Development of Modern Polo in India began with the advent of British East India Company and the British Government of India. Modern Polo in India is now in the hands of Indian Army and the businesspersons of India. However, Polo has an Indian origin. Manipur is regarded as the “House of Polo”.
During the 1860’s when the European first started playing polo they used very small ponies and the games were considerably slow moving and sedate. Earlier when the game was absolutely in the hands of British East India Company, it was mainly seen as a source of fun and entertainment, and a pastime for relaxation. It was only with the increase of capacity of the game that competitive spirit was infused. Development of modern polo as a scientific and tactical sport actually kick started. However, till the early eighties the systematic development of the polo game was increasingly slow. During that time there were no fixed players to a side, anything between 7 to 8 were common, and there were also no particular arrangements for players. In most cases, it was seen that local sides had their own set of rules and ideas. Sometimes there was even a goalkeeper as at football.
During this time the Indian Princes made their mark in the field of polo. Their royal background, equestrian skills and with the enormous resources at their disposal helped them immensely towards improving their game. In a short period of time they achieved great heights. The heyday of Indian polo, which lasted from the nineties of the last century till the outbreak of the Second World War, saw unmatched performances by the teams of the Princely States of India. Some of these best teams were those of Patiala, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Hyderabad, Kishangarh, Alwar, Bhopal, Jammu and Kashmir and Bikaner.
Captain H.de B.de Lisle of the Durham Light Infantry introduced the next real development of polo game. He formulated a system of rigorous training for both horses and players to an extent not attempted before. On this, he based a policy of increased passing and flexibility, which enabled his regiment to win the Inter-Regimental Tournament for three consecutive years, an honor which had earlier always gone to the cavalry. To know more read: