Type to search

Manipur’s female polo players are riding up a typhoon


Manipur’s female polo players are riding up a typhoon


On a hill around Heingang village, on the outskirts of Imphal, there’s a pony shrine to Lord Marking, the god of polo, in which the Meitei (most people ethnic organization of Manipur) come to worship and in which the nearby polo players visit mild candles before a game. The shrine has mystical energy as prayers are provided to Sanamahi, the purchaser god of every Meitei family, who created the Samadon Ayangba—a quick and fierce pony with wings.

The legendary Manipuri Pony symbolizes a subculture that has struggled with many approaches to riding forward. L Some Roy, the grandson of Manipur’s former monarch Maharaja Churachandra, left Manipur for the USA within the ’80s and, on his return many years later, located the pony listlessly, strolling the streets of Imphal feeding on plastic. Despite their mythological and historical significance, negligent urbanization had lost the semi-feral animal grazing regionsn. Today, the Manipuri Pony is an endangered species with an envisioned population of fewer than 500.


Roy, a conservationist and a custodian of the way of life realized that the simplest way to preserve the horse alive might be to assist in increasing Sagol Kangjei (Manipuri polo) by bringing global interest to it. Manipur is the birthplace of current polo—the British later exported the game to the world’s relaxation. Mapal Kangjeibung polo ground, located in the heart of Imphal and surrounded by urban homes, is one of the oldest extant grounds in the world. It dates to the early seventeenth century, with references that pass back to the primary century AD at some point in King Kangba.

As polo has been male-ruled in Manipur, female gamers were critically lagging in the sport due to a lack of possibility and path. That changed with Roy’s projects. Drawing upon his contacts with the United States Polo Association (USPA) in 2013, Roy and his US associate Ed Armstrong began inviting ladies’ polo groups from overseas to keep a neighborhood tournament in Imphal. And consequently commenced the Manipur Statehood Day SPECIALWomen’s Polo Tournament, India’s most effective international women’s polo event, in 2016, in partnership with Roy’s Polo Yatra (an enterprise for ladies’ polo in India), the USPA, and Manipur Tourism, with handiest one traveling group: USA. The annual event has grown exponentially since then.

The recently-concluded season in January this year had four foreign groups—USA, Canada, Kenya, and Argentina—along with the Indian Polo Association (IPA) crew with the assistance of Manipur Tourism, Incredible India, and the Bombay Stock Exchange. It was produced using Polo Yatra and organized by the All Manipur Polo Association. In testimony to its growing international standing, Argentina is preparing for a match called the Manipur Cup in 2018. The winners of the 13 taking part groups got here to play in Manipur.

Daughters Of The Polo God (2018), an award-winning documentary film on the female polo players of Manipur, which had its India most fulfilling on the tournament’s opening night, perfectly captures the spirit ground. Roopa Barua, the movie’s director, says, “I had simplest heard tales of civil unrest, terrorists and navy atrocities in Manipur. But once I went to Imphal for the tournament in 2016, I saw that ladies’ polo become a developing tale—the symbiotic courting between ladies’ polo and the endangered Manipuri Pony was a unique concept.”

Erika Norman

Travelaholic. Introvert. Certified coffee enthusiast. Beer expert. Web trailblazer. Bacon geek. Spent 2002-2009 lecturing about human growth hormone in Hanford, CA. Spent several months developing strategies for teddy bears in Prescott, AZ. Earned praised for my work exporting chess sets in the financial sector. Uniquely-equipped for working on xylophones in Africa. Uniquely-equipped for getting to know cannibalism in Salisbury, MD. Developed several new methods for developing strategies for wieners in West Palm Beach, FL.