The origin of polo is debatable, several countries including India, Persia and China, lay claim to the game of kings. Versions of this game had their owns names for it in various countries; Chaughan (Persia), Da-Kyu (Japan), Khis-Kouhou (Russia), Djerid (Turkey), and Sagol Kangjei (Manipur, India). However, the modern name of ‘polo’ is perhaps most closely akin to its Tibetan variation ‘Pulu. In India, polo, commonly referred to as the “Sport of Kings” was popularized under the rule of the Mughal dynasty. With Mughal patronage, polo gained its regal status.
However, with the eventual decline of the dynasty in the 18th century, the sport too lost its place. Fortunately, in the remote regions of Ladakh and Manipur, the sport survived and it was in Manipur many decades later that polo was rediscovered by British officers and gained popularity. It was around 1860 when a British officer, together with seven British Tea Planters based in Silchar set up the first club of the modern game called the Silchar Polo Club. From then onward, the popularity of the sport caught on among the British subjects in India eventually leading to polo being introduced to Europe. The oldest registered polo club is the Calcutta Polo Club. Once imported to Europe, polo soon became a fashionable sport, especially among the nobility and the army.
Indian Polo Association (IPA) was founded in 1892 to govern and propagate the game of polo. Some of the prominent teams at that time had royal patronage from the houses of Alwar, Bikaner, Hyderabad, Patiala, Jodhpur, Kishengarh, Kashmir and the military regiments including Central India Horse, The 15th Lancers, the Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, the 10th Royal Hussars and the 17/21st Lancers among others. By 1900, there were over a 100 affiliated clubs and over 5000 registered houses. Unfortunately post World War II and with the mechanization of the cavalry and eventualy the Indpendence of India and the merger of Indian Princely States, the sport faced a severe setback. The burden of reviving the game to its original glory fell on the shoulders of the Indian army and the IPA.
Over the past few decades, the IPA with undettered support from the Indian Army, distinct princely families including the royal houses of Jodhpur, Jaipur, Kashmir and corporate giants including Naveen Jindal the Polo has reganed its place as the premier regal sport of India.
Established in 2012, Polofactory is a concept that aims at becoming a catalyst to the growth of polo and the lifestyle that accomponies the sport.