ELEPHANT POLO – surely India’s silliest sport

Where's the ball? Nobody seems to be able to find it, let alone take a swing at it.

Where’s the ball? Nobody seems to be able to find it, let alone take a swing at it.

Dribble the ball down the wing, get behind the defence, then slam a pass across the face of goal for the striker to tap in.

I know the tactics from many years as a hockey player. Apparently my elephant does not.

They’re supposed to be intelligent and able to run much faster than I can if they want to. Getting them to want to is the problem.

Jaipur, the pink city, is colourful enough at the best of times. Our hosts have tried to make it even more exciting by adding a game of polo to the day’s programme.

First, the pageantry.

The polo field is ready for us behind the palace.

The polo field is ready for us behind the palace.

Choose your mount - red team or blue team.

Choose your mount – red team or blue team.

The camels have nothing whatever to do with the game.

The camels have nothing whatever to do with the game.

Neither do the horses, or the guys blowing horns.

Neither do the horses, or the guys blowing horns.

Then the game starts.

If you would kindly get your feet out of the way, sir, I might be able to give this ball a whack.

What’s the elephant language for, ‘Get your bloody feet out of the way while I give this ball a whack’?

'Get back in cover defence,  you idiot!'

‘Get back in cover defence, you idiot!’

Final Score: Red 1, Blue 2.

Does anybody care?

Indeed they do. Having set up Red team with a 1-0 lead, I found it most disappointing that we weren’t able to defend it. I’m not likely to ever play this stupid game ever again. No wonder it’s never made it to the Olympics.

Too late to worry about it now…

A whole pipe band is there to celebrate the end of the match...

A whole pipe band is there to celebrate the end of the match…

...and real Jaipur is waiting for us just outside the palace gates.

…and real Jaipur is waiting for us just outside the palace gates.



The writer was the guest of Railbookers and travelled to Jaipur on the Maharajas Express Heritage of India tour.

5 Comments

Filed under India

5 responses to “ELEPHANT POLO – surely India’s silliest sport

  1. An incredible experience, love the pageantry.

  2. Surely that’s a soccer ball and you’re supposed to be using that stick to encourage the elephant to kick it.

  3. Congratulations on scoring a goal

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