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Himalaya

Day 10: Chitral

Michael Palin - HimalayaAt half-time, Siraj introduces me to the captain of the Chitral team, his brother Sikander, ten years his junior. He's hot and sweating after a first half in which he's been evaluating his new horse, Bucephalus. (Another example of the resonance of Alexander the Great, Sikander being a derivation of Alexander, whose favourite horse was Bucephalus.)

This is one of the last trial games before selection of the team to take on arch-rivals Gilgit in the biggest free-style polo match in the world.

It's to be played on the top of the 12,000-foot (3660 m) Shandur Pass, the highest point of the mountain road that connects the two competing communities. At least 5000 Chitral fans will make the journey up to the pass to support their team.

Sikander grins broadly, and grips my hand in a firm Ul-Mulk handshake.
'See you there!'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 10: Chitral
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Chitral
  • Book page no: 31

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RELATED LINKS

  • Sport and Leisure
  • Day 6 
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Day 7 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 4 
  • Pole to Pole

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