Among the world’s most ancient sports, the game of Polo is as “Exclusive as Elusive”, in the cities of Jaipur & Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The very name invokes vision of aristocracy and excellence, of style and rare athletic prowess. Polo is a game that signifies glamor, intelligence, power, adventure, elegance, graceful teamwork, class and above all – Royal Tradition.
Since the days of Emperor Akbar it has been the Indian Maharajas that have given this game its Royal Tradition. The history of Polo in Indian is full of proud achievements. Since 1887, this fascinating game has been greatly influenced by the traditions of Rajasthan. It is a matter of pride that most of the high handicap players produced in India have been from Rajasthan. While the 61st Cavalry also based in Jaipur, has kept it alive in the army. Here, the game is not just played on horses; there is camel polo, elephant polo and even bicycle Polo. As time passed, the polo scene has changed but Jaipur and and Jodhpur still lead the way and are considered to be a perfect destination for Polo has become a part of the royal heritage of Rajasthan which is being forward now with new generation of the royals of Jaipur.
Living up to this family tradition, the 18-year old HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, Pacho as he is fondly called by his friends, has been selected in the Indian Polo Team. He is the youngest ever player to represent India in a World Cup match. The XI World Cup Zonal Play Offs are scheduled to be held in Iran from 29 June to 7 July this year. It is to be recalled that the last time India had won the World Cup was in France in 1957 under the captainship of late HH Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II of Jaipur, and now it’s his great grand son Maharaja Padmanabh Singh who becomes the second player from the erstwhile Jaipur Royal Family to represent the country in the World Cup. Isn’t it true that history repeat itself 🙂
It is also to be noted that the present World Cup is now known as ‘Jaipur World Cup’. It was presented by late HH Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Singh in Buenos Aires in 1982.
Polo Tradition in Jaipur
In Jaipur, the polo tradition dates back to Raja Man Singh Ji, King of Amber, who in the 16th century had taken a keen interest in chaugan while staying in Akbar’s court. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, three generations later, famous for shifting the capital from Amber to Jaipur, built a sophisticated polo field next to his palace, starting a long tradition of opening elaborate grounds in which to play the game.But it was Sawai Man Singh II, in the mid 20th century, who brought the Jaipur polo tradition to its climax as he became one of the most celebrated international players, reaching a level 9 handicap. Maharaja Sawai Man Singh built polo ground in his own palace, Rambagh, Maharaja Sawai Man Singhji wanted to create a sport complex for his city around the polo grounds. With this in mind, he gave a large piece of land to this city to build a stadium. Today, we know it as the Sawai Man Singh stadium,Jaipur
Game of Polo is back and we are sure that the long standing legacy of Jaipur for this game will be alive. With young Maharaja Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, Polo lovers will once again witness some thrilling action on the field of Iran this year.