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Jodhpur Polo

The 20th Jodhpur Polo season 2019 will begin at Maharaja Gaj Singh Sports Foundation Polo Ground, Air Force Road, Pabupura, from November 25 to December 30 under the auspices of Jodhpur Polo and Equestrian Institute, Jodhpur.

It’s a matter of pride and honour to bring you the eighth edition of Jodhpur Polo.  This year’s articles  are eclectic and appealing; you will note a sea change in the variety of stories we have to offer our readers.

A befitting accolade within the pages is penned to living legends Maj. ZK Wadia and Col RS ‘Pickles’ Sodhi; it brings back nostalgia and a longing for the days of yore when these Heroes on Horseback brought fame and glory to the Nation and to Polo!

We have a glimpse into the lives of the dad-daughter polo player duos who share a bond that is beyond biological. Read about how these hands-on dads are grooming their daughters to take on the big boys on the polo field and stake a claim as female power comes to the divot!

A befitting tribute is paid within the pages to Mayo College- that proverbial cradle of polo in India, which has nurtured players past and present for decades and continues to attract talent to the polo field.

Jodhpur Polo thanks Bapji for his abiding presence with the sport of polo as well as the Magazine; over the past few decades he has given us his unrelenting support and we are very grateful to him

Enjoy the stories and write some of your own!

Cheers to horsing ’round!

20th JODHPUR POLO SEASON

From the paleolithic paintings of the Chauvet cave to Tolkein’s shadow fax, horses have played a central role in mankind’s legends, cultures and myths. Whether it is the story of ‘Uchchaihshravas’, the wondrous king of horses that rose from legendary churning of the sea by the gods and demons. Allegorically, in the Hindu scriptures the symbol of the horse is often used to represent a force that carries another force, as the horse supports its riders. Human fascination with horses dates back to our cavemen ancestors or maybe even beyond. No other creature has shaped the history of man like that of the horse. From the first horse that labored for man to the most precise event winner, the loyalty, power and strength of character have the horse ranking high marks of honour and admiration with man. The beauty, elegance and spirit of the horse are a source of inspiration. They abound in the stories that man has carried with him through time. The horse easily wins a special seat in the history and naturally it has figured strongly in our stories.  And the with our annual Jodhpur Polo Season under the aegis of HH Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II, ponies and polo have become a staple for the year end.

ARENA POLO MATCHES

HERMES CUP, Arena Polo (2 Goals) 25th November – 29th November 2019,

Hermes Cup inaugurated the 20th Jodhpur Polo Season. The Finals for the coveted cup played in the Arena Polo format, and was battled out between Hermes Cubs dressed in orange jerseys and Hermes Colts dressed in black jerseys.  The event was elegantly graced with the performance of the Mehrangarh Fort Band, cheerfully welcoming the crowd.

Mr. Pep Singh and Bh. Raghvendra Singh were the umpires and Col. Umaid Singh was the referee for the match. Th. Abhijeet Singh Rohet was the commentator for the day.

The Team composition of the finalists was-

HERMES COLTS- Vinay Mewara -2, R.K. Kartikeya Singh +1, R.K. Janmejai Singh +1, Kr. Dhananjay Singh Rathore +2

HERMES CUBS-  Sharwan Singh -2, Bh. Nikhlendra Singh ±0, Bh. Hemendra Singh ±0,  Nicholas Scortichini +3

The Finals for Hermes Arena Polo had the young guns of the sport put up a magnificent spectacle for all to watch. The match started with 0.5 goal advantage for Hermes Cubs, but it was R.K Kartikeya Singh

playing for Colts who controlled the narrative of the match as he registered two goals for his team in the first chukker. Matching the aggression was Bh. Hemendra Singh for Cubs as he scored a single, soon followed by another single by Nicholas Schortichini. The first chukker closed with a narrow margin with Colts at 2 and Cubs at 2.5.

Hermes Cubs widened the lead as brother duo Bh. Nikhlendra and Bh. Hemendra added three goals to the total, placing Cubs at 5.5 goals as Colts remained stationary at 2 goals at the end of the second chukker.

The third chukker had the Colts pick up momentum as R.K Kartikeya Singh converted two delightful passes forwarded by the elder brother R.K. Janmejai Singh into goals as Mr. Vinay Mewara added another running goal to close the gap for the Colts. Cubs were unable to score in the third chukker.

Chukker 3- Hermes Colts- 5 Vs Hermes Cubs– 5.5

The deciding chukker of the match, started with Sharwan Singh scoring a single for Cubs as Bh. Hemendra Singh added two magnificent goals taking his team to a clear victory. The Final scores settled Hermes Colts- 5 Vs Hermes Cubs– 8.5 Olaf Gurrand Hermes with his family and H.H. Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur graced the felicitations to award the trophy and prizes to the winning and runner up teams

JODHPUR POLO CUP (4 Goals) 30th November – 4th December 2019,

There were six teams (Jodhpur Cubs, Jodhpur Tigers, Balsamand, Mehrangarh, Mayo and Gohilwad) that threw in their hat for the title of the winners of Jodhpur Polo Cup, Arena Polo. The finals however were played amongst Team Mehrangarh and Team Mayo.

Playing with a .5 lead, Team Mehrangarh scored a total of 10.5 goals as opposed to 2 goals by Team Mayo.

Playing for Team Mehrangarh, R.K Janmejai Singh was the top scorer for the team as he registered a total of 6 goals, maintaining the pressure on the opponent team.

UMAID BHAWAN PALACE CUP (4 Goals) 5th December – 9th December 2019,

The Finals of the Umaid Bhawan Palace Cup was played between Umaid Bhawan Palace and Mayo College at Maharaja Gaj Singh Sports Foundation Polo Ground, Jodhpur as the Mehrangarh Band welcomed the audience belting out melodious music. The players were introduced by Mr. Ankur Mishra, the commentator for the match as Mayo College in yellow jerseys were ready to take on Umaid Bhawan Palace in orange jerseys.

MAYO COLLEGE– Mr. Heervijay Singh/ Mr. Kushraj Singh -2, Mr. Pep Singh ±0, 0 Kr. Vishwaraj Singh Bhati +1

UMAID BHAWAN PALACE– Mr. Vinay Mewara/ Mr. Sharwan Singh -2 Bh. Hemendra Singh ± 0, R.K. Janmejai Singh +1

The finals for the cup was a one-sided match tilting in favour of Team Umaid Bhawan Palace from the get go. The first chukker opened with Bh. Hemendra Singh scoring within the first few minutes and R.K Janmejai Singh adding a hat-trick.  Kr. Vishwaraj Singh from Team Mayo tackled through to score the opening goal for Mayo College. The first chukker scorecard stood at: Umaid Bhawan Palace- 4 Vs Mayo College – 1

R.K Janmejai Singh, scored another hat-trick in the second chukker as he widened the lead between the teams.  For Mayo College, Vishwaraj Singhscored a hat-trick as he added to the scorecard. At the close of the second chukker the scores were,  Umaid Bhawan Palace- 7 Vs Mayo College – 4

The third chukker and the fourth chukker was dominated by Team Umaid Bhawan Palace as, Vinay Mewara playing as a substitution for Sharwan Singh and scored two goals and Bh. Hemendra Singh displaying aggressive game play went on to score six goals converting accurate pass shot pass shots by R.K Janmejai Singh.  Keeping the fight alive was Vishwaraj Singh as he scored one goal for Mayo College winding the third chukker at score:  Umaid Bhawan Palace- 15 Vs Mayo College – 5

R.K Janmejai Singh started off the fourth and final chukker with a early goal and went on to score three more goals as the chukker progressed. Heervijay Singh the young Mayoite scored an elegant goal for his team with Pep Singh adding another one for Mayo College. The final scoreboard was: Chukker 4 Umaid Bhawan Palace- 19 Vs Mayo College – 7

H.H. Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur and Mr. Melvyn Seldanher, G.M., Umaid Bhawan Palace graced the post-match presentation ceremony and awarded the trophy and prizes to the winners and the runner’s up team.

EXHIBITION MATCHES

MAJ. TH. SARDAR SINGH JASOL MEMORIAL CUP (ARENA POLO) EXHIBITION MATCH 8th December 2019,

Maj. Th. Sardar Singhji Jasol Memorial Cup Arena Polo was played as a one-day exhibition match at Maharaja Gaj Singh Sports Foundation Polo Ground, Jodhpur. Apji Vijai Singh, the commentator for the match introduced Mayo College in yellow jerseys taking on Gohilwad in violet.

Mayo College–  Heervijay Singh/ Mr. Kushraj Singh -2, Pep Singh ±0, Kr. Vishwaraj Singh Bhati +1

Gohilwad –  Mehmud Ali Khan -2,  Bh. Nikhlendra Singh ±0 ,  Jaiveer Sinh Gohil ±0

The match started with a +0.5-handicap lead for Gohilwad. Bh. Nikhlendra Singh started the chukker in style for Gohilwad as he scored a hattrick aptly supported by Jaiveer Sinh Gohil as he added his single to the tally. Keeping the competition alive for

Mayo was Pep Singh and Heervijay as they added single’s each winding the first chukker at – Mayo College- 2 Vs Gohilwad- 4.5

The second chukker was wound down with both the teams only adding single to their respective totals.  Chukker 2 Mayo College- 3 Vs Gohilwad- 5.5

The pace of the game picked up in the third and the fourth chukker as Bh. Nikhlendra Singh scored another hat-trick with Mehmud Ali adding one to the lead. Not to be left far behind Kr. Vishwaraj Singh two goals in the third chukker and adding another two in the final chukker. He was enthusiastically supported by team mate Pep Singh as he added two goals to the scorecard.

But Gohilwad had their eyes set on the final trophy as Bh.Nikhlendra Singh and Jaiveer Sinh Gohil both scored one goal each to set up the victory for Gohilwad as the final scores had Gohilwad overpowering Mayo College by 11.5 goals to 9 to claim the Maj. Th. Sardar Singhji Memorial Cup Arena Polo. The final scoreboard was: Chukker 4 Mayo College- 9 Vs Gohilwad- 11.5

H.H. Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur graced the post-match presentation ceremony and awarded the trophy and prizes to the winners and the runner’s up team.

ARMY COMMANDERS CUP 16th December 2019,

The Army Commanders Cup was played between Teams Jodhpur Central Academy and SUJAN

Team Jodhpur Central Academy was represented on the field by – Shubham Gupta -2, R.K. Janmejai Singh +1, Syed Basheer Ali +4, Dhruvpal Godara +5.

As Team SUJAN comprised- Akash Tibrewal-2, Dhananjay Chaudhary +1, Brad Mallet +3, Simran Singh Shergill +6

 

The all-star match was perfect in its recipe of providing the most scintillating match of the day. The very first chukker set the tone of the match as the Teams refused to allow each other a considerable head start. The scores till the 3rd chukker were just one goal apart, with SUJAN at 4 goals and Jodhpur Central Academy at 3. The clincher for the coveted cup was scored by Dhananjay Choudhary as he scored two goals in the third chukker and adding another single in the fourth chukker as Brad Mallet scored a single translating it to a win for Team SUJAN

The final scoreboard was: Chukker 4 Jodhpur Central Academy- 6 Vs SUJAN-8 Lt. Gen. S.K. Saini, AVSM, YSM, VSM, GOC-in-C, Southern Command, Jodhpur Sub Area and H.H. Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur graced the presentation ceremony and awarded the Army Commander’s Cup to the winning Team SUJAN and prizes to the runner up team.

THE ABU SEIR CUP 22nd December 2019,

The Abu Seir Cup, Exhibition Match was played between Abu Seir Colts and Abu Seir Cubs at the Maharaja Gaj Singh Sports Foundation Polo Ground, Jodhpur. Presented by Farouk Younes, F.I.P. Ambassador of Egypt, the Cup draws huge attraction from the players and spectators alike.

Dressed in yellow jerseys Abu Seir Colts comprised- Kr. Vikramaditya Singh Barkana ±0, Jaiveer Sinh Gohil ±0, Syed Basheer Ali +4, Abhimanyu Pathak +5

As Abu Seir Cubs donned white jerseys and played with – Lokendra Singh ±0 Syed Hurr Ali ±0, Kuldeep Singh +2,  Dhruvpal Godara +5

The match started with a +1.5-handicap lead for Abu Seir Cubs and Colts found it difficult to overcome the difference till the very end. Both the teams displayed an excellent attacking game till the last chukker.

Dhruvpal Godara’s brace in the fourth and the final chukker sealed the match in favour of Team Abu Seir Cubs.

The final scoreboard was: Abu Seir Colts- 6 Vs Abu Seir Cubs- 6.5.

H.H. Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur graced the post-match presentation ceremony and awarded the trophy and prizes to the winners and the runner up team.

H.H MAHARAJA HANWANT SINGH CYCLE POLO 24th December – 25th December 2019,

HH Maharaja Hanwant Singh Cycle Polo made the Christmas Day merrier as the Teams Warriors and Knights put up a unique exhibition match.

Donning white Warriors were represented by- Deepak Kumar, Vijai Kant Nayak, Pramod Kumar, Pep Singh

While Knights in black jerseys were represented by – Mahendra Nayak, Dhiraj Nayak, Jeetu, R.K. Kartikeya Singh

The unique and entertaining exhibition match was won by Warriors as they established a wide lead from the first chukker with Vijai Kant Nayak scoring a hattrick and Pramod Kumar adding a brace taking the scores to 5 goals to a Nil by Knights.

As the third chukker came around Warriors had added two more goals to the tally and Dhiraj Nayak and Jeetu opened the scoreboard for Knights and placed the Team at 3 goals Vs 7 by Warriors.

The fourth and final chukker had R.K. Kartikeya Singh scoring one goal for the Knights as the match wound down with Warriors victorious. HH Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur and Col. Umaid Singh, Hony. Secretary, Jodhpur Polo & Equestrian Club Institution, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur presented the awards and trophy to the winning and runner up teams.

BHANWAR BAIJILAL VAARA RAJYE POLO CUP 25th December 2019, 

The second exhibition match Bhanwar Baijilal Vaara Rajye Polo Cup was battled between The Power Puffs and Frozen Blues.

Representing The Power Puffs were H.H. Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur +3, Emilio Urra Kirby +4, Abhimanyu Pathak +5, Gerardo Mazzini +6 and

Frozen Blues played with Angad Kalaan +3, Siddhant Sharma +4, Daniel Otamendi +5,  Dhruvpal Godara +5

The match was rolled into play by the Princess of Jodhpur Bhanwar Baijilal Vaare Rajye and with HH Jaipur Padmanabh Singh Ji initiating the scoreboard for Power Puffs. Adding to it was Gerardo Mazzini as he scored the second by converting a 30 yard penalty by a direct hit as Pacho added the third one for their team. Frozen Blues remained goalless at the end of the first chukker.

Gerrado Mazzini started the second chukker with a goal scored through a direct shot from an acute angle from the goal post. Frozen Blues managed to wring in two goals as Dhruvpal Godara converted a 30-yard penalty and Angad Kalan adding his single to the tally.  Chukker 2 The Power Puffs- 4 Vs Frozen Blues- 2

Team Frozen Blues managed to shrink the lead of the opponents in the third chukker as Angad Kalan, Sidhant Sharma and Dhruvpal Godara scored one goal each. The third chukker ended with Team Frozen Blue deficit of one goal.

The last chukker of the match had both the Teams on equal footing as Dhruvpal Godara scored an equalizer for Frozen Blues, but HH Maharaja of Jaipur Padmanabh Singh Ji turned the match in favour of his Team The Power Puffs as he scored a goal to lead his team to victory. The final scores had-

The Power Puffs- 8 Vs Frozen Blues- 6

LADIES POLO CUP 29th December – 30th December 2019,

Jodhpur International Ladies Polo Cup Exhibition Match was played between the Jodhpur Blues in bright blue jerseys and Pink Beret in pink jerseys.

JODHPUR BLUES played with- Ms. Divyakriti Singh -2, Ms. Raya Sidorenko -1, Ms. Delfino Balsano +1, Mr. Gerado Mazzini +6

PINK BERET played with- Ms. Lisa Franziska -2, Ms. Sanya Suhag -1, Ms. Clara Casino +2, Mr. Samir Suhag +5

The match was played with an intensity that was interesting to watch. Both the teams were determined win the coveted cup. While Team Pink Beret enjoyed a lead of two goals till the third chukker, a brace by Delfina Balsano in the last chukker, equalized the scoring for the teams, ending the match in a draw with 5 all.

HH Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II graced the occasion and felicitated the joint winners. Ms Clara Casino was awarded the Best lady Player of the Season and was gifted the Frederique Constant’s timepiece.

HIGH GOAL MATCHES 

H.H MAHARAJA OF JODHPUR CUP (8 Goals) 13th December- 18th December 2019,

The High Goal HH Maharaja of Jodhpur Cup Tournament saw participation from 7 Teams, but it was Teams Rajnigandha Achievers and SUJAN battling it out in the Finals. Rajnigandha Achievers and SUJAN were welcomed on the field by melodious performance by Mehrangarh Band

Rajnigandha Achievers were represented by- Sangram Singh -2, Kuldeep Singh +2 , H.H. Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur +3, Daniel Otamendi +5.

SUJAN fielded- Akash Tibrewal-2, Dhananjay Chaudhary +1, Brad Mallet +3 , Simran Singh Shergill +6

The finals for the tournament cup was a one-sided match tilting in favour of Rajnigandha Achievers as they dominated the scoreboard till the second chukker. Daniel Otamendi and Pacho kept adding to the tally, and it was only in the second chukker when Simran Shergill opened the scoring for SUJAN.

Scores at the end of the second chukker were-

Rajnigandha Achievers- 4

SUJAN- 1

Rajnigandha Achievers went on a scoring spree in the third chukker as Kuldeep Singh scored two goals and Pacho and Daniel Otamendi added one goal each, taking the final scores to 8 goals for Achievers. The play finesse by Achievers proved difficult for SUJAN to get in there and score as the scoreboard for them remained stationary at 1 goal.

The last and the Final Chukker remained goalless for both the Teams, but Achievers enjoying a substantial lead claimed victory.

The final scoreboard was:  Rajnigandha Achievers- 8 Vs SUJAN- 1

HH Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur and Maharaja Daivat Singh of Sirohi, presented the Finals Trophy and prizes to the winning and the runners up teams.

RAJPUTANA & CENTRAL INDIA CUP (10 Goals) 19th December- 24th December 2019

The Rajputana & Central India Cup (10 Goals) sponsored by Cello World was played from 19th December to 24th  December, at Maharaja Gajsingh Sports Foundation Polo Ground, Jodhpur, under the 20th Jodhpur Polo Season, 2019. The tournament commenced with Mehrangarh band welcoming the spectators and teams with the classic Padharo Mhare Desh folk music. There were six teams in the fray but it was Sahara Warriors and SUJAN that played in the grand finals.

Dressed in white Sahara Warriors played with Amer Randhawa -2, Kuldeep Singh +2, Syed Basheer Ali +4, Daniel Otamendi +5 and

SUJAN fielded Bh. Nikhlendra Singh ±0 Mr. Dhananjay Chaudhary +1, Brad Mallet +3, Simran Singh Shergill +6, dressed in blue jerseys.

The match started with a +0.5-goal advantage for Sahara Warriors as Lt Gen V.S Sreenivas, VSM BAR GOC HQ 12 CORPS threw in the ball to start the match.  Promising to be an enthralling match the first chukker started with Daniel Otamendi scoring the opener for the Warriors.

The first chukker set the pace of the match as Daniel Otamendi scored the opener for the Team and soon after converting a 30-yard penalty awarded to Warriors in the wake of a foul by Team SUJAN.  Brad Mallet from Team SUJAN opened the scoring for the team as the scores at the end of the first chukker were.  SUJAN- 1 Vs Sahara Warriors – 2.5.

The second chukker saw both the teams scoring equally. Simran Singh Shergill and Brad Mallet scored for SUJAN while Daniel Otamendi and youngster Amer Randhawa scored for Warriors.

Chukker 2 SUJAN- 3 Vs Sahara Warriors – 4.5

Mrs. Rathore, sponsor of Cello World opened the third chukker with throwing in the ball. Taking command of the field, Simran Singh Shergill converted a 60 yard penalty with a long and direct hit, following it up with a magnificent acute angle shot scoring a second goal. Shergill completed his Hattrick as he scored a third goal of the chukker, placing the team in the lead.

The decider chukker for the match was truly nail biting as Kuldeep Singh and Simran Singh Shergill both scored for Team SUJAN, but Daniel Otamendi from Team Sahara refused to give up till he last minute as scored right before the hooter went off.

The crowd was delighted to witness an enthralling match and applauded both the teams for putting on their A-game with Warriors surmounting SUJAN at a final score of 7.5 goals to 7 claiming the trophy. The final scoreboard was: SUJAN- 7 Vs Sahara Warriors – 7.5

Lt. Gen. V.S. Sreenivas, VSM GOC HQ 12 Corps, Mrs. Rathore and Mrs. Bhachoo, Cello World Sponsors and H.H. Maharaja Gaj Singh Ji II of Jodhpur were the eminent guests for the day and magnified the felicitation ceremony by awarding the winning trophy and prizes to the winning team, runner up team the umpires, referee and the commentators for the match.

The never-ending influence the horse bestows upon the world’s cultures leaves man with feelings of respect, value and affection. The Polo Season’s across the country and especially Jodhpur Polo Season is a testament to the celebration of the bond that the rider and the pony enjoy. The victories are as much a part of the rider’s history as that of the pony. We applaud the loyal beast for giving us these moments to cherish and enjoy.

Blue City Bazaar

If the words, rummage, swap, bargain and collectibles excite you then some retail therapy in the rocky outcrops and golden sands of the Marwar Region of Jodhpur is a must explore .  Every little shop here has a story to tell through interesting insights about life in this region of Rajasthan.

The markets of Jodhpur are an eclectic mix that meet both the approval of the flea market shoppers to the bespoke tailored clientele.

Just as the history of the city is seeped with grandeur, so are its market by-lanes. The market of the Blue City has a memory to share with each of their own traditional wares starting with Jodhpur’s modern centre with the heart of the Old City -Sardar Market, where a hubbub of the bustling bazaar is tucked beneath the landmark clock tower. The Ghanta Ghar as it is colloquially called is also the Jodhpur version of Janpath Market in New Delhi, the National Capital. The market is a home ground for people that travel from afar to sell the handmade goods- It’s a haven for junk jewelry collectors. The pieces available here are unique and represent the jewelry mostly adorned by the ladies of Marwar, from thimaniya’s (chokers) to kamarbands (waist bands) -you get it all. The lanes also nestle a cosy corner laden with artifacts made from clay and bamboo, appealing to the more eco-aware among us.

The serpentine streets of the town and hustling markets provide a lifetime of experience. The city, rich in architecture and culture heritage, is also the home of ethnic art and crafts.

Jodhpur has lately emerged as a hub of wooden artistic furniture and handicrafts.

The uniqueness of handicrafts of the town has led the world to the fantasy of its rich cultural heritage. Because of the artistic and ornate craftsmanship which do not have parallel the world over, the masterpieces of handicrafts of Jodhpur, while preserving the centuries old traditions and legacy, have carved out an important niche in the highly competitive international mercantile.

Jodhpur is a treasure trove for connoisseur’s of handicrafts and artistic wooden furniture. It is a delight to come across shop after shop  filled with one-of-a-kind pieces – starting from grand doors, benches, chairs, columns, ceiling panels to other striking accessories and much more. Most of the semi-antique elements have been given new life by the addition of modern inlay and overlay work.

The handwoven Dhurrie or Rugs are another speciality of Jodhpur,  and the small hamlets around the city supply some of the best rugs in the world. From soft silk threads Resham to rugs made from camel hair, they as indigenous as it gets. For the more artistic among us, on display are colourful patch work wall hangings, all painstakingly woven  together to make one big patchwork display.

Blink and you will miss this, 150 years old nondescript shop of the Royal  Lakhare’s (Royal glass bangle seller) but they are 6 generations into the business now. Bibaji Churiwala’s crystal bangles adorns the petite wrist of the ladies of every Rajasthan royal from Marwar to Mewar to Shekhawati. There is an interesting story about how the name Bibaji came about. During the days of the yore, men were not allowed inside the women quarters of the Royal houses. The grandfather of the current head of the family used to accompany his mother known as Bibiji when he was a kid. The women folk used to lovingly call him Bibaji and that’s how the name stayed on. Listen to many such wonderful stories as you browse through their impressive collection of bangles which they are happy to display with lots of zest and affection.

Jodhpur, remains the playground of the rich. Palaces, forts, deserts and even a bit of hunting is part of the course, but the real secret of this city is a comely gentleman called Mohammed Tayeb Khan- the superstar of the Blue City.

Tayeb Khan (and his father Hassan before him) makes the finest leheriyas in the city. The leheriya is a dyeing technique where a piece of chiffon is rope-tied and then dipped in dye, resulting in wave-like lines across the fabric. It is a rather simple process, loved only because its bright colours stand out in arid deserts. Tayeb has “invented” the shaded leheriya, where the chiffon is first shaded in multiple colours and then tied to dye.

He also cleverly indulges in pearly pastels, making them as glamorous as they are rooted. There are also shaded mukaish (silver spotted chiffons), and bandhanis (dotted tie-dyes where the quality is measured by the smallness.

The tall and rugged Pathan is also the  recipient of the Padma Shri, the President’s award and his contributions as a craftsman

are immense, and an astute businessman too. He doesn’t sell from a store, by choice. You have to know someone who knows him and can invite him (which is practically the whole city). He visits Mumbai and Delhi a few times each year, but only his inner circle hears of it. He has turned him himself into quite a local legend, who delivers the best product and demands the best price.

Apart from the colourful and happy lehariya’s and bandhej’s, Jodhpur is also quite well known for its jutti’s and mojari’s ,and there are several happy finds in the never ending yet exhilarating lanes of Makrana Mohalla of Jodhpur.

From leather juttis or mojaris  that celebrates the culmination of two cultures, the authentic Jodhpur Kadai (needle and thread embellishment) and the Punjabi Jutti.

Diamonds are truly a girls best friends and in some cases, semi-precious stones are too and while in Jodhpur it would be difficult to miss the many bespoke jewellery store in the city, that boasts of clientele like Richard Gere, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and much more recently Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

The exclusive Jewellery stores in the city are  famous for their hand craftmanship and wide array of traditional and Victorian designs. If you looking for authentic traditional polki (un-cut diamonds) designs or a an elegant Victorian design, then the popular jewellery stores are a must visit.

The air of royalty still envelopes the city like a spell cast in time. But don’t let this aura influence your understanding of Jodhpur only as a royal remnant. Take a walk along the alleys of the city and a whole new world of culinary delights will welcome you in myriad flavours and aromas. Jodhpur cuisines are all about spice, chilly and a rich repertoire of sweets and the best place to enjoy them are the local eateries and food joints.

You haven’t truly tasted the flavours of Jodhpur unless you get your hands on the varied assortment of kachoris, which are a hit among tourists and locals alike. Of these, the onion kachori (or pyaaz ki kachori) and mawa kachori are to die for! If you are looking for that perfect balance of crispness, richness of textures and a dose of traditional taste. Mirchi badaa, another specialty, is not for the faint-hearted as it will test your ability to consume a full-grown green chilly. The chilly is marinated in gram flour, before it is deep- fried in oil. So, when it reaches your plate it looks like a normal pakora but only with a raging chilly inside! Dip it in either mint chutney or tamarind syrup and let the heat set fire to your senses.

if you are in the market around the Clock Tower, we suggest you to hunt for some makhaniya lassi. It’s the famous creamy drink made with curd, cardamom and saffron, and is nothing less than a sinful indulgence for the sweet tooth.

No discussion on Jodhpur food will be complete if laal maans does not get a frontline mention. A mutton curry prepared in typical Rajasthani style, laal maans is synonymous to Jodhpur and is easily available in any eatery of the city. A prized item in almost all the high-end resturants of the city, laal maans is equally popular and easily available on the streets.

This city of Marwar has several reasons to be a key destination for the international jet setters, and one of the finest ways to experience the history of the city and its cultures is to travel through its bazaar’s as we never know, which unique piece of memory we may carry with us back.

Happy Shopping!

Jean-Francois Decaux’s Next Generation 14-12 victory over Dillon Bacon’s Les Lions/Great Oaks in the King Power Gold Cup final was an historic match in more ways than one.  The winners included 10-goal maestro Adolfo Cambiaso and, for the first time at this level of polo, his son, Poroto, who was to set a new record in the process.

Poroto, aged fourteen, became the youngest player ever to win the tournament: a record held since 1991 by his father, who won the first of his eight British Opens, with Tramontana, at the age of sixteen.  The latest edition was also the second victory for patron Decaux (his first had been in 2009 with La Bamba de Areco) and for pivot Diego Cavanagh, whose first came with Dubai in 2014. 

The final was very much a family affair. Not only did Adolfo Cambiaso have his son at his side but the opposing line-up was based around the 14-goal combination of his nephews, Bartolito and Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola.  On the eve of  the match, Adolfo had expressed his pleasure at the way the tournament had developed. ‘The chance of sharing a final with my son is priceless, and I am very proud to play against my nephews.  All three of them are dedicated to polo.’

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, only eight teams contested the tournament, including Australian patron’s David Paradice’s Scone Polo, who reached the semi-finals last season and also won the 2019 Queen’s Cup at Guards.  Gold Cup holders Dubai did not return to defend their title, but there were more young British players to be seen in action than for many seasons. They included Zac Beim and Will Harper, both sons of leading professionals, who had been recruited by Andrey Borodin for Park Place Vaara.  Borodin himself played in his second team, Park Place, where he was joined by the 19-goal combination of brothers Facundo and Gonzalo Pieres, backed up ably by 3-goal Kian Hall.  Facundo was one of only three 10-goal players appearing in the tournament, the others being Hilario Ulloa, in Park Place Vaara colours, and Adolfo Cambiaso.

The Gold Cup opened the high-goal Triple Crown season, rather than coming between the Queen’s Cup and Warwickshire Cup, as in previous years; also being played, certainly for the first time in its sixty-six year history, without spectators, in line with government restrictions on movement.

Following quarter-finals victories, both of  Borodin’s teams gained a place in the semi-finals,almost certainly another record at Cowdray.  In the match for the Ellerston Cup, Park Place Vaara met Next Generation, who dominated the first half, at the end of which they were leading 8-5.  However, the ‘next generation’ of  British polo, Beim and Harper, helped their side back into the game, in the fourth chukka reducing the difference to a single goal.  As players entered the final chukka, Park Place Vaara led 11-10.   It was due largely to the efforts of  Diego Cavanagh, replacing an injured David Stirling, that Next Generation rode out the winners, 13-11. Cavanagh had been playing earlier in the tournament for first-time contestants Polo Stud Schockemohle.  Most Valuable Player was Poroto Cambiaso and Best Playing Pony Duet, owned by Stirling and ridden by Cavanagh.

The second semi-final, played for the Tramontana Cup, was a much closer-fought encounter between Les Lions/Great Oaks and Park Place. Throughout the first half, Park Place maintained a constant, if narrow, advantage; and it was not until the final chukka that Les Lions/Great Oaks seized an opportunity to redress the balance, so gaining their place in the final by just one goal, 10-9.  Jeta Castagnola was Most Valuable Player, while Lovelocks Illusive, ridden by Gonzalo Pieres and owned by Andrey Borodin, was Best Playing Pony.

And so to the final. Next Generation had the edge on Les Lions/Great Oaks from the opening chukka although, apart from the fourth chukka, by rarely more than two goals. Adolfo Cambiaso opened the account for Next Generation, followed quickly by his son, who played a crucial role in maintaining an advantage. Santiago Laborde gave Les Lions new hope in the third chukka, and while on the half-time bell Next Generation still had a 7-5 lead, the second half an apparent change in dynamics.  Les Lions rode on the offensive, in the fourth chukka equalising 7-7 from a penalty shot and a field goal.

Their luck, however, was not to hold. They gave away too many penalty shots, not least within the final four minutes of the game, enabling Next Generation to regain and maintain their lead, and thus a 14-12 victory. There was again invaluable play by Diego Cavanagh, who scored seven of Next Generation’s goals.  Most Valuable Player was Adolfo Cambiaso and Best Playing Pony was Small Axe, owned and ridden by Dillon Bacon.

Next Generation: Jean-Francois Decaux (0), Poroto Cambiaso (4), Diego Cavanagh (8), Adolfo Cambiaso (10).

Les Lions/Great Oaks: Dillon Bacon (2), Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola (7), Bartolito Castagnola (7), Santiago Laborde (6).

The diamond jubilee edition of the Queen’s Cup, sponsored once more by Cartier, at Guards Polo Club saw a 9-8 victory for Les Lions/Great Oaks over Park Place in extra time. The nail-biting final saw two extremely well-matched teams line up to contest this coveted trophy.  For Les Lions/Great Oaks, Dillon Bacon had recruited brothers Bartolito and Camilo ‘Jeta’ Castagnola, who play off 8 and 7-goals respectively, and 6-goaler Santiago Laborde.  Andrey Borodin’s Park Place were also based around two brothers – the 19-goal combination of Facundo and Gonzalito Pieres – supported by 3-goal Will Harper.

The cup was presented to the club by Her Majesty in 1960, when the inaugural tournament was won by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild’s yellow and blue-shirted Centaurs.  Over the course of sixty years it has only once been cancelled:  in 2001, due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. 

This year, of course, restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic were in place, as a result of which the tournament was played without spectators.  Nevertheless, ten teams took part,  eight of them having been in action in the British Open Championship; the other two, making their debut, were Siri Bazzoni’s MT Vikings and Segavas, put together by Luke Wiles. The Vikings line-up included England national captain, 7-goal James Beim, and Sebastian Merlos, one of only four 10-goal players to take part in the tournament.  John Paul Clarkin, New Zealand’s top professional, was in Segavas colours. 

One of the most extraordinary matches of the tournament saw Andrey Borodin’s second team, Park Place Vaara, defeat Les Lions-Great Oaks, 11-10.  Remarkable was not only the fact that Park Place Vaara had lost all their preceding games but that neither side scored until the third chukka.  Then, however, 8-goal Juan Britos and his young team-mate, 4-goal Tommy Marin Moreno, set the pace for the winners, by the end of the match having scored five and four goals respectively.  The margin was always close; the last goal coming from a penalty conversion by Les Lions/Great Oaks’ 19-year-old Bartolito Castagnola in the sixth chukka.  Despite valiant efforts, the score remained at 11-10, Park Place Vaara thus gaining a well-earned, if surprising, place in the subsidiary quarter-finals. 

The semi-finals for the Queen’s Cup were delayed for twenty-four hours when torrential rain created an interlude in one of the longest heatwaves of  recent years.  The first match was a close-run affair between Les Lions/Great Oaks and Thai Polo – a team playing well this season and based around 6-goaler Tommy Beresford, who represents the sixth generation of Europe’s oldest polo dynasty.  Thai Polo received two goals on handicap and by half-time the score was level, 5-5. Returning to the field, Les Lions/Great Oaks gained a 7-5 advantage but Thai Polo remained on top form, tying 9-9 in the sixth chukka and thus sending the game into extra time, allowing the Castangola brothers the narrowest possible victory, 10-9.  Seven of those winning goals were sent between the posts by 17-year-old Jeta Castagnola.

The second semi-final, between Park Place and holders Scone Polo, was a complete contrast to the first.  Scone were completely overwhelmed from the opening chukka, in which Park Place took a 3-0 lead and retained control of the game until the end.  Excellent team work saw them go into double figures, 11-5, in the penultimate chukka, and while Scone were to add another three goals of their own, the outcome was never in doubt.  With a closing score of 14-8, Park Place had gained their place in the final.

The final was in many ways a rematch of the Prince of Wales Trophy, earlier in the season, in which Les Lions/Great Oaks were runners-up to Park Place.  It was also the third consecutive final of the season to be reached by Les Lions’Great Oaks: besides the Prince of Wales Trophy they were also runners-up in the British Open. By another coincidence, it was Andrey Borodin’s third Queen’s Cup final in a row.

This time round Park Place were awarded a goal on handicap but Les Lions/Great Oaks made a good start, ending the first chukka with a 3-1 lead; although my half-time that advantage had been reduced to 4-3. Led by top scorer Jeta Castagnola – he was to score five of the winning goals – Les Lions/Great Oaks doggedly increased their lead, taking it to 8-5 in the fifth chukka. Park Place had other ideas, however, and made an impressive comeback in what should have been the last chukka, equalising 9-9.  Extra time saw Jeta Castnagola send the golden goal between the posts to give Les Lions/Great Oaks their first Queen’s Cup title.

The cup was presented to patron Dillon Bacon by Brian Stein, chairman of Guards Polo Club. Laurent Feniou, managing director of Cartier UK, was self-isolating at home, following a recent overseas trip, but sent a message to all the teams. Bacon was also named Most Valuable Player and the Cartier rug for Best Playing Pony went to Bartolito Castagnola’s Chalo Angelo.  Winner of the Best Playing Argentine-bred Pony award was Open Mediterranea, played by Facundo Pieres.  Every member of the victorious team received a Cartier Tank watch. 

Les Lions/Great Oaks: Dillon Bacon (2), Camilo Castagnola (7) Bartolito Castagnola (8) Santiago Laborde (6).

Park Place: Andrey Borodin (0), Will Harper (3), Gonzalito Pieres (9), Facundo Pieres (10).

Simon Arber’s Four Quarters Orange, a name familiar for several seasons on the British polo scene, captured the prestigious Royal Windsor Cup at Guards Polo Club with a golden goal in extra time, defeating White Crane 10-9 on the Duke’s Ground.  It was the third time they had won the tournament, previous victories being in 2014 and 2016.  This season Arber recruited the young British player, 4-goal Jack Hyde, together with the 11-goal combination of Ignacio Negri and Felipe Dabas.

First time entrants White Crane, whose patron is Alexie Calvert-Ansari, consisted of three more young British players: James Harper (7-goals), Tom Brodie and Andrew Blake Thomas, both of whom play off 4-goals, supported by Jasmine Calvert-Ansari (0). 

Celebrating its sixty-fifth year as the oldest tournament at Guards, the Royal Windsor Cup, once again sponsored by Out-Sourcing! Inc, is regarded as Great Britain’s premier trophy at 15-goal level.  The inaugural final in 1955, the year of the club’s foundation, was won by the legendary Rao Raja Hanut Singh’s Ratanada. 

Eleven teams entered the latest edition of the Royal Windsor, although the holders, Sheika Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s UAE, did not return to defend their title. Alan Fall’s Mad Dogs, last year’s runners-up, were back, reaching the subsidiary final in which they defeated Casa La Vista Ibiza 9-5.  In common with all polo tournaments held this year, coronavirus restrictions meant that no spectators were allowed onto the grounds.  Of particular interest were Andras Tombor’s Bardon Polo, based around young cousins Poroto Cambiaso and Bartolito Castagnola. The previous month, 14-year-old Poroto, playing with his father, Adolfo, in Next Generation colours, had become the youngest player ever to win the British Open Championship at Cowdray Park. 

Bardon were victorious in all their qualifying games,  albeit in two cases by only half a goal. They won their quarter-final against Polo Performance by a resounding 13-4½, so gaining a place in the second semi-final, only to lose by half a goal to Four Quarters Orange,7 ½-7.

The first of the semi-finals had seen White Crane ride out victorious, 9-6, over Spencer McCarthy’s Emlor Red, based around 6-goaler Max Charlton and the 5-goal Earl of Tyrone, a member of the celebrated Beresford polo dynasty.  Lord Tyrone’s cousin, Tommy Beresford, had helped Thai Polo

to reach the semi-finals of this year’s Queen’s Cup at Guards.  Their great-uncle, Major Lord Patrick Beresford, who died in March at the age of eighty-five, was vice-president and longest-serving committee member of  the club, having also been its first polo manager.  A 5-goal player at the height of his career, his victories included the British Open Championship, the Warwickshire Cup and, at Guards, the Queen’s Cup and the Royal Windsor.  Having served in the Royal Horse Guards and, later, the Guards Parachute Company and the SAS, Lord Patrick was  from 1985 to 1992 chef d’equipe of the British eventing team.

The final of the Royal Windsor was an extremely close encounter from the initial throw-in. White Crane, determined to succeed in their first attempt at the trophy, dominated the first half, and were leading 6-4 at half-time. Four Quarters Orange, equally determined to complete a Royal Windsor hat-trick, fought back with a will in the fourth chukka, equalising 7-7. Two more goals apiece in the fifth made extra time inevitable and it was Ignacio Negri who sent through the deciding goal.

Jack Hyde was named Most Valuable Player and received a Kabuto helmet from Andrew Bentley of Out-Sourcing! Inc. The helmet is of the type worn traditionally by Japanese samurai warriors. Best Playing Pony was Negri’s nine-year-old gelding Forestero, played by him during the fourth chukka. 

Four Quarters Orange: Jack Hyde (4), Ignacio Negri (6), Simon Arber (0), Felipe Dabas (5).

White Crane: Jasmine Calvert-Ansari (0), Tom Brodie (4), Andrew Blake Thomas (4), James Harper (7).

Sir Winston Churchill very aptly once said, “A polo handicap is a passport to the world”, and British Polo Day is a testament to the statement. The history of the game is as enthralling as the game itself. Known to have originated in Persia and re-discovered in Manipur ‘India’ and interestingly reintroduced by the British to the world.

The event is a celebration of the history and the heritage that the game carries within its folds. British Polo day is presently played in 16 countries and 5 continents. The ‘invitation only’ event, is as much a celebration of the game as it is the celebration of the players and the network that it encompasses. The event brings with itself a sense of adventure and exploration as the players are invited to idyllic locales from all over the world.

Returning to the Marwar dunes of Jodhpur for its 9th year, the exhibition matches promised to regale the spectators and players with ‘world-class’ polo action.

The first exhibition match under the umbrella of British Polo Day and 20th Jodhpur Polo Season was played between Teams Mayo and BPD I. Manifesting the vibe for an extraordinary day was the Welcome Band performance and the ever awe inspiring Vintage Car display. The sporting side started with the players being introduced by Mr. Simon Ledger, commentator of the match

Players for BPD I sported black jerseys and the Team fielded – Stefan Sund ±0, The Marques de Sardanola Jose Luis Trenor +2, Eddie Horsewell +1, Malcolm Borwick +5, as

Team MAYO took them on donning the dapper Marwari Pachranga (five colours) jersey and played with- Bh. Hemendra Singh ±0 Kr. Yogeshwar Singh +1 Kr. Pratap Singh Kanota +2 Mr. Brad Millet +3

The match started with a +1.5 lead for Team Mayo, and both the Teams were determined to give it their best defense. Each and every attempt at scoring from either side was thwarted, as the teams displayed great defense. The first chukker ended with a nil for BPD I and Mayo enjoying the +1.5 lead due to the uneven handicap.

The second chukker however had the Teams focusing on attacks as BPD I registered two goals on the scoreboard with Marques de Sardanola Jose Luis Trenor and Stefan Stud scoring a single each for the team. Displaying extreme finesse was Kr. Yogeshwar Singh and Kr. Pratap Singh Kanota as they scored 3 goals among them (single for Kr. Yogeshwar and a double for Kr. Pratap), establishing a 2goal lead for Team Mayo.

Chukker 2 BPD I- 2 Vs Mayo- 4.5

The third chukker, proved extremely scoring for Team Mayo as Bh. Hemendra Singh, Kr. Yogeshwar Singh and Kr. Pratap Singh scored a single each taking the lead further for the team. Registering a single goal for BPD I was Eddie Horsewell as the chukker settled at the scores- BPD I- 3 Vs Mayo- 7.5

The last chukker of the match had Eddie Horsewell and The Marques de Sardanola Jose Luis Trenor adding a single goal each to reduce the lead for Mayo, but a single by Bh. Hemendra Singh for Team Mayo, paved the way for a spectacular win by Team Mayo. The final scores were BPD I- 5 Vs Mayo- 8.5 H.H. Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, His Grace of Duke Argyll and Lady Katherine, Chelsea magnified the post-match presentation ceremony and awarded the trophy and prizes to the winners and the runner up team.

British Polo Day is a very sought-after and elite event, and the popularity is largely through word of mouth. The event all over the world brings together people from all walks of life, key figures from the government, diplomats, military, actors and people who live and breathe the sport. It is no surprise then that the residual of such an event is a gigantic philanthropic effort. Through these events, BPD has been successful in raising funds for many a charities, that British Polo Day likes to support.

Day 2, Match 2

The second exhibition match enthused between Teams Jodhpur II and BPD II.

Jodhpur II donning black jersey’s played with Kr. Vikramditya Singh ±0, R.K. Janmejai Singh +1, Kuldeep Singh +2, Samir Suhag +5

BPD II donning peacock blue jersey’s fielded-  George Cadogan ±0, Joseph Fitzsimmons ±0,  Alan Fall ±0 , Will Emerson +5

BPD II lead the scores with +2 handicap as the match started. Kuldeep Singh playing for Jodhpur II scpred for the Team as the first chukker closed in. The scores at the end of the first chukker was Jodhpur II – 1 and BPD II- 2.

The second chukker was somewhat a similar story as the only goal that came was from the mallet of RK Janmejai Singh, equalizing the scores for the Teams. Chukker 2 Jodhpur II- 2 Vs BPD II- 2

BPD II lead the scores with +2 handicap as the match started. Kuldeep Singh playing for Jodhpur II scpred for the Team as the first chukker closed in. The scores at the end of the first chukker was Jodhpur II – 1 and BPD II- 2.

The second chukker was somewhat a similar story as the only goal that came was from the mallet of RK Janmejai Singh, equalizing the scores for the Teams. Chukker 2 Jodhpur II- 2 Vs BPD II- 2

It was Team Jodhpur II all the way at the second exhibition match under British Polo Day as Jodhpur II scored 5 goals to 4 goals by BPD II. Jodhpur II got better of BPD II by 5 goals to 4 to wind up the second day. Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II of Jodhpur graced the post- match presentation ceremony and awarded the trophy and prizes to the winners and the runner up team.

The ‘invitation only’ event is curated over months. Painstaking planning of the invitees and the exciting array of matches and locales is done over several brainstorming sessions. It is of utmost importance for the organisers to cater a relaxed atmosphere for their patrons, with the only criteria for consideration is the passion for the sport and a sense of adventure. The idea is to attract extraordinary people that actively want to enjoy the sport and partake in the activities that the event encompasses.

Till we meet again!

25th December – 31st December, 2019

The Last coveted 10 goal tournament  Polofactory Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Jubilee Cup is the Final fixture of the Jodhpur Polo Season, and it doesn’t get better than playing it at the foothills of the Umaid Bhawan Palace.  Jodhpur Polo Season makes for an incredible cross-cultural stage to showcase polo, immersed in magnificient style with majestic company over the course of few days.

The tournament opened with Jodhpur Central Academy and Sahara Warriors being pitted against each other.HH Maharaja Gajsingh Ji II threw the ball in for the match to start.

The teams comprised-

Sahara Warriors- Mr. Sangram Singh -2,  H.H. Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur +3, Syed Basheer Ali +4, Mr. Daniel Otamendi +5.

Jodhpur Central Academy- Bh. Hemendra Singh ±0,  R.K. Janmejai Singh +1,  Mr. Angad Kalaan +3,  Mr. Dhruvpal Godara +5

Jodhpur Central Academy started the match with a  +0.5 goal lead that Dhruvpal Godara added upon as he scored a striking goal for Jodhpur team. Syed Basheer Ali and H.H. Jaipur, Pacho scored one goal each for Warriors. At the end of the first chukker scores were:

Chukker 1 Jodhpur Central Academy- 1.5 Vs Sahara Warriors – 2

Second chukker started with Dhruvpal Godara scoring another stunner for Jodhpur Central Academy. The chukker remained goalless for Sahara Warriors.  Chukker 2 Jodhpur Central Academy- 2.5 Vs Sahara Warriors – 2

fMaintaining the spirt of the tournament the third chukker witnessed both the teams bringing their best game to the fore. Bh. Hemendra Singh took the charge of Jodhpur Team and scored two stupendous goals. H.H. Sawai Padmanabh Singh added another beautiful stroke converting into a goal for the Warriors with Daniel Otamendi scoring his first in the match winding the scores at the end of third chukker at: Chukker 3 Jodhpur Central Academy- 4.5 Vs Sahara Warriors – 4

The decisive chukker saw Dhruvpal Godara strike his third goal for Jodhpur as Syed Basheer Ali scored for the Warriors. At the end, it was Jodhpur Central academy getting the better of Sahara Warriors by a minute difference of 5.5 goals to 5 as the final scoreboard was:

Jodhpur Central Academy- 5.5 Vs Sahara Warriors – 5

The second match of the day was battled between Chandna Polofactory playing in Black & White and Krishna Polo Heritage in white. Mr. Nicholas Scortichini and Syed Basheer Ali were the umpires for the match and Mr. Angad Kalaan was the referee.

The Teams played with-

Chandna Polofactory– Mr. Vikramaditya Singh ±0,   Mr. Lokendra Singh ±0, Mr. Siddhant Sharma +4, Mr. Gerardo Mazzini +6.

Krishna Polo Heritage- Mr. Ashvini Sharma ±0,  Kr. Yogeshwar Singh +1 Mr. Emilio Urra Kirby +4 Mr. Abhimanyu Pathak +5

Gerardo Mazzini opened the first chukker with aplomb as he scored a hat- trick for Chandna Polofactory. Ashvini Sharma scored the opener for Krishna Polo heritage with the scores at the end of first chukker placed Chandana Polofactory at a lead of 3 goals and Krishna Polofactory at 1.  The match picked up further pace in the second chukker as Lokendra Singh scored a goal for Chandna Polofactory. Emilio Urra Kirby scored one goal for Krishna Polo Heritage winding the second chukker with scores at,  Chandna Polofactory- 4 Vs Krishna Polo Heritage- 2

The third chukker saw both the teams score as Mazzini scored two goals and Emilio Urra Kirby and Abhimanyu Pathak  added one goal each for Krishna Polo Heritage as the scorecard stood at: Chukker 3 Chandna Polofactory- 6 Vs Krishna Polo Heritage- 4 The fourth and final chukker had Mazzini scoring the last goal of the match as Chandna Polofactory surmounted Krishna Polo Heritage by 7 goals to 4. The final scores had: Chukker 4 Chandna Polofactory- 7 Vs Krishna Polo Heritage- 4

The tournament of Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Jubilee Cup is a treat. Impressive polo playing aside, the festivities surrounding the 10-goal, four-team tournament make for a unique experience, not to mention being immersed in the rich culture and history of Jodhpur, with its marvellous blue-painted houses in the old town circling the fort.

The Finals of tournament saw Jodhpur Central Academy and Sahara Warriors fighting for the coveted Cup.

Team Jodhpur Central Academy donning black jerseys took on Sahara Warriors in white and the teams played with –

Sahara Warriors- Mr. Sangram Singh -2 ,  H.H. Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur +3, Syed Basheer Ali +4, Mr. Daniel Otamendi +5

Jodhpur Central Academy- Bh. Hemendra Singh ±0, R.K. Janmejai Singh +1, Mr. Angad Kalaan +3, Mr. Dhruvpal Godara +5.

The beloved Raj Bhanwar Sa of Jodhpur threw the ball in for the match to start.

Though Jodhpur Central Academy were awarded a a +0.5 goal lead, it was Daniel Otamendi and HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur, that inaugurated the scoreboard for  Sahara Warriors. Dhruvpal Godara, the man in form scored the first one for Jodhpur Central Academy and as the first chukker ended, Sahara Warriors were leading the scoreboard with 2 goals to a 1.5 by Jodhpur Central Academy. The match heated up in the second chukker as Daniel Otamendi converted two 30 yard penalties with direct strokes into the goal post as Syed Basheer Ali defended a goal and then ran away with the ball to strike a hitting goal for the Warriors. Playing in his trademark aggression, Dhruvpal Godara took the ball to score for his Team Jodhpur Central Academy. The young lad R.K. Janmejai Singh, struck a magnificient goal exhibiting the experience that he has garnered over the years of playing polo, as he tackled the ball from polo stalwarts and guided it to the goal post. Angad Kalaan added a goal for his team Jodhpur Central Academy when he converted a running goal winding the second chukker down with 4.5 goals for Jodhpur Central Academy . The second chukker ended with Sahara Warriors leading with half goal at 5

The third chukker was a head to head as Syed Basheer Ali scored two goals for Sahara Warriors and Dhruvpa Godara and R.K Janmejai scored a single each for Jodhpur Central Academy.

Chukker 3 Jodhpur Central Academy- 6.5 Vs Sahara Warriors – 7

The final chukker befitted the finale that it was played for as Daniel Otamendi scored two goals for Sahara Warriors establishing a 2.5 goal lead and the rest of the team defended their turf and disallowed Jodhpur Central Academy from scoring even a single against them.

Sahara Warriors were decalred the winners of Maharaja of Golden Jubilee Cup with 9 goals in their kitty with Jodhpur Central Academy at 6.5 goals.

With the last match of the season winding up, it was festivities abound for the players and polo enthusiasts. It was now time to unwind and take in the festivities and regale and relive the highlights of the spectacular season. There are few things that stand tall and tough as a pyramid – Jodhpur Polo Season is one such pyramid in the world of Polo, as it entralls and mystifies all who visit and live it.

“The evolution  and  development of Polo  is the work of able men who have risen up from time to time in the history of the game.”

 

Jodhpur Polo has been keeping abreast of the sweeping changes that Polo in the North East has experienced over the past couple of years and we have been covering  the polo scene in Manipur extensively over the past few issues of the Magazine. It is important to note that China, Middle East’s Iran (erstwhile Persia), Mongolia, Tibet and Pakistan all have a stake in the claims of origin of Polo. However, most popular accounts of sporting heritage and history point towards Manipur as the birthplace of modern polo, traditionally known as Sagol Kangei. Discovered by the British whose presence was marked by officers posted in the State, the Sport won the favour and fervour of the Brits and tea planters in no time.

It is not common to play polo throughout the year. Due to its interwoven relevance with the ancient Manipuris and rituals, polo in Manipur can only be played from periods other than June to July (Laicheppa) or September to October (Lai Lenghkhatpa). It implies that the viewers have a good eight months to enjoy polo both domestic as well as international.

Jodhpur Polo brings you an in depth peek into this beautiful game in the picturesque locales of Manipur.

POLO YATRA – USHERING IN A RENAISSANCE IN WOMEN’S POLO

(L Somi Roy)

(L. Somi Roy is the Principal of Huntre! Equine. He works in cultural conservation and is also a writer and translator.)                                                                                            

For Polo Yatra, the international tournament project of Huntré! Equine, women’s polo and the wellbeing of the endangered Manipuri Polo Pony- are top priorities. Beginning 2013, we set out to strategize a policy for both the sport as well as the pony. The “Polo Yatra” concept provided us a strong foothold, and the organic take-away from the first two Polo Yatras was that the long- term mission of Huntré! Equine would be to support, develop and promote women’s polo in India.

The little mountain State of Manipur, the birthplace of modern polo, accounts for about one third of the 300 polo players in India and about three-fourths of the 40 women polo players in the whole of India. Distinctively and uniquely, here it is not the Sport of Kings, though Manipur’s monarchs avidly played polo during the course of the kingdom’s history, but the Sport of the People. Egalitarian, village-based, popular, Manipuri women’s polo rests on the fabled power of its confident, gifted, and outspoken women. Huntré! Equine would undertake to field a women’s- only tournament as a strategic development for Indian women’s polo. And so was born the Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament in 2016, the first and only annual women’s polo tournament in India.

Huntré! Equine decided to extend help to the State’s other polo association, the older, struggling All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA), in its mission to support polo in Manipur. It handed it the task of organizing the tournament in 2016 for the very 1st Manipur Statehood Women’s Polo Tournament to be played at Mapal Kangjeibung, the oldest extant polo ground in the world.

That year, Manipur fielded three teams for a mixed tournament of four teams. Each was led by one of the American players . Then it was off to Jaipur where the Indian contingent played with their American counterparts in an exhibition game we called Cowgirls v Gopis. It took Jaipur’s polo community by storm before the finals of the Maharaja Sawai Bhawani Cup!

Since then, the result has been five annual women’s international polo tournaments in Manipur from 2016 till 2020. In 2017, BSE came on to sponsor the winners’ cup. The tournament has grown to accumulate eight competing teams from USA, Argentina, Great Britain, Australia, Kenya, Egypt, the Indian Polo Association (IPA), and host Manipur.

Polo Yatra really took a step up in 2018 when Incredible India! under KJ Alphons of the Ministry of Tourism stepped in to join Manipur Tourism and the USPA in supporting the tournament. In 2019, Team Argentina, making their debut in the 4th Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament, rode gallantly to upstage Team USA. The 5th Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament in 2020 was recognized as the official closing event of Polo150, the global commemoration marking the 150th anniversary of the arrival of polo in England. Only nine months in existence, Team Egypt made its first international appearance to join Teams USA, Great Britain, Argentina, IPA and Manipur. Appropriately enough for an official Polo150 event, as , it was Team Great Britain that rode off with the Manipur Statehood Day Polo BSE Cup scoring five goals to the USA’s two.

JAIPUR AND BEYOND!

When Steve Armour brought Team USPA Women to Manipur in 2016, I reached out to glorious Jaipur – its Princess Diya Kumari pointing out to me charmingly, “Many places play polo, but Jaipur plays only polo”.

The Jaipur connection grew with Polo Yatra 2017, when HH Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh of Jaipur organized a game at the impressive polo ground of Vikram Singh Rathore in Mundota for Team USPA Women. From there, we moved southward, to Hyderabad, the hi-tech city of Google and the Nizam of yore. The young and sleek Nasr Polo of Hyderabad was the host of India’s first international arena women’s polo. In 2019 sponsor USPA Global came on to outfit all the teams and tournament crew and after Imphal, Polo Yatra introduced women’s polo in Mumbai where the women’s team from the USPA made its debut..

LOOKING AHEAD:

The first thought for Huntre! Equine is to revitalize what brought us into being: the preservation of the Manipuri Pony. This conservation mission has underscored everything that we have done with Polo Yatra. The second is to re-emphasize the local – the prowess of the rural polo players of Manipur, both men and women and see where we have and can continue to give our value- added services. The third is the use of media and culture, a mainstay of our activities from the very beginning that has linked the local to the global.

PRESERVATION OF THE PONY:

The preservation of the Manipuri Pony, highly endangered at about only 500, was the spark and lodestar of Huntré! ! Equine’s activities in Manipur including our Polo Yatra. Using the help of Huntré! Equine Partner Ed Armstrong and the USPA, we leveraged the establishment of a 200-acre pony preserve in 2013 at Heingang Village at the foot of the pony shrine of Manipur. We led the campaign that led to the official declaration of the animal as an Endangered Breed, also in 2013. We spearheaded the adoption of a state pony policy in 2016. We initiated an academic conference with the participation of international women players was held at Manipur University. Key to the discussion at the conference was the recognition of the plight of Manipuri Pony by the international women players. So far, the winners from Argentina, Great Britain, and the USA have donated their prize money to Huntré! Equine for the welfare of the Manipuri Pony. While the state develops local tourism at the Heingang preserve, Huntré! Equine will use this and other resources in a community-based pony preservation yoked to rural polo in Kumbi Village, an hour southwest of Imphal that we started in January 2020.

DEVELOPING POLO PROWESS

When Team USPA came to play at the Manipur International Polo Tournament organized by the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association to Manipur in November 2013, it was the first international team that came with a researched – an informed guesstimate really – handicap, of 9 goals. As the tournament developed over the past five years, Huntré! ‘s Ed Armstrong thought the natural next step was to play the event along the lines of the international women’s handicap system. Not having any ratings and with teams coming with vastly different polo playing skills has been an obstacle in producing a fair and handicapped tournament. USA’s Pamela Flanagan was asked to collect recommendations from the other international teams as to what the Manipur team along other emerging teams from the IPA should be rated. Collecting that data, Ed was able to aggregate the recommendations from the teams and coaches of USA, Great Britain and Argentina. The handicap ratings for each of the players of the three teams not currently rated are based on observations during the games of the 2020 tournament. These ratings are  for Team Manipur only, recommended for adoption locally with  Team Captain Khundongbam Deventy (-2), Thoudam Tanna

( -1), Khundongbam Habe ( -2), Laishram Thadoi (- 1), Irom Sangeeta (- 1) and Sanglenmayum Sangeeta ( -1).

POLO REVIVAL IN THE COUNTRYSIDE:

Rural polo is the latest in our work to fill what we saw as developmental blank spots in Manipuri polo. In the effort to help save the Manipuri Pony, we came up with the concept of the revival and refocussing on village polo. Many of the villages surrounding Imphal had historically played polo, had their own fields and local players. This died out in the 70’s for a lakeside village called Kumbi. The villagers were approached with the idea of restarting polo. Huntré!’s Ed Armstrong conducted a village clinic over two days in January 2020. The village was able to construct two wooden training horses with pictures and drawings provided by Armstrong, so that they can continue to use to learn the basics of swinging the mallet and hitting the ball.

The village project will bring in the concept of equine welfare to rural polo and to help preserve Manipuri Ponies in this lakeside village, and in return, villagers are charged with the care and feeding of the animals. Creating these jobs will increase the demand for ponies and encourage proper care and breeding programs that will help sustain the breed.

MEDIA AND CULTURE

Our international yatra began when Bill Cooke, a fellow museum curator and the director of the International Museum of the Horse at the Kentucky Horse Park, and I met in Lexington and we decided to add the Manipuri polo and pony as a permanent exhibit at the museum. Thanks to Governor Gurbachan Jagat of Manipur, a set of authentic polo costumes and gear was donated to the museum that has resulted in the permanent exhibit on polo from Manipur to the US seen today in The Horse in Sports section of the museum in Lexington. The Manipuri Pony was added in its Breeds of the World by the museum. That was in 2012.

That first foray into conservation and global framing has been an accompanying theme that has used film and video as strategic tool. Huntré! Equine brought on partner Roopa Barua to document the games at our first Polo Yatra in 2016. Film teams from national and regional television have covered the tournaments since and the Australians made a fun music fanvid. During our covid-19 national lockdown, Huntré! ! Equine continues to work with the Global Polo Network of USPA Global out of Florida to put our media online for a global audience.

Over the last five years Polo Yatra has presented 80 women polo players from eight countries on six continents. Polo Yatra and Huntré! ! Equine continue to work, despite the odds, to promote and develop International Polo for Women in Manipur, and in three metropolitan cities across India. Our journey well begun is only half done.

THE POLO SISTERHOOD: THROUGH THE LENS WITH ROOPA BARUA

Jodhpur Polo caught up with Roopa Barua, Partner, Polo Yatra/Huntré!  Equine who is a writer and an award-winning documentary filmmaker schooled at the New York Film Academy and UC Berkeley.

As we sip delicate brews of Assam tea, Roopa breaks into an animated conversation about how her love for horses and film making trace back to her childhood in Jorhat, Assam.

“I grew up around horses and riding. It left me fascinated how bareback riders galloped at crazy speeds, controlling a wild, beautiful beast with the pat of a hand or strength of their muscles. As a young child growing up in Jorhat, Assam, I would witness the annual horse riding event celebrating a 135 year old heritage. Little did I realise that the seeds for creating and promoting equestrian sport were being sown and took root over those childhood years of mine! My films depict the reality of life with our equine friends through my lens; my documentary Riders of the Mist is a direct consequence of my fascination for polo.”

Her most talked about work though, is the award winning documentary ‘Daughters of the Polo God’ which draws attention  to the incomparable connection between the horse and its rider- only this time, the rider is a woman. The film received numerous won the Best Documentary Award at the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival.

“A young polo sisterhood is developing in Manipur that ploughs on despite adversity and political turmoil. They are intensely connected to their sacred Manipuri pony and play an international tournament every year. My film is a tribute to these polo players, the modern Manipuri women and the pony campaign.”

Wanting her to slake our curiosity, we ask her about her association as partner with Polo Yatra.

“I got an invite from Mr Somi Roy of Manipur to visit Imphal during the first Manipur Statehood Day Women’s Polo Tournament (2016) where the Manipur women polo players would compete with a USPA women’s team for the first time. Mr Roy who is a promoter of international polo in India had seen a previous film of mine – Riders of the Mist- which was shot around the Mishing ponies of Assam. He told me that he was working on something very important to kickstart women’s polo as well as encouraging conservation bids for the Manipuri Pony. The ‘Save The Manipuri Pony’ campaign picked up. The women were an addition to this effort in 2016.”

“Both Somi  and I both have an a media background, he having curated film and varied media in New York for the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Centre and the Whitney Museum etc. I am a documentary filmmaker. We knew we had a task in hand. We had to popularize Manipuri women play and bring attention to the pony. Mr Roy had already set the ball rolling early on by collaborating on a permanent Manipur polo exhibit at the International Museum of the Horse in Kentucky, USA. He earmarked funds to document  women’s polo and asked me to step into documenting the sport  in 2016 . I started filming the USPA women coach the Manipuri players, progressing onwards to the main tournament where four Manipuri teams played with one USPA player as their captain. My documentation continued through the next three seasons where the Manipuri girls played in Imphal, Jaipur and Hyderabad under the Polo Yatra banner from Huntré Equine. We continued using media to popularize the game.

My fascination with these strong Manipuri players was also increasing and I thought this would be a good documentary for the general audience. The World needed to see women’s polo flourishing in an ancient place which was essentially the Holy Grail of modern polo. My efforts continued through  2018 when I met with the families of the girls, took their interviews and shot more stock. This culminated in my film Daughters of the Polo God which shows the genesis and growth of women’s polo in Manipur in recent times. “

What sets Manipuri women riders apart from their other female counterparts in the country?

“Manipuri polo women are a strong resilient lot. What makes them special is their athleticism combined with a never-say-no attitude. They carry a fighting indomitable spirit that is truly their own, unparalleled in the rest of India. Their sense of community and belonging is very strong, their support systems within their families to play polo, the support from local horse-riding associations and the State Government is also a factor that helps grow their sport tremendously.”

“The Manipuri women’s effort in competitive polo is a significant step forward for the growth of women’s polo in India. Polo played in Delhi, Jaipur, Mumbai and Hyderabad have been solid male bastions so far. There are a handful of Indian women polo players excluding Manipur. At last count, Manipur accounted for about three-fourths of the total polo players from India. The growth of women’s polo in Manipur sets the stage for laying a good foundation for women’s polo in India. The Manipur model of skilling women polo players with support from government, family  and local equine association has worked wonders. The outreach to international players and associations and the targeted media approach initiated by Huntré Equine has put in the polo tournament in its right place at the forefront of international polo tournaments. All these factors have gone a long way in building the foundation of the global albeit egalitarian polo sisterhood with its roots in Manipur.”

We couldn’t agree more with Roopa as, in her words, “Today, the building blocks are set, the initial hard work is done. Now it is time for the rest of India to replicate these efforts and compete in the international arena. The women of Manipur would certainly be formidable and accomplished team members in these efforts.”

Jodhpur Polo

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