The love for polo in Jaipur is immense. The game of cricket is arguably more popular, strictly speaking, but it is a given in all of India. Polo in Jaipur has a special place in the hearts of the locals for its history with the royal family and the strength of its tradition in the city across the ages.
It is said that polo in Jaipur is special because this is the city where the game truly began to inspire people in the country to try out the sport. The game was already being played in Jaipur in the 19th century, and the late 1880’s was a time of supremacy for the Jaipur team as it played and won against many of the other teams in the country. In the 1930’s, the city’s team actually took the National Championship nine times in succession, gaining it an unparalleled record of consecutive wins not just in the country but also in the sport. Even now, people regard that team as having been capable of extending their winning streak if not for the outbreak of World War II.
The team is perhaps the most famous Indian polo team in history because of its wins, as well as the wins it managed to garner in the UK (where it actually snatched the Open Championship, among others, right from under the Englishmen’s noses). Part of what made the team so noteworthy is that Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II was one of its leading players and was also one of the members of the team that won the world championship for India in the late 50’s. The maharajah was well-loved for many things by the people of Jaipur during his reign, but it cannot be denied that part of that love was formed by their pride in him as a world-acknowledged polo athlete. The maharajah actually perished as a result of an accident during a game in England.
The people of Jaipur are aware of the tradition of polo playing their former rulers had, and are of course proud of the long association of the city’s name with some of the greatest polo players in history—not merely in the country but in the world. As a result, polo games in Jaipur are very well-attended. The city’s polo club actually does not even charge attendance fees to the people once the polo season begins, permitting them to come in as they wish and join in the enjoyment of this historic sport.
In order to look out for games of polo in Jaipur, just track the website of the Jaipur Riding & Polo Club to see what events they have planned. Take note that traditional horse polo is not the only option in the city, by the way: sometimes, you may even hear of polo games being organised in what is perhaps an even more traditional format in the city—namely, that of having the players seated atop camels or even enormous elephants instead of mere horses.