British Polo Team Madras, Old Photo 1888
This is an old 1888 photograph of the British Government House polo team, Madras, now Chennai. The Government House was located at Guindy now it is the Raj Bhavan. With its wide expanse of ground of 400 acres, it was the ideal place for playing polo. The British evidently believed in sports and games besides imparting their duties in ruling the empire.
Some of the active sports and games recreations other than polo were cricket, football, hockey, badminton, tennis, and so on. Not to mention horseracing, billiards, snooker, bridge, table tennis, etc. Other popular sports pastimes included tiger shooting, fox hunting, pig-sticking, and tent pegging. These were practiced primarily by the Indian Maharajas or the military and civilian workforce.
Ladies of Victorian India were not behind in games and sports but it was a quieter affair. Photographs depict them at badminton, tennis, riding, rowing, and fishing. Coming back to polo it was the sport of British officers and maharajas. But every member of the Indian Civil Service had to be able to ride a horse.
The first western players appear to have been European tea planters in Assam. They had learned it in the Northeastern state of Manipur. Looking on, possibly after a game are four officers of the Government House, Madras on horsebacks under the shade of a huge banyan tree. A bit amusing to note the neckties they wear since Madras is not known for its cool weather. Click on the photo for better view.
Did you know- that chess originated in India in around the 6th century AD.
From the collection- 1964 M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal Art Abstract (#16)., United Service Club Calcutta – Old Postcard 1903., 1808 The Baby Elephant Antique Print From Buffon., View Of Cochin – Antique Hand coloured Plan 1704