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Polo activities

1. Horse Polo

Horse Polo - The Jaipurs were a formidable polo playing family, and the last maharaja of the state literally died with his spurs on, on a polo field. With the glamour of the game, they drew international publicity for India, and the sport has remained one of the most prominent in the elite social circuit. Along with Jaipur, there are also formidable polo teams in Jodhpur and Udaipur, while the 61st Cavalry, also based in Jaipur, has kept it alive in the army.

It is not possible to simply arrive and start playing polo, since the sport needs especially bred horses in large numbers. These are largely maintained by the players themselves, or with the help of their sponsors. You will therefore have to seek out an invitation to play, something you are best advised to do in advance. However, it is possible to send in a special request while planning your trip to Rajasthan, especially if you are a group with polo-playing members. This is important because, in season, when the game is played (September-March), the polo teams are often out (in Delhi, Calcutta or Mumbai) on the circuit, or may even be playing overseas. Of course, there is also the chance of having visiting teams in Rajasthan coinciding with the time of your visit. Even if you do not get the chance to play, there is every chance of being able to watch the sport as an observer – which is almost as good as playing. There is something extremely satisfying about watching men on their horses as they pursue the ball with their sticks with skill and adroitness.

If you would like to have a game especially organised, you are requested to contact RJPF to have it arranged.


2. Camel Polo

Camel Polo - At various tourist festivals in the state, camel polo has been introduced as a friendly, competitive sport. Perhaps the only place in the world where it is played, the game provides a great deal of amusement and mirth, but is not yet a serious pursuit. If you would like to have a game especially organised, you are requested to contact RJPF to have it arranged.

3. Cycle Polo

Cycle Polo or Bike Polo or Bicycle polo is an outdoor game similar to Polo, except that bicycles are used instead of horses. The sport originated in Ireland and was formally invented by Richard J. Mecredy in 1891. The game is currently played mainly in USA, France, India and Canada.

For those who like the fast pace of horse polo, bicycle polo provides an option that is at least as exciting. During the sixties and seventies, a lot of impetus was provided to the sport, particularly in Bikaner, though in recent years it has become somewhat dissipated. However, for those who may like to participate in a friendly match, or to observe one, special arrangements can be made on request. In more recent years, the sport has developed a following in the Shekhawati region.

The game
Cycle polo is played in a rectangular field 150 meters by 100 meters. Nevertheless, these dimensions can vary between 120 and 150 meters in length on 80 to 100 meters in width. The French rules however allow for smaller grounds usually 100 by 80 meters. The ball used is of circumference 12-15 inches and the mallet is of length 1 meter. Interestingly, the cycles used for the game are not allowed to have brakes.

There are 6 members (7 in France) in a team of which 4 (5 in France) are on field at a time. The other two are used as substitutes. International matches are played for a duration of 30 minutes divided into periods of 7.5 minutes each called as a chukkar. Extra time can be used to determine the winner in case the scores are tied at normal time. The goal posts are usually widened for extra time.

If a deliberate foul is permitted at the vicinity of the goal, the team that is fouled is automatically given a goal. There are no penalty strokes. Less severe fouls are awarded 15 metre and 25 metre free hits. In the event of deliberate fouls or dangerous fouls, the umpire can issue the Yellow card (warning) and in case of repeated or severe fouls the Red card (ejection). The ejected player can be replaced by a substitute after the end of the current chukkar if the umpire allows it.

The game was invented by an Irishman, Richard J. Mecredy in 1891. That same year the first cycle polo match was played between The Scalp and the Ohne Hast C.C..

Towards the end of the 19th century the game reached Great Britain, USA and France. The first international match was played between Ireland and England in 1901. Cycle polo was an Olympic even in the 1908 London Olympics with Ireland winning the gold beating Germany.

The sport reached its peak of popularity in Great Britain during the 1930s with the introduction of the regional leagues. Cycle polo also flourished in France during this period with the establishment of the French league. Internationals between France and Great Britain were held regularly. However the second world war marked the beginning of the demise of cycle polo in Britain. The sport managed to hang on in France though, with league championships held regularly till today.

The 1980s saw the rise of two new powers in cycle polo, India and USA. The Cycle Polo Assosciation of India was officially created in 1966 and the Bicycle Polo Assosciation of America was created in 1994. International cycle polo matches staged a comeback in the 90s with the first world championship organized in 1996 in USA. Teams from India, USA and Canada participated with India winning the title. The next championship was held in 1999 in Vancouver, Canada which was also won by India. From then on, the championship became a regular event held every year.

The 2004 championship was won by the USA, with teams from India, Canada, France and Pakistan participating.

Today there is organized cycle polo being played in Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and USA.

150 meters in length by 100 meters in width for Seniors and Juniors.
120 meters in length by 80 meters in width for Sub Juniors and women.
Goal posts 4 meters apart, 2.5 meters in height and 1.5 meters in width.

Ordinary cycle of any make and size is used . No extra attachments such as mud guards, bells , stand , carrier or gears are allowed.

The game was originally played with a Bamboo Horse Polo Ball . Later in India Tennis Ball was introduced for safety reasons.

Cosco International has now made a Cosco Bicycle Polo Ball. The description of the ball is as under.

Weight : 85 to 90 grams
Size : 75 to 76.5 MM
Diameter : 24 Cms
Bounce : 39 Inches
Felt : TTI

Sticks made from bamboo cane with wooden head in sizes 36, 34 and 32 inches are used for the game.

A full game consists of 4 chukkers of 7.1/2 minutes each . The Senior Final is of 5 chukkers.

A team consists of 4 playing members with 2 extras.
Later amendment in substitution rules for women, girls and sub-junior boys, allow 4 playing members with 4 extras

Handicaps are allotted to players in senior category according to their standard of play . A separate Handicap tournament is played once a year.

If you would like to have a game especially organised, you are requested to contact RJPF to have it arranged.

4. Safaris

Rajasthan's topography is such that it allows for various safaris - jeep, camel, horse and elephant. The major share of limelight is without doubt hogged by camel and elephant safari, nonetheless jeep safari is equally interesting and widely enjoyed. Each safari has its own charm and caters to the varying prefrences of tourists. Sitting on a jeep, elephant or camel, tourists explore every nook and corner of Rajasthan while enjoying the journey itself.

If you would like to have a game especially organised, you are requested to contact RJPF to have it arranged.

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