Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club
Story by Aryana Mohmood Photographs by Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club
Traditionally, polo players within Indian Polo Clubs are from military backgrounds, however, the Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club (HPRC) uniquely encourages all members of society to take part. Programs with in the club such as ‘Polo Tourist’ are aimed at enthusiasts from everywhere wanting to have a taste of polo life. Largely due to these programs the HPRC is solely comprised of civilian players.
Founded by Mr Chaitania R. Kumar in 2005, HPRC has now successfully hosting numerous polo events globally. Most recently, these include the 2016 Indian Arena Polo Tournament and the 2016 National Equestrian Championship with polo teams around India and overseas competing.
The HPRC provides many facilities including numerous training fields, 100 stables and a floodlit Arena Polo stadium. It also features a resort connected to the club with 50 fully serviced rooms.
Polo enthusiasts worldwide are invited to stay within the resort and participate in activities, such as chukkas and polo lessons, whilst exploring the beautiful city of Hyderabad, a place filled with centuries of history. According to Mr Kumar, "The club has established itself as a premier destination for both players and enthusiasts, by offering all the luxury the sport presents." " With such initiatives and features," states Mr Kumar, "such an opportunity of a lifetime should not be missed."
Mr Chaitania Kumar is also President of the club and a passionate polo player. 'Since 1990, polo has been a significant part of my life,' he states, 'with training beginning at the Andra Pratesh Polo Club in Hyderabad'.
After some time Chaitania Kumar travelled to America where he studied a science and engineering degree, whilst playing polo at the Purdue University. 'It was on his return to his beloved homeland', states Mr Kumar that,' he decided to pass on the values and lifestyle that he had learnt and inaugurate the Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club'.
Throughout his polo career, Kumar has been part of many winning polo teams with several accomplishments. These include; Winners of the 2012 Mumbai Polo Season, 2012 The Army Commander’s Cup and Prince of Barra’s Cup.
The Prince of Barra’s Cup is a 50-year-old cup which was donated by the Royal family of Hyderabad. It has been won for three consecutive years by HPRC. Adding to this, the Hyderabad Polo and Riding Club team won the 2016 Indian Open Polo Championship, a proud moment for Mr Kumar; winning 7-6 and becoming the first team from Hyderabad to win a national tournament.
Mr Kumar states that, 'Three key factors contribute significantly to the success of HPRC, ‘effort, time and money'. He adds that, 'Costs of infrastructure and the growth of a polo club can be underpinned by gaining interest from members of the public'. He says that,' This is reflected in the HPRC having 800 members within the club.
In an effort to reduce the cost associated with creating traditional polo feilds, Mr Chaitania Kumar created an Arena Polo Ground for the club teams to play on. Traditional grass polo fields are the most common within polo clubs and they offer seasonal polo to spectators and players. However the Arena Polo Ground is predominantly made of a blended sand, allowing polo matches and teams to play throughout the entire year.
HPRC Summer School Training Camps give youngsters the opportunity to learn and develop basic polo playing skills, aswell as more advanced players furthering their handicap level.
Kumar's vision and objective for the club is, " To increase participation and the rankings of existing players. Through this, the players will become more robust and proactive participants, enjoying the game and reaping the benefits".
Mr Kumar states that, ‘it’s not simple to play polo or maintain the club. It requires many things to work.’ Implementing particular strategies like the Arena Polo Ground and summer training camps, has allowed much success and differentiation amongst the clubs within the region.
The HPRC is committed to the revival of the sport of polo, encouraging all members and particularly youngsters to start playing and learning the basics of polo. By conducting events, promoting younger riders and advancing the levels of existing polo players, it is hoped that the game of polo will be exposed to wider society. This is the president’s vision.