The game of kings was rediscovered and nurtured in India since the medieval times. The period between the decline of the Mughal Dynasty and the establishment of British rule, polo survived in the remote mountains and passes of Gilgit, Chitral, Ladakh and Manipur.
It all started back then in 1858 when two British soldiers Captain Robert Stewart and Major Gen Joe Sherer witnessed a game “Sagol Kangjei” being played by locals of Manipur. Both officers were so captivated by the experience that they quickly introduced the game to their peers, and then established the “Calcutta Polo Club” in the year 1861-62.Thereafter the club created the new organized format of the game and set ” The first rule book for Modern Polo” .
Calcutta Polo Club Trophy
The club runs the oldest and first ever Polo Trophy in the world, the Ezra Cup (1880), besides other old ones such as the Carmichael Cup (1910) and the Stewarts Cup (1932). The Ezra Cup is named after Sir David Ezra, a leading jewish business tycoon in Calcutta, who sponsored the sport within the city. These cups are still in vogue.
Polo in Calcutta enjoyed the patronage of royalty like the Maharaja of Burdwan, Maharaja of Cooch Behar, Nizam of Hyderabad, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales and Sultan of Brunei. They had rubbed shoulders with Indian polo stalwarts like Maharaja Sawai Man Singh of Jaipur, Col Maharaj Prem Singh, Rao Raja Hanut Singh among others on the Pat Williamson polo grounds.
Polo in Calcutta was the ultimate in entertainment and synonymous with winter. It was the time for commoners to join the Christmas revelry with royalty and top-ranking armymen. Legend has it that the charming Maharani Gayatri Devi fell in love with Maharaja Sawai Man Singh of Jaipur here in the city of joy.
The Pat Williamson Ground
Located in the centre of the race course with its rich heritage, Calcutta Polo Club (CPC) continues to pride itself for its warm and friendly atmosphere whilst offering a world-class riding and polo facility to its members and guests. The Polo Grounds, namely, the Pat Williamson Ground offers a breathtaking view of the Victoria Memorial and Vidyasagar Setu.
This ground is named after Mr. Pat Williamson, in 1951. Who was instrumental in the revival of the club in the fifties and was the president of Calcutta Polo Club.
IPA And Calcutta Polo Club
Modern day polo is played according to the rule book formed originally in Calcutta Polo Club. Later in 1892, Calcutta Polo Club played a pivotal role in the formation of the Indian Polo Association. The first IPA championship was deservedly hosted by Calcutta Polo Club in 1907 and continued to be hosted till 1997.
The Rolling Times
Until a few years ago, the club was almost about to loose the title of being “The Oldest Polo Club in the World” when it had almost gone into hibernation in 1998 and become defunct. But soon, Mr. Keshaav Bangur was brought in as a white knight in 2005 to give fresh life to Polo in Calcutta. His personal affection and commitment for the sport, has changed the ways totally and the “Ball is in full Roll” once again.