Visiting Teams & Rules

Visiting Teams

Original rules for Manipuri Polo (Pana SagolKangjei)(Not Applicable Now)

  • 1. Player:

    (a) He or she must be a good rider.

    (b) No left hander is allowed to play Polo,

  • 2. Pony:

    (a) No defective pony is allowed to play Polo.

    (b) Pony should be healthy.

    (c) Polo can be played on ponies of any height.

3. * Manipuri pony is a typical animal (one of the four recognised Indian breeds of the horses of the World) with a height between 11 and 13 hands high (1 hh-4 inches), short back, good shoulder and well developed hind quarters. It is a sure footed and sturdy, alert head, deep girth, high set tail and long endurance animal.

4. Composition of team: A Polo Team is comprised of seven players with their ponies.

5. Pologround: Size of the standard pologround is 160 Sana Lamjei long and 80 Sana Lamjei wide, (A Sana Lamjei is equivalent to six feet) rectangular in shape and turfed one. However this game may be played in smaller field also to suit the local condition.

6. Size of ball: The size of a Polo Ball is about 100 mm. in diameter and about 150 gms. in weight and it is made of well seasoned bamboo root.

7. Polo Stick: The mallet or the Polo stick is made of seasoned cane which is about four and half feet long, having a narrow wooden head (about eight inches long) fixed on its top at an angle of about 45 degree approximately. The portion of handle of the stick is covered by colourful cotton threads.

8. Players' Dress: Polo players wear Pheijom (Dhoti), may be cotton or silk, but the dhoti should be weared above the knee. The player should wear a Kokyet (Turban) on the head fixed by a chin strap known as Khadangchet and a traditional jacket with short sleeves.

No shoe is used but to protect the ankles, the players use a piece of leather or thickly folded cloth known as Khuning Khang that is bandaged by a long narrow piece of cloth around the ankles. In between the knees and ankles players use Pads or thick leather as the guard of shins and calves known as Khongyom that is also fastened by straps. Colour of the shirt or jacket and chin strap or Khadangchet should be according to their respective Pan a colour.

9. Saddlery: Manipuri Polo players use rather heavy and clumsy traditional Manipuri saddles with high projecting pommel and cantels. Curved flaps of mithun or buffalo skins are suspended from the saddle on both sides of the mount so as to protect the legs of the players which are already covered reaching from ankle to the knee. Ponies are also well protected by the flaps of leather as well as by the big round balls of colourful soft cotton suspended from their heads and backs which look like the ornaments for the animals. A leather whip is carried by the player in his left hand. Other tack is similar to what is generally found elsewhere in rural environments.

10. Duration of Game: In traditional Manipuri Polo, there is no fixed duration of time of a match. It is according to the number of goals to be scored as fixed earlier by the rival teams before the start of the match. But, in no case the goals should be less than seven. If the number of goals fixed earlier cannot be scored in a day, the match may continue on the next day or the other. In a challenge match, if a team scores the stipulated number of goals against their counterpart the team may declare at their wish that the match is ended.

11. Start of the Game: The Referee or HuntreHunba will call out the mounted players in the midfield and ask them to line up. The HuntreHunba will throw the ball upward as high as possible in the air shouting 'Huntre' to indicate the start of the match and he has to come out quickly from the playing area. HuntreHunba is done after every goal is scored.

12. Half time of the match: There is a change of sides known as Pallonba when half of the stipulated goals have been scored by any team in traditional Manipuri Polo game.

13. During the half time of the match there is Pot Lanba meaning presentation of sweets, fruits, other eatables and flowers by the Polo fans, women folk and villagers to the dignitaries who witness the match and the Polo players. There is great merriment.

14. Foul: Earlier there was no definite rules regarding foul in the traditional Manipuri Polo. For example, when the ball is thrown in the mid air by the HuntreHunba or by linesmen, the players are at the liberty to catch the ball by hand or strike the ball by Polo stick before it reaches the ground. A mounted player is allowed to pick up the ball from the ground if he can get the ball to roll up the mallet by a flick of hand and catch the ball in hand and carry the same to the goal line before he strikes it by throwing in the air towards the goal line. There is no restriction to the player regarding his right of way so long as he is in control of the ball.

15. Sir Churachand Singh, the then king of Manipur in 1928 forbade 'Sagoltupnaba' or crossing the right of way and 'Hairou' or deliberate striking and hooking the opponent's stick above the height of the ponies or across the opponent's pony. These are the fouls prevailing in Manipuri Polo.

16. Replacement of Player: There is no restriction to replace a mounted player during the match. It is done according to the desire of the team management

17. Score: In traditional Manipuri Polo, there is no goal post. A goal is scored by a team when the ball crosses the end lines of width of the field. The score of a goal is formally announced by the blow of conch or by striking a bell or gong.

18. Final Authority to settle dispute: If a Polo match is to be played, there should be someone whom the people respect and who could decide when there is any dispute during the match. That very respectable person should be the "Kangburel", final authority of the particular match. Usually, Pana matches are played before the Ruler so as to solve any dispute.

Polo Season: The game of Polo is interwoven with the ancient cult of Manipuris. Some ritual meanings are attached to it. There is certain period in a year when the Polo game is forbidden to play. It cannot be played in the period of 'Laicheppa' (June or July) to 'Lai Lengkhatpa' (September or October) in a year. Thus, the Manipuri Polo season starts from October and ends in the month of June of the next year which covers eight months in a Polo season.