Sunday, April 4, 2010

History of Polo in India

Polo is an ancient game which was made popular in Asia by the Chinese and Persians hundreds of years ago. The history of polo in India began centuries ago, when the game was first played in the areas of Gilgit, Chitral and Manipur. The sport was regularly played by Moghul Emperors, and it was Emperor Akbar who brought about the first set of rules for this game. During this era, Polo was known as ‘Chaugan’.

Polo is played on horseback between two teams of four players each. The main aim of this traditional sport is to score goals against the opposing team, while mounted on a pony or horse. Goals are scored by hitting a small white plastic or wooden ball using a long handled hammer or polo mallet. The grass field on which polo is played is usually up to 300 yards in length.

According to the history of polo in India, the modern form of polo was introduced by a British Cavalry Regiment posted in the country during the late 19th century. The Indian Polo Association was formed in 1892, with teams from Alwar, Bhopal, Bikaner, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Patiala joining in as members. The Cavalry regiments of the British and the Indian Army also fielded teams for polo matches.

After the end of the First World War the history of polo in India changed. New international rules were framed for polo. Polo events in India include the Indian Polo Championship, The President’s Cup and various local matches. Today, there are more than 30 polo clubs registered with the Indian Polo Association, which are active on the polo circuit.

Polo ponies have to be specially trained to play polo games and polo players should have exceptionally good riding skills. Today, different types of polo have emerged such as snow polo, desert polo, mountain polo, camel polo and elephant polo.

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