Rajputs have been keen equestrian and they take to the horses like a fish to water. Their taking to polo in big way was only natural. Their association with polo dates back to the Mughal period and miniature paintings at the Mehrangarh Fort bear testimony to this early introduction to the game. However, Polo did not become a passion until the British period when it became a natural and a marvelous peacetime pursuit.
It was in 1889, when the colourful Prime Minister of Jodhpur Sir Partap Singh invited the Bengal Lancers to raise the Jodhpur Lancers; Polo was introduced to Jodhpur in its current modern form. Three years later Jodhpur raised its Polo Team, which won many accolades home and abroad. In 1897, when Sir Pratap travelled to London for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, he took his polo team along, amongst the very first Indian teams to travel abroad, and, for that matter, foreign teams to invade England and create history.
They won many matches there, at Hurlingham and Ranelagh, and returned with their reputation enhanced; the finest Indian team during those years. Rajasthan produced many great Polo players, which include Sir Partap Singh, Rao Raja Hanut Singh, Thakur Hari Singh and the colourful Maharaja Man Singh II of Jaipur, who took over the pride of jodhpur as an inevitable gift by being the suave son in law of Jodhpur. Thus the best of the players and the finest of the polo ponies were shifted to the royal house of Jaipur, the rest is history.
This super premium category sport still thrives in Rajasthan and has seen a quantum jump in its popularity as a life style sport. It has attracted attention from corporate houses for sponsorship. It has also attracted interest of the Prime Minister of India, many celebrities and the army. Today, polo is not just restricted to the royalty and the Indian Army, many companies and firms too patronise the sport. Polo facilities are on the rise and polo holidays in India too are in vogue. Especially in Rajasthan.
The superb synchronization between man and his horse, the amazing speed, the brute power, with the backdrop of green arena makes for most exclusive and glorious sport of all. Rajasthan also gave the game its Royal Tradition with patronage of the Maharajas, which earns it the nicknames The Game of Kings-The King of Games. Rajasthan still stages exciting Polo games and is treat for the tourist to watch this game that demands extreme physical and mental condition.