Manipur Polo Sangai

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Manipur is the home of Polo. U see the 8th Manipur Polo International at Sangai Festival in November 2014. ''The game of Polo (Sagol Kangjei), according to Chaitharol Kumbaba, the royal chronicle of Manipur was introduced by king Kangba.'' To read more Click here

Players from India, Poland, Thailand, U.S., South Africa, England, Mongolia and France participated in the 8th Manipur Polo International 2014 held at Mapal Kangjeibung ie the oldest polo ground in the world.

Overview of the oldest polo ground in the world.

Delegation from Mongolia at the polo event. ''All the major ethnic groups constituting Manipuri people are of Mongoloid stock and their languages belong to the Tibeto-Burman family''.

Game on - I had never seen polo earlier found it fascinating, the speed at which the horse gallops. Polo is very popular in Rajasthan, wish they had called a team from there as well.

Game in progress. One of the themes in 2014 polo game was Save the Manipuri Pony.

Galloping towards goal post. Background is buildings in Imphal, road that leads to Kangla Fort. To see pics of Kangla Fort Click here

Game on. To read about Indigenous Games of Manipur including polo Click here

This is called ARAMBAI, it was a weapon used in the olden days. Manipuris race on their horses with a peacock feather in their hands, throw it long and high.

They used this weapon (peacock feathers) with horses and thus they are very fast and furious. It was because of this weapon and their Martial Arts that the Meitei''s were feared in earlier times. It was very exciting to watch.

Close up of peacock feather - I presume that these were poisonous feathers when used in war.

Manipuris on a horse come racing in with spear in hand.

At that pace horse rider has to bend and then see next pic.

There is something fixed in the ground, indicated by white thermacol. Horse rider has to put in the spear in and pull it out of the ground as you see is successfully done in this pic. Very good to watch.

Starting of Manipuri Polo game. It is called Sagol Kangjei in Manipuri language. Sagol literally means a pony language while Kangjei stands for a game played with sticks. To read more abt Manipuri Polo Different Click here

Referee (local name Huntre-hunba) throws ball in the air, game starts. ''Among the Meiteis the divine guardian of polo is called Marjing. Unlike modern day polo, a mounted player is allowed to pick the ball up from the ground by hand if he can. An expert player can make the ball roll up the mallet by a flick of hand and catch the ball. But in both cases, to score a goal, he must throw the ball up in the air and hit it with his mallet before reaching the goal line.''

Note the polo stick. The ball is made from the seasoned bamboo root and painted white. ''All players wear a white dhoti without borders, covers up to knee only. On his heads he wears a big white turban held by a khadangchet i.e. chin strap. He also wears a cotton jacket with short sleeves. The jacket and khadangchet are in distinctive color of the particular team. Since no footwear is usually worn, the player covers his ankles with khunningkhang which is a piece of leather or cloth held by straps. Above khunningkhang, to protect the calves, he wears a padded khongyom which is also held by straps.''

All players charging towards the goal. Unlike modern day polo, ''there are no goal posts. A goal is scored by a team when the ball crosses the terminal line on the other side i.e. the line on the width of the field. The scoring of a goal is formally announced by the sounding of a bugle or the blow of a conch.''

Exchange of look by a Manipuri and foreign player. Manipuris really quick, very fit and athletic. Found all indigenous games of Manipur require you to be very good runners and physically fit. Games are also lots of fun to watch, attracted huge cheers from the crowds.

Close up of guests from Mongolia. Great atmosphere during Polo Matches. Lovely stadium and polo ground. Very well maintained. Do see collection on Indigenous Games of Manipur.

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