We said earlier in the week that our research into the game of polo had turned up some weird and wonderful variants of the game which could only be described as extreme. Well the first such extreme of polo is played on elephants.
Elephant polo is a variant of polo played whilst riding elephants. Although elephant polo was first played in India at the beginning of the twentieth century, the modern game originated in Nepal where it is played in an annual tournament organised by the World Elephant Polo Association at Tiger Tops in Nepal.
It is also played in Sri Lanka, Rajasthan in India and in Thailand.
The pitch is three-quarters of the length of a standard polo pitch, due to the slower speed of the elephants. Two people ride each elephant – the polo player and the mahout who controls the elephant. A polo stick is used, which depending on the size of your elephant can be 5 to 9 feet long, to try to hit the ball and score a goal. Due to the cumbersome elephants the ball can disappear under their great bulks for long peroids sometimes only emerging as a flattened relic more akin to a frisbee.
It is not surprising to learn that the game has attracted stern criticism from animal rights organisers who consider the game to be no more than the expoitation of animals for the amusement of man.
The WEPA are holding their next tournament from November 29th to December 5th and although it is not announced we presume the location will be Tiger Tops in Nepal.
Below is a journeymanpictures video of elephant polo in Jaipur, India.
Another variant which does not attract the negative criticism from the animal rights hoodies is cycle polo and we will post a blog on this form of the sport in the next few days.