CHITRAL: Jishan-e-Khazan polo tournament will see its first tampokh in 15 years as the event was finally reintroduced at Chitral Polo Ground on Sunday after a considerable gap.
One of the most spectacular sights is the tampokh, seen only in polo matches of the region. It is part of a free hit given to the side which scores.
Usually, the best player, or the one with the best horse, is given the ball in his hand so he can carry it up till the half line. Before crossing the half line, he has to volley the ball with his mallet in the direction of the new scoring side. Ends switch after each goal is scored.
Chitral DC Aminul Haq kicked the ball to inaugurate the tournament. The commissioner told the crowd the tournament became a possibility due to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government’s keen interest. Hundreds of people reached the ground to watch the match. The polo ground was also decorated with the traditional and colourful flags.
“We give special importance to tourism in the district,” said the deputy commissioner. He added preserving indigenous culture, sport and the natural environment of the valleys was imperative to attract people from around the world.
People were bitterly disappointed over the cancellation of the annual Shandur polo festival due to the floods in Chitral. Shandur gives people a chance to not only play polo in an environment that takes man and beast to the limit, but also showcase the region’s culture to the world.
In the ongoing tournament, there were a total of 35 teams. These included three teams from Chitral Scouts, one from the police, two levies teams and others from different areas of the district.
Chitral Polo Association President Shahzada Sikandarul Mulk said the sport was one of the most expensive and therefore difficult for people to play. “However, our centuries-old culture and the people of Chitral will maintain it at all cost.” He asked the government to release allowances of players who participated in the autumn games as soon as possible.
Recent floods in Chitral have left many families displaced who are still living in tents. Locals and politicians have been demanding the government for aid and rehabilitation before winter truly sets in.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.