Manipur (Manipuri: Kangleipak) is known for being the birthplace of polo sports. It hosts numerous polo tournaments at international, national and state levels. It has many polo grounds, which are of great historical significance, including the world's oldest polo ground.
The Manipuri word for "pologround" is Kangjeibung in modern usage and Kangcheipung in ancient usage. Sometimes, the word Lampak (lit. "flat land" or "park") is used instead.
According to Guinness World Records, polo's origins in Manipur can be traced to around 3100 BC, when it was played as Sagol Kangjei.
The game of polo (Manipuri: Sagol Kangjei) saw significant development during the reign of King Kangba (1405-1359 BC), the successor of King Tangja Leela Pakhangba. This remarkable achievement was recorded in many ancient texts including the Kangbalon and the Kangjeirol.
In 33 AD, King Nongda Lairen Pakhangba hold power of the Kangla. In a ceremony at introducing Laisana, his good lady to his subjects, a polo match was played. It is one of the most popular polo matches played in the ancient world.
According to Ancient Meitei mythology (Old Manipuri mythology) and Sanamahism religion, God Marjing invented the game of polo (Meitei: "Sagol Kangjei", lit. "horse hockey"). This God rides on "Samadon Ayangba" (alias "Samaton Ayangpa"), a mythical winged flying horse, who is believed to be the ancestor of the present day Meitei horses (Manipuri ponies).
The Manipuri pony (Manipuri: Meitei Sagol, lit. Meitei horse) is one of the purest and the most prestigious equine breeds of India and the world. It is an endangered breed due to the lack of proper care in Manipur. However, Government of Manipur has taken significant steps to upgrade the situation.
International tournaments Edit
Many annual international polo tournaments are organised with permanent venues in Manipur. Imphal Polo Ground, the world's oldest polo ground, is usually the permanent venue for most international championships.
- The Manipur International Polo Tournament (late November) is organised under the aegis of the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA). At this, players of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Haiti, India, Kenya, Mongolia, Morocco, Poland, South Africa, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United States participate in the championship competing with the team of players from Manipur. One point to be noted is that the team for India is named "India-A" team (represented by Indian Polo Association) and team for Manipur is named "India-B" team (represented by Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association).
- The Manipur Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament (January 21) is the first and the only international women's polo tournament ever organised in India. Starting from the year 2016 to mark the 60th anniversary to the All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA), players of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Egypt, India, Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States participate in the championship competing with the team of players from Manipur.
State level tournaments Edit
Numerous state level polo tournaments are organised whole the year. Here are some of the most significant championships:
- The Junior Boys' Under 16 State Level Polo Tournament is annually hosted by the All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) at AMFA Iroisemba Kangjeibung.
- The Women State Level Polo Tournament is annually hosted by the All Manipur Polo Association (AMPA) at AMFA Iroisemba Kangjeibung.
District level tournaments Edit
- The Imphal East District Polo Tournament (Meitei: Nongpok Imphal Panaa Sagol Kangjei Saanaba) (April) is an annual polo championship organised by the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA) and New Vision Organisation at Yairipok Top Chingtha and Ningthounai Kangjeibung.
- The Imphal West District Polo Tournament (Meitei: Nongchup Imphal Panaa Sagol Kangjei Saanaba) (December) is an annual polo championship organised by the Manipur Horse Riding and Polo Association (MHRPA) at Awang Potshangbam Khullen Lampak.
Polo grounds Edit
There are many polo grounds to list here, but these ones are those that are either most internationally well known or most significant.
- Imphal Polo Ground (Manipuri: Mapal Kangjeibung, lit. Outdoor Polo ground) – it's the world's oldest polo ground. It is in the heart of Imphal, since the 15th century BC (3500 years back) according to the earliest known records.
- Manung Kangjeibung (lit. Inner Polo ground) - it's an ancient polo ground located inside Kangla, the ancient fortress in the centre of Imphal. It was the royal polo ground for the rulers of the Kangla fortress in Ancient Kangleipak (Ancient Manipur).
- Hapta Kangjeibung (lit. Weekly polo ground) - This polo ground in the Palace Compound in Imphal, regularly hosts a bunch of sports events as well as fairs and festivals.
Besides these three famous polo grounds, there are many others scattered over different areas of Manipur. During off seasons of polo matches, other forms of sports are regularly played in these polo grounds.
- Arapti Kangjeibung - in Loumanbi
- Arapti Mayai Leikai Kangjeibung - in Takhok Makha
- Chajing Kangjeibung Lampak - in Lilong Chajing
- Haoreibi Kangjeibung - in Haoreibi
- Heingang Kangjeibung - in Heingang
- Hiyangthang Kangjeibung - in Hiyangthang
- Iramsiphai Kangjeibung - in Leiphrakpam
- Irengbam Kangjeibung Lampak - in Irengbam
- Keirak Kangjeibung - in Keirak
- Kumbi Kangjeibung - in Kumbi
- Langathel Kangjeibung - in Langathel
- Langdum Kangjeibung - in Keirao-Langdum
- Leimaram Kangjeibung - in Nambol
- Maisnam Kangjeibung - in Charangpat Mamang
- Model Club Heingang Kangjeibung - in Heingang
- Oinam Kangjeibung Lampak - in Oinam
- Phayeng Kangjeibung - in Phayeng
- Social Welfare Club Keirak Awang Kangjeibung - in Keirak
- Tamang Kangjeibung - in Mayang Langjing
- Tona Kangjeibung - in Kakyai Langpok
- Ukhongshang Kangjeibung - in Nongpok Sekmai