Known as the “sport of kings”, polo also becomes the sport of giants when players ride elephants instead of horses. The month of November/December is the time when the country’s major event of elephant polo is organized, with thousands of tourists hammering in from all around the globe. First held in 1982, the five-day championship event invites the polo chapters from India, Scotland, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand and Nepal to Tiger Tops, a conservation resort in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park.
Elephant polo, played primarily in countries like India, Nepal and Thailand, follows similar rules as the traditional sport, though the pitch (or field) is a bit smaller, players wield longer mallets made from cane or bamboo and two people ride the elephant: the player and the mahout who steers the animal. Each team has four players and four elephants who work to score across the opposing team’s goal line. The tournament is played on a grass airstrip at the northern edge of Chitwan National Park, with players and guests staying at the nearby Jungle Lodge.