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Age-old polo event to kick off in mountainous northern Pakistan
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08:12, July 04, 2007

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Pakistan's Shandur polo festival,featuring age-old traditional polo games, is to be held on July 7-9 in northern Pakistan's Shandur area, officials announced here Tuesday.

The annual polo festival dated back to 1936 when a British political agent held first polo tournament at Shandur Pass, a mountainous area with 3734 meters above sea level, said Salman Javed, an official from the tourism ministry, while addressing a press conference.

Totally five matches will be held between two domestic teams, each from northwest border area of Chitral and north area of Gilgit in the three-day event, which also consists of traditional music and dancing performance, officials said.

Thousands of tourists from all parts of the world are being attracted to northern Pakistan annually, which is highly reputed for its natural beauty, to watch the fast-moving and rough style polo games, according to Salman Javed, managing director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, a unit under the tourismministry.

Pakistani government has big plans to advertise the festival, in an effort to promote the tourism industry and improve the country's image as a desired tourist destination at an international level, Javed told Xinhua.

Dating back to 6th century BC, polo was introduced in South Asia by Muslim conquerors in the 13th century, bringing it with a sense of rich heritage and tradition.

Source: Xinhua

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