Elephant Polo, Nepal
Elephant polo, one of the World's unique sports has been played in Nepal for 25 years but, still, is to be discovered by rest of the World.
Every year 8 differnt teams including Elephant Polo lovers from around the world such as nepal, UK, India, Hong Kong, SriLanka, Thailand etc participate to observe this historical event.
It is a type of polo game played riding on the elephant. The equipments that are needed to play this are standard polo ball, 6-9 feet cane (like bamboo) sticks with a polo mallet head on the end. Because of the slower speed of elephants, the pitch is reduced to three-quarters of the standard polo pitch. In each elephant, there are two people; one mahout (person who controls elephant) and one player who tells the mahout which way to go and hits the ball.
Elephants Participating in Polo:
Approximately 16 elephants participate in the World Elephant Polo Championship every year. The elephants are trained and maintained by the skilled trainers, who often will stay with an elephant for years. There are well fed and sheltered and exercise as much as wild elephant. The elephants are from two parts; Nepal National Parks and Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, Chitwan.
The elephants take the guests on wildlife safari while not playing polo.
How the game is played ? (source : elephantpolo.com)
1. The Game will be played by four players on each team. The game is played on a marked pitch of 100 metres by 70 metres, using a standard size polo ball.
2. The game will consist of two 10 minutes chukkers of playing time, with an interval of 15 minutes. The whistle blown by the referee stops and starts play.
3. The pitch will be marked with a centre line, a circle with a radius of 10 metres in the centre of the field, and a semi-circle, in front of the goals, with a radius of 20 metres, measured from the centre of the goal to form the D.
4. Elephants and ends are changed at half time.
5.The complete ball must travel over the sideline or back line, to be out, and completely across the goal line to be a goal.
6.Both men and women players may play from either side of the elephant. Women may use two hands if they so wish but men must use only one hand, either the left or right hand.Care must be taken when changing sides of play, in order to avoid injury with the stick to other players, or elephants. When the Umpire/ Referee judge dangerous play has been committed, a spot hit shall be given to the opposing team. All defending elephants and players must be 15 metres from the spot.
7. 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.Team members playing will be named the evening before a match.The changes, except in the case of injury where a replacement is needed, must be done at half-time when names will be given to the Referee, time-keepers/ commentators.
The detailed rules of the elephant polo can be found on Elephant polo Association website.