Elephant Polo is a variant of Polo sports played riding on an elephant. The “Game for Kings,” Polo was reinvented to accommodate the friendly animals. The major motto of the sports is to promote Chitwan as a popular tourist destination and to help conserve the dwindling population of wildlife in Nepal.
Elephant polo was originated in Nepal back in 1982 Today, the international event is widely held in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and is participated by the team of foreign participants as well.
The first ever elephant polo was held back in April 1, 1982, in a grassy airfield of Meghauli, Chitwan. The World Elephant Polo Association was established by two sports enthusiasts in 1982 and its headquarter is located in the very location of Chitwan.
Every year, the event is organized during late post-monsoon, when the weather is moderate. Teams comprising of various nations; USA, Scotland, Thailand etc, come head to head for winning the trophy.
Only Four playes of each team are allowed to participate in one game. Total of 6 elephants are allowed on a field. The rules are quite stricter and is regulated religiously.
–Rules & Regulations–
- (Source:) The Game is played by four players on each team. The game is played on a marked pitch of “100-120 m x 60-80 m“, using a standard size polo ball.
- The game will consist of two 10 minutes play time, with an interval of 15 minutes.
- The pitch will be marked with a center line, a circle with a radius of 10 m in the center of the field, and a semi-circle, in front of the goals, with a radius of 20 m, measured from the center of the goal to form the ‘D’.
- Elephants and ends are changed at half time.
- The complete ball must travel over the sideline or back line, to be out, and completely across the goal line to be a goal.
- All throws-ins or set pieces must be off-side to off-side. Right hand for both men & women players must be the dominant side.
- Both men and women players must play on the right side of the elephant. Men may only use only their right hand. However, women may use two hands to hold the polo stick if they so wish. If women choose to play with one hand not two, then it must be their right hand only (and not the left).
- Teams may bring additional players, reserves, to interchange with other members of the team, as long as the number, names and arrangements have been agreed in advance by WEPA.
Check out tips on How to Play the Game
Chitwan National Park
Chitwan is the ecological haven of Nepal. Chitwan National Park (World Heritage Site), established in 1973 is the first of its kind in Nepal. Formerly, the hunting ground for the Royals and foreign diplomats, it was later designed to accommodate and protect endangered species of wild animals; Bengal Tigers, One-horned rhino and Mugger crocodiles, along with various species of mammals, birds and amphibians.
Widely chosen as a Safari destination, Chitwan attracts 1000s of tourists every month for its exotic lifestyle, wildlife adventures and ethnic culture of Tharu inhabitants.