Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Royal Salute to a true blue Sport

In the land of the royals, it's the sport of kings. Polo has put Jodhpur on the international equestrian sports map, bringing in enthusiasm from around the world to witness the game at its royal best. One of the principle events of the Indian polo calender is the Royal Salute Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Jubilee Cup, played on the polo fields between the stunning Umaid Bhawan Palace ad the spectacular Mehrangarh fort.

Hosted by the Maharaja of Jodhpur, the Royal Salute Cup is a by-invitation-only, week-long, 10-goal international polo tournament. Last year the Umaid Bhawan Palace team raised the cup beating teams from Royal Salute and other luxury majors. If you're lucky to recieve an invitation, then you're the most likely to meet His Highness Maharaja of Jaipur Brigadier Bhawani Singh, the British High Commissioner to India Sir Richard Stagg and His Grace the 13th Duke of Argyll amongst other dignitaries and celebrities.

Jodhpur's connect with polo goes back centuries. Miniature paintings in the Mehrangarh Fort museum depict the Rathores. Jodpur's royal family, playing polo with the Mughals who brought the game to India from Persia. It originated there as a method to train kings and elite cavalrymen for war but soon developed into a sport.

Off the polo ground the imposing Mehrangarh Fort that towers over the desert landscape is a must-visit for a taste of the regal way of life. The museum houses royal artefacts like palanquins used by the Rathore queens, a silver howdah presented by the Emperor Shahjanah to the Rathore king Jaswant Singh I and Emperor Akbar's sword. Jodhpur also offers a number fo other diversions including shopping for textiles. jewellery and that ubiquitous Jodhpur accessory - the jutti. 

So, if Jodhpur is one of the cities on you 'must-visit'list'; ensure that your trip is scheduled around its year-end polo season. With the Royal Salute Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Jubilee Cup 2011, of the city will have a lot to offer. 

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