Polo and Polo Clubs in India, an exclusive sport for Elites
Polo is among games that thrived in the high society. Being a game from the oldest annals of history, the game is still a big interest, especially among the rich and elite. In India, Polo flourished among the royalty. The game was played by the royal family of Manipur, since 3100 BC. Polo is known as the King of sports because it does not only involve skill, bravery and money are the prime factors. This game involving horses and equestrian was introduced by the British to the West in 1869 from India. The first Polo match in England was played in 1871.
As the country of origin for modern polo, India has a well maintained and large infrastructure for the game. The Indian Polo Association is the apex organization handling the affairs of the game in the country. In India, polo is particularly popular among the higher ranks of the army. Even President of Indian Polo Association is the Army General. India is successful to produce several top international polo players.
For interested persons, including both players and audience, polo clubs in the country are the most appropriate gates to this game. India Polo Association has provided license to 32 major clubs. Among them, the Calcutta Polo Club, Army Polo Club, Rajasthan Polo Club, Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association, Amateur Rider’s Club and Jodhpur Polo & Equestrian Institute are worth mentioning.
The Calcutta Polo Club, the 150 years old house, is the oldest functioning polo club in the world. Army Polo & Riding Club is based in Delhi. It was founded in 1995 at Army’s Nicholson Ranges. Although, Manipur is the origin state of Polo, the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association was established only in 1977. This club has a special responsibility to ensure survival of the Manipuri Pony, which is the original breed of polo pony. Among private civilian riding clubs, the Amateur Riders’ Club is among the oldest as well as the largest. Based in Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi, it was established in 1942.
The reason, polo is only the cup of tea for the high society because it involves a load of money. A polo pony would cost up to a whopping 2 Crore rupees, while, training will involve another load. Also, as the game is one of the toughest, it requires extensive practice. In China, polo has become popular among its billionaires. Both Prince William and Prince Harry are polo players.