a free style game.
The initiation of polo in Shandur is credited to The balti raja of Skardu; Ali Sher Khan Anchan who built the polo ground of Shandur as well. but the initiation of Polo in Shandur is credited to the British occupiers who made possible the building of the polo ground. It is said that in 1935, UK Administrator for Northern Areas Evelyn Hey Cobb asked Niat Qabool Hayat Kakakhel to make a well-constructed polo ground in Shandur.
He constructed a polo ground with the help of the people. This polo ground was later on named as “Mas Junali”. The word “Mass Junali” is derived from Khowar language. The word “Mas” means moon and “Junali” means polo ground. Cobb was impressed by Kakakhail’s resourcefulness and efficiency and wished to reward him for his service, but Kakakhail refused to accept any reward for his work. Instead, for the common benefit,
Kakakhail asked Cobb to bring trout to stock the local streams. Cobb ordered live trout from England and dropped them into the Ghizer River. Due to this service, the Directorate of Fisheries was established and hundreds of people were employed. Now the weight of those fishes in Hundarap Lake reach 24 kg and in Baha Lake Khukush Nallah, their weight reached 40 kg.
So Mas Junali became a source of relation between the people of Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan. Many people from around the world come to watch polo match played between Chitral District and Ghizer District.