One of the legacies left behind by the British -much like cricket and hockey – is Polo. Much like these two games. Polo owes its origin to the British, even though it was first played in India.
An erstwhile passion of the royal families – some, like the former ruler of Udaipur, still patronise it – the game is now largely a preserve of the men in uniform, played in metres and cantonment lawns.
Matches are usually organised in the winter season, details of which can be obtained from local dailies or race courses.
India has rich historical ties with many of the sporting traditions including Polo. The game of Polo originated in India is one of the few countries in the world where this game is still preserved and practiced. The Kolkata Polo Club is the oldest Polo club in the world and is 150 year old. Therefore Polo can rightly be termed as “Heritage Sports” of India.
Tourism sector has immense potential in adding to the economic growth and socio-economic development in the country through its multiplier effect. The country can utilize its unlimited potential to develop the niche sectors like golf, caravan, polo, adventure sports etc. The sports sector has a major economic impact, contributing billions of dollars to the economy and scope for employment generation. The trend towards travel for the purpose of participating in some sports activity is both significant and growing in India worldwide.
With an objective to promote India as a 365 days destination and showcase it as a multiple tourism attraction destination, an Opulent Routes has included promotion of Polo as a niche tourism product.
What is Polo Sports?
Polo is a team-sport seated on horseback. It is one of the oldest recognized team sports in the world. Polo has been referred to as “the sport of kings” and has become a global sport for riders and culture. India has productive historical relations with many of the western sports, including Horse Polo. India is one of the few countries in the world where the Horse Polo game is still being maintained and practised. India is where modern polo was founded. Polo’s first official game was played in Manipur state, India. Yet the game design and its variations date back to the 6th century BC until around the 1st century AD. Some of the Notable Indian Polo Players are Rathore, Maj Ravi, Rathore, Mr. Lokendra Singh and Sandhu, Lt Col Navjit Singh.
Horse Polo travel is now famous around the world, with the International Polo Federation comprising well over 100-member nations. In 1833 the first polo club was founded in Assam, India, in the town of Silchar. The game’s roots in Manipur are traced to early precursors sagolkangjei. Traditionally, polo is played at Manipur with seven players to one side.
Top 20 Destination in India for Polo Safari
Do you know that in India more than twenty cities have polo clubs and associations? I am assuming a ‘No’ as the answer. Well, we don’t blame you, it’s the glitz and glamour of other sports in the country that almost make Polo lesser-popular sport in India. But do you know besides being one of the most ancient and elusive games in the world, Polo in India is an indigenous game which has been played here for centuries? This gives an insight of all those places in India, having Polo clubs registered under the Indian Polo Association (IPA), and can indeed be your next travel destinations in India, if you’re a Polo player.
Manipur – The Place Where Polo was Born
British may have introduced the sport of Polo to the world, but it is Manipur which claims to be the motherland of this effervescent game. For the fact, the city proudly holds one of the oldest polo grounds in the world – Mapal Kangjeibung, which is located in the downtown of Imphal. Every year, during the time of Sangai Festival, the state hosts the most celebrated Manipur International Polo Tournament where teams from across the globe come to participate. Interesting isn’t it? All Manipur Polo Association and Manipur Horse Riding & Polo Association are the two associations in Manipur. However, all the associations and polo clubs in Manipur comes under All Manipur Polo Association, and hence, you can seek the permission of the association to play in any of those clubs. As a Polo player, you’ll be pleased to hear that almost every village in Manipur has a polo ground, some having been constructed under the royal patronage.
Well, in Manipur, polo is not just the only thing that can fascinate you on your perfect polo trip to India, there are places and attractions that surely can blow your mind away with just a glance. Imphal, Ukhrul, Churachandpur, Senapati, Chandel, Loktak Lake, and Keibul Lamjao National Park are just a few names in the list of places to visit in Manipur.
Kolkata: Home to One of the Oldest Polo Clubs in India
The next in the list is the cultural city, Kolkata which presents two popular clubs; Calcutta Polo Club and Fort William Polo Club. Calling out all the professional players, these clubs bid some memorable and fun-filled polo experience that will surely make Kolkata a worth visiting place. Apart from an amazingly enrapturing polo experience, the city of Kolkata is also steeped in vibrant hues which one should explore while on a trip here. Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Indian Museum, Fort William, Marble Palace, Sundarbans, Rabindra Sarovar, Botanical Gardens, Aquatica, Nicco Park, and Dakshineswar Kali Temple are some of the famous places in Kolkata where you definitely want to spend rest of your time after a game of Polo.
Jaipur: Play Like a Royal
In Jaipur, Polo is not just a sport but a tradition! From the ancient time, Jaipur is leading the way in this sport and is considered to be an ideal destination to play Polo in India. Evidently, the ‘Pink City’ houses one of the best polo grounds in India. To display his love for the sport, Maharaja Man Singh II built a polo ground, which is located right next to the famous Rambagh Palace. Doesn’t matter if you are a professional polo player or not, a ticket to a match also takes you into this prodigious ground.
Moreover, for polo lovers, the city has various clubs that are also the perfect locations on your India trip for that ultimate polo experience. Rajasthan Polo Club, Chinkara Polo Club, Haldighati Polo and Riding Club, and Jaipur Riding and Polo Club are some of the famed polo clubs in Jaipur.
Once done with the polo, you can also explore other attractions of the city including the Rambagh Palace, City Palace, Jal Mahal, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, Albert Hall Museum, Jantar Mantar, Nahargarh Fort, and more such places.
New Delhi: A Polo Experience to Have for a Lifetime
In India, playing Polo is always interesting, especially when you’re in the capital city, New Delhi. Giving you some real adventure of the game, Delhi houses some of the most popular polo clubs in India. Army Polo & Riding Club, and Aspen Riding and Polo Academy are the best places for polo players in India.
After Polo, one can also explore the other sides of Delhi, i.e., its monuments and varied cuisines. Lal Qila (Red Fort), India, Gate, Qutub Minar, and Lotus Temple are some places in Delhi worth checking out. And, Hauz Khas, Khan Market, and Connaught Place are some of the popular hangout places where you surely want to go. Don’t forget to try the palatable street food of Delhi.
Gurgaon: Only Polo Ground that has a Connection With Bollywood
Gurgaon is just few-hours drive away from Delhi, and hence, extending your Polo tour to there would not be a bad deal as there are some really good polo clubs and grounds. Though there are numbers of equestrian clubs in Gurgaon, Polo is played on fewer of them. One place where you can have some enthralling experience of this beautiful sport is Gurgaon Polo and Equestrian Club. Nurtured in the lap of Aravali Hills, this place is a perfect place to spend some hours in equestrian activities or in playing Polo. BTW, do you know who’s the founder of this magical place? Well, none other than, the versatile Bollywood actor Randeep Hooda.
As far as, nearby attractions are concerned, there are not many places to explore around this Polo Club in Gurgaon. However, one can visit some amazing food joints, restaurant, and malls in Gurgaon. After Polo, one can also drive back to Delhi to explore the city.
Noida: Home to Two Elite Polo Clubs in India
Just like Gurgaon, Noida too is just a few miles away from the capital, and thus, you can also consider it to be your Polo destination on your visit to Delhi. Jindal Polo & Equestrian Foundation and Amity Polo Club are the two elite places for a memorable polo experience in Noida. Atta Market is one of the major attractions of Noida that one should visit while in the city. However, if racing is your thing then no place would better than the Buddh International Circuit to spend an evening in Noida.
Udaipur: A Place where the Polo Tradition Has Been Running For Centuries
Polo is one of the most celebrated games of sports in Udaipur. The city is home to many royal families, and thus, Polo in Udaipur is like a tradition and the royal people here are playing it for centuries. Though there is just one Polo club in Udaipur – Imperial Riding & Polo Club, yet, it is undoubtedly one of the best places in Rajasthan for polo players. Friendly horses, incredibly maintained grass fields, and perfect ambiance together proffers you the experience to cherish for a long.
There is no denying the fact that Udaipur abounds in beauty. Be it the royal game of Polo or the resplendent attractions, Udaipur is any tourist’s delight. The city houses some marvellously constructed palaces, azure lakes, and luxuriant hills which one should not dare to miss. City Palace, Lake Pichola, Lake Palace, Nehru Park, Doodh Talai Musical Garden, Sajjangarh Palace, Vintage Car Museum, Jag Mandir, Ambrai Ghat, Kumbhalgarh Fort, and Lake Palace are some famous tourist attractions of Udaipur.
Jodhpur: An Elite Destination to Relish a Royal Sport
A treasure trove for all the Polo players, Jodhpur is undeniably one of the prominent contributors to this sport in India. The Blue City of Jodhpur is known to proffer the best out of this enticing game. Head to Jodhpur Polo & Equestrian Institute which has two grassy polo fields with the accommodation capacity of forty horses and three paddocks. Guests can use these grounds to play. For beginner’s lessons and coaching can also be arranged. However, if you wish to witness a polo match then Jodhpur Polo Ground serves as the best place to do so.
Apart from Polo, one can also explore the other attractions of the city that include Mehrangarh, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jaswant Thada, Mandore Garden, Kailana Lake, Rao Jodha Desert Rock Park, Clock Tower, Pali, and Masuriya Hill Garden.
Chennai: Experience an Amazing Polo Experience Like Never Before
There is one thing that connects the southern region of India to have that to the northerners, and that is the love for Polo. Thus, starting off our first South Indian city where also you take pleasure in enjoying this sport, is Chennai. Far away from its cultural site image (for which the city is recognized for), there is a rich side of Chennai for which a number of polo players and lovers visit here every year. Madras Polo & Riders Club and Officer’s Training Academy Polo Club are two prominent Polo clubs in Chennai where a professional polo player wouldn’t mind to go in order to add some amazing experiences in their resume.
Being a vibrant travel destination in India, Chennai offers a surreal tourism experience through its marvellous attractions and aromatic food. In your spare time, you can visit the places like Marina Beach, Government Museum, Covelong Beach, Kapaleeshwar Temple, Fort St. George, and Guindy National Park and Snake Park. Also, don’t forget to try the authentic cuisine of Tamil Nadu.
Hyderabad: An Epitome of the Love for Polo
In South India, after Chennai, Hyderabad is the place where a polo athlete can feel more connected to. The city has three major Polo clubs which are; Andhra Pradesh Riding Club, Hyderabad Polo & Riding Club, and Hyderabad Choughan Polo Club. These clubs are the best places for any Polo player to practice (if he/she is on a vacation in Hyderabad). Apart from being spacious, all these clubs also provide great services, proper gears, and ponies in good fettle.
Once done with the polo practice, one can also head to other attractions of the city, like that of, Golconda Fort, Charminar, Shri Jagannath Temple, Ramoji Film City, Hussain Sagar Lake, Qutub Shahi Tombs, Nehru Zoology Park, and more such enthralling places.
Bengaluru: A Perfect Venue for a Delightful Experience
Bengaluru or famed as “The Garden City’ is also amongst those places in South India that proudly hosts various polo grounds and clubs for the professional players and polo lovers. Agram Riding and Polo Club, ASC Polo Club, and Bangalore Amateur Riders Institute are the most popular of their kind. Evidently, these clubs are best in their offering, and thus, one can have a great experience in here.
Moreover, apart from the clubs, the city also has various alluring places where you can visit after exploring the clubs. These are Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultan’s Palace, Iskcon Temple, Ranganatha Swamy Temple, Kaigal Falls, and Venkatappa Art Gallery.
Ajmer: Home ground of Some Finest Polo Players in India
Another city of Rajasthan where the game of Polo is considered as a tradition is Ajmer. In Ajmer, there is not a polo club but a college that has successfully continued the legacy of the game. Mayo College has produced some notable Polo players and riders from the Royal families. Today, it has 50 horses and almost 250 students that are taking coaching from this reputed place.
The Ajmer Sharif Dargah, Taragarh Fort, Adhai Din Ka Jhonpra, Abkari Fort & Museum, Anasagar Lake, and Pushkar are some of the tourism places in Ajmer where you’ll want to go after a playing session at Mayo College.
Meerut: Lesser Known, Yet An Excellent Place for Polo
The city of Meerut is also amongst the ideal destinations in India for Polo players. RVC Polo Club in Meerut is the place where one can be a part of this fascinating game while in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Both, professional polo players and beginners, can be seen practising here at RVC Polo Club.
There is not much to do or explore in Meerut, soone can prefer to visit its nearby cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, and Kurukshetra.
Patiala: Home to the Best International Polo Club in India
There was a time when the sport of Polo was almost dissipated from the city of Patiala. But, in the recent years, it came back and that too with a bang. The city hosts various national and international Polo tournaments that attracts a large number of supporters. There is a Polo club in Patiala named, Patiala Polo & Riding Club which is considered to be one of the best Polo clubs in India. You can head to this club to showcase some of your skills.
Besides Polo, the city of Patiala also has many more attractions in the form of Qila Mubarak, Sheesh Mahal, Baradari Gardens, Gurudwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Lachman Jhoola, Qila Bahadurgarh, Darbar Hall & Museum, and Moti Bagh Palace.
Dehradun: Housing the Only Polo Academy in India
The only one of its kind in Uttarakhand, Indian Military Academy Polo Club is one of those few polo clubs in the world that give players a chance to play amidst nature. The experience which a Polo player gets to relish here is uniquely enthralling as it is the only Polo academy in India which is enclosed by luxuriant greenery and mighty Garhwal Himalayas. Apart from the sport, you can spend time frolicking with your family and friends.
Dehradun is probably one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. Here, you can praise the surreal beauty of this place by exploring the various attractions like Tiger Falls, Robber’s Cave, Malsi Deer Park, Tapkeshwar Temple, and Rajaji National Park.
Mumbai: The Most Sought-After Polo City in India
Mumbai is not just the city of Bollywood, the city of dreams and the city that never sleeps! It is indeed one of the best places in India where a Polo lover can have a good time. The city boasts two polo clubs – Amateur Rider’s Club and Indian Navy Polo & Equestrian Club. Amongst the two Indian Navy is counted as one of the best Polo clubs in the country. Sitting on benches and cheering for the teams at Mahalakshmi Race Course ground in Mumbai is as much as fun in playing a match. Therefore, one can also consider doing that.
Whereas, in the places to visit the department, the city will definitely not let you down. Gateway of India, Elephanta Island, Banganga Tank, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, Haji Ali, Juhu Beach, and Aksa Beach are some popular tourist spots in Mumbai where you can head once done with the polo.
Nashik: A Not-to-Miss Place for Polo Lovers
Not just Mumbai, the holy city of Nashik is also a hub for various tourists visiting the western state of Maharashtra. If you are a Polo player or an ardent Polo lover, Artillery Polo Club is the place in Nashik where you can show some love for the game by playing itself. Being the only Polo club in Nashik, this one has an incredibly maintained ground, quality equipment, and friendly horses that together proffer a great polo experience.
To experience the other parts of the city, you can choose to explore its famous attractions that make Nashik a must-visit attraction in Maharashtra. These travel places include Ramkund, Muktidham Mandir, Sita Gufa, Trimbakeshwar, Someshwar Waterfalls, Pandavleni Caves, Sundarnarayan Temple, Coin Museum, Sula Vineyards, Saptashrungi Devi Temple, Anjaneri Hills, and Sinnar.
Pune: A City with the Most Talked-About Polo Academy
Not just a sport but a tradition and passion for most of the Polo aficionados! For all those tourists travelling to Pune, there is just one way to enjoy their favourite sport of Polo is by heading to the National Defence Academy Polo Club. Considered to be one of the well-maintained popular Polo clubs in India, National Defence Academy is the most ideal place in Pune for any Polo player.
Apart from this, there are various places to visit in Pune that can make one’s vacation indelible when combined with an unforgettable Polo experience. Shaniwar Wada Fort, Aga Khan Palace, Chaturshringi Temple, Sinhagad Fort, Bhimashankar Temple, Rajiv Gandhi Zoological Park, Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum, Parvati Hill, Shinde Chhatri, Bund Garden, Rajgad Fort, and Lal Mahal are just a few major names in the long list of tourist places in Pune.
Ladakh: The Only Place in India Hosting a Polo Festival
The highest plateau in India – Ladakh undoubtedly is one such destination which completes every other traveller’s bucket list. Polo in Ladakh is a local game and has been serving as a major part in Ladakh tourism. Leh Polo Club along with Indian Polo Association has significantly encouraged the escalation of this sport to uphold the pride of the state tourism. Moreover, in this summer season, Ladakh is all set to hosts its first Polo Festival, which you probably won’t get to see in any other part of the country. This is a six-day long festival held at Shagaran Chuchot, Leh, Ladakh and is a perfect event for all the polo players.
Other than Polo, the state is popular tourist place in India, and hence, brags about its famous attractions like Shanti Stupa, Nubra Valley, Leh Palace, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Stok Palace, Jama Masjid, Dha and Hanu, Tiger Hill, Nimu, and more such enthralling places.
Bhavnagar: An Appropriate Destination to Conclude the List
Bhavnagar Polo Club is one of the major polo associations in India that hosts various national horse polo tournaments. Just like Rajasthan, Polo in Gujarat is also a tradition of royal families. Polo players who visit Bhavnagar in order seek an incredible experience of the sport also loves to travel to its other travel sites which include Shri Takhteshwar Temple, Ganga Deri, Gaurishankar Lake, Victoria Park, Gopnath Beach, Barton Library and Museum, and Gandhi Smriti.