Sports in India
Indians are known for their passionate outbursts and nowhere else it is better manifested than in the sports field. Sports as a form of entertainment dates back to the Vedic era when chariot racing and wrestling received great Royal patronage. Keeping with Indian values of truth and sacrifice, sports in India had always been viewed as an extension of religious life. The sportsmen of India have always been educated in displaying true sportsman spirit, which sends across the message that the sportsmen must take victories and failures in their strides with equanimity.
Hockey, in which India has an impressive record with eight Olympic gold medals, is officially the national sport. Other popular games are football, cricket, basketball, volleyball and badminton. Among the indigenously developed games, the most popular are kabaddi and kho-kho. Equestrian sports like tent pegging has a uniquely Indian flavor and is reminiscent of the time of the colonial rule. Camel races and elephant races are also uniquely Indian in spirit. Water sports like the snake-boat race, which takes place in the backwaters of Kerala during the Onam festival, has now become an international tourist attraction.
Known to carry emotions on their sleeves, the frenzy for sports can be understood if you watch the way the people idolize and worship the successful sportsmen and women in the country. However, there are regional pockets, which illustrate the height of sports enthusiasm centering around specific sports in particular seasons. The football tournaments in Kolkata are a perfect example of this seasonal sports mania.
Wrestling is considered as one of the traditional sports in India. It is believed to have originated in ancient India and is particularly popular in the Northern part of the country with a healthy rivalry among the three key states, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi. Other traditional sports include Vallamkali or boat races in Kerala during the festival of “Onam”. It increases the footfall in the region with people coming from almost every corner of the world. Known as the “Desert Jewel of India”, Rajasthan shimmers with even more vibrancy during the time of its colorful fairs and festivals. The enchanting desert city of Bikaner pulsates with music and dance during the famed Camel Festival which provides the travelers wonderful opportunity to watch some fascinating folk performances, camel race, camel dance and many more sports involving camels. On a full moon night the fair looks so beautiful that you will simply forget the difference between dream and reality.
India is considered as the cradle of modern day Polo. It is here that this game of kings was rediscovered and nurtured since the medieval times. Polo Holidays are increasingly becoming popular in India and offer a memorable experience. It has diversified in recent years and attracts many tourists willing to experience the adventure of playing while riding a horse, camel or even an elephant.
In India, cricket is not only a game; it is a religion. The success in the cricket pitch heightens national pride while defeat is followed by elaborate national mourning. India also boasts of grand cricket stadiums like Eden Gardens that is often compared to the Lords in England. Nowhere can you find a place more perfect to experience spontaneous out burst of human emotion than in a cricket stadium. Football, on the other hand, is the second most popular game in India, particularly in the states of West Bengal, Goa and Kerela. If you want to see the craze associated with football and enjoy the passion for soccer, simply visit Kolkata and watch a soccer match between the traditional rivals, East Bengal and Mohan Bagan.