Shandur Top, Pass & Lake – Shan-Dur Valley – The Roof of the World
Shandur is mostly famous due to its Polo Festival, Shandoor Pass and Shundur Lake. All these make this valley the unforgettable and mesmerizing. Shandur Top (el. 12,200 feet (3,700 m)) located in Chitral District. It is often called the ‘Roof of the World’. The top is flat, a plateau and can be crossed between late April and early November. The grade is very gradual, and the area is crossed by plentiful small streams during summer. It is also a boundary line between Ghizer District and Chitral District.
The Shaandur Pass lies almost midway between Chitral and Gilgit on a jeep road, which remains snow covered in winter and turns into green pastures during summer season. Traveling on this track, is adventurous, to say the least. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime and can sometimes block some sections of the road, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice.It is one of the major mountain passes in Pakistan.
Shaandur can be reached from Gilgit and Chitral. It is about 197 kilometers (122 miles) from Gilgit and 147 kilometers (91 miles) from Chitral. When coming from Gilgit to Shan dur one can see the charming valleys of Gahkuch, Gupis, Phandar and many beautiful lakes. When coming from Chitral one can see the beauty of Mastuj and Surlasp valleys.
The Valley invites visitors to experience a traditional polo tournament which since 1936 has been held annually in the first week of July between the local teams of Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. The tournament is held on Shandur Top, the highest polo ground in the world at 3,700 meters (the pass itself is at 3,800 meters). The festival also includes Folk music, dancing and a camping village is set up. The version of polo game played in Shandur Polo Ground is considered to be the purist of all. It is also called free style polo. The Polo Ground is naturally designed to be a polo ground. Small hills are on all four sides of rectangular ground, where spectators can sit and enjoy the match. The surrounding landscape and Shandoor Lake makes it even more beautiful.
A great number of tourists and spectators from different areas of country especially from Hunza, Skardu and Chitral come to attend this event. Whole valley has breathtaking views and beautiful shandoor lake is unforgettable. Shandoor Lake is located in the District Gilgit Baltistan of Pakistan in high mountain pass connects to Chitral and Gilgit. It is one of the most beautiful Lakes of Pakistan.