The History of Polo
The exquisite harmony between man and horse, the sheer speed, the brute power, the huge arena and the heart stopping element of risk all make up for this most exclusive and glorious sport of all - Polo… A lifestyle sport with no equal!
The origin of Polo is lost in the mists of antiquity. Polo, known as 'The Game of Kings' is believed to have originated in central Asia more than 2,500 years ago. The beginning of Polo goes back to Persia, where there is evidence that an early form of the sport was played during the reign of Darius the Great, in the early sixth century B.C. The game spread to Constantinople and from there to Turkistan, Tibet, China and Japan. It flourished in India during the Mogul empire, from the early sixteenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries. English officers in India took up the game, founded clubs, and formulated a set of rules.
The Calcutta Polo Club, which has contributed so much to the development of the sport, was founded in the early 1860s, and from then on polo became an established part of the Anglo- Indian scene, passing to England at the end of the decade. For a game as “exclusive as elusive”, the real 'home' of polo is India. Since the days of Emperor Akbar it has been the Indian Maharajas that have given this game its "Royal Tradition". Post independence, the Indian Army kept the game alive and promoted it actively until the early nineties. Among the world's most ancient sports, Polo is flourishing today in India. However, it is the corporate sector that is taking up the reins now. Some of the finest corporate names are beginning to associate themselves with the sport.
Background: The Indian Polo Championship
The Indian Open Polo Championship was presented by the Indian Polo Association (IPA) and was first played in Calcutta in December 1900 until 2001. Shifted for the first time ever in 2002 to New Delhi – the center of Indian Polo – it was a huge success and henceforth is played in the Capital each year.
The Maharaja of Jaipur, Sawai Bhawani Singh, is the Chief Patron of the Indian Open Polo Championship.
God bless the Maharaja of Jaipur. In a stroke of generosity and giving, he ensured that his beloved sport would survive the ravages of political immaturity only to blossom once again as it did when he played the game. The Jaipur Polo Ground in the heart of New Delhi was his land. In fact, it was four polo grounds! Today, the one is singularly responsible for ensuring the resurrection of polo in India. Its location, in Lutyen’s Delhi, has enabled the game to retain its touch of class and make it easily accessible to the capital’s cognoscenti. In fact, the invitation for the tournament is also sent out on his behalf.
The Indian Open is the official National Championship of Polo and the oldest and most coveted prize in Indian Polo. A Trophy over 100 years old!
Polo provides the opportunity to break away from the ordinary. The pageantry of horse and rider has immense public appeal. The beautiful and strong horses, displaying that they are the ultimate athletes bring regality and power to the game. The players too are fitter and stronger and professionalism is apparent on the polo field. The finest specimen of male in the country!
The growth of polo in the last two decades is phenomenal and the sport is more alive than ever. We are looking at good times for polo in the coming years!