Home|About Us|Photo Gallery|Royal family Jaipur & its Association with polo|Polo Classics|Royal Elephant Polo|Events|Contact Us
Royal family(Amber)Jaipur and its Association with polo

Raja Man Singh Ji of Amber, in the course of his stay in the courts of Emperor Akbar, had taken a very keen interest in Chougan. In Ain-e-Akbari, an extremely interesting account has been given of the game, especially in its form of night play with luminiscent balls. Abul Fazal Allami, the famous writer who was one of the 'Nine Gems' of Akbar's court, has portrayed Akbar as an accomplished player. "The Emperor", he elaborates, "Maintained polo sticks with knobs of gold and silver, and was capable of hitting equally well, both on an ordinarily rolling ball or on a difficult airborne one. There was music to be heard throughout the game. 'Nagaras' (a kind of drums) were played each time the ball was driven through the 'hal' (goal post). Whether this was done to announce the score, or to wake up those in the 'Zenana' (Ladies chamber) is another question !!! "

The rulers of Amber were known for their love of watching 'Tamashas' (games in which a variety of animals fought one another) and equestrian games. Many a Moghul miniature painting of the 'Surat Khana' of Amber-Jaipur actually shows men and women playing Chaugan on both horses and elephants. It may be surmised that the 'Maidan' ( playground ) or Chaugan of Amber has been much trodden upon under the hooves of the horses of Raja Man Singh-I, Raja Ram Singh-I, Raja Bishan Singh, Raja Jai Singh to name some of the illustrious sports enthusiasts. The astronomer prince, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh-I, who founded the Pink City (Present day Jaipur), is also known to have played Chaugan while visiting his father-in-law at Udaipur. He also built an elaborate Chaugan field right next to his majestic palace. All around, the field has lovely pavilions, galleries, a two-tier 'surang' (covered passages) and two floored 'Burj' (kiosks). One 'Burj' was build with blue pottery tiles, and is called the 'Cheenee Ki Burj'(Chinese Kiosk). The ' Zenana Burj' (for ladies) is covered with fantastic masonry 'Jalies' (lattices). The entire two-tier passage connecting these Burjs' has peep holes(for ladies)all along to view the games. The route to the "Gangori Darwaza" (entrance to the chaugan) and the parapet were other vantage points for the spectators/tourists. The 'maidan' can be seen in full glory and filled to capacity in some of the paintings which can be dated to around 1750.

With the advent of the Britishers, many rules were adopted. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh-II (1835-1880) adopted all these new changes. He was enamoured of outdoor and indoor games, horse riding and polo included. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singhji's interest in horses can be judged when we look at his personal riding dresses displayed at the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh-II Museum at The City Palace. Recently, two manuscripts on horses, written for him and profusely illustrated with miniature paintings by the scribes of his Pothi Khana and artists of his Surat Khana, have been discovered. They are 'Aswa Ratnakar' and ' Shalihotra'. Each of these manuscripts has over describes, in detail, the various types of horses, their training , their care, their common diseases and the remedies etc.

During the reign of Maharaja Sawai Madho Signh-II (1880-1922), Swinton Jacob, (The State Engineer, 1896) built a polo field measuring, 900 yards by 500 yards. Two maunds and twelve seers (about one hundred kilograms) of grass seeds were sown. The cost, at the turn of the century, was a mere Rs. 6,000. The field was inaugurated the following year with great pomp and show. It was on this field, and the polo grounds of the Mayo College Ajmer that the Late Maharaja Sawai Man Singh ji - II learnt the game. He found the grounds small, and not up to the mark. So, in 1930, he had another polo ground constructed.

The new grounds had the reputation of being as smooth as a billiard table. On this field, he trained the famous Jaipur polo team in the summer of 1933 for its victorious visit to England. And what a team! What a fearsome foursome! Here is an excerpt from ' The Tatler' of June 12,1933: " This team won the British Polo Championships at Hurligham, and all being well, the Maharaja intends to go for the open Championship in America. This Jaipur team is a very fast one indeed; a very hard hitting one with a string of both ends and, above all, a very fine shooting team with a predilection for bringing off 60 yarders from angles that often look impossible. In England, nothing has been able to stand up to it, and the best team America will produce will not be good enough."

His late Highness, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh built another 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.It includes a Youth Hostel, tracks for athletics, playing fields,floodlit international cricket ground and large open spaces for future expansion.

His Highness Maharaja Brig.Sawai Bhawani Singh Ji's association started with his birth in the royal family in 1931.He started his career with the Indian army and was rated as one of the finest players of polo even at IMA,dehradun.He is known to be the most prominent of promoters of modern day polo in India.His love and passion for the game is unparalleled and he also has the credit of organising some of the most renowned polo events and tournaments across the country.Due to his efforts and interest a number of foreign teams and internationally famous polo players have played here. His Royal Highness, the prince of Wales played in Jaipur in 1980 as well as in February,1992. Many foreign dignatories and head of the states including Miss Jacqueline Kennedy, The Presidents and Prime ministers of U.S.S.R. & India, Princes Diana have also witnessed various polo matches at Jaipur.

Today,Maharaj Narendra Singh Ji (FIP Ambassador from india), the Son In Law of the present Maharaja, His Highness Brig. Sawai Bhawani Singh Ji, officers of the Indian Army and players from across the country, play polo on the ground of Rambagh Polo ground.As a spectator sport, this game is very popular with the public of Jaipur, who flock to the Rambagh Polo Ground's during the polo season.

Home | About Us | Photo Gallery | Royal family Jaipur and its Association with polo | Polo Classics |
Royal Elephant polo | Polo activities | Social responsibility | Events | Contact Us