Elephant Polo


Elephant polo is a variant of polo played while riding elephants. It is played in NepalRajasthan (India), and Thailand. England and Scotland regularly field teams. The equipment consists of a standard polo ball and six to ten-foot cane (similar to bamboo) sticks with a polo mallet head on the end. The pitch is three-quarters of the length of a standard polo pitch, due to the lower speed of the elephants. Two people ride each elephant; the elephants are steered by mahouts, while the player tells the mahout which way to go and hits the ball.

Elephant polo originated in Meghauli, Nepal. Tiger Tops in Nepal remains the headquarters of elephant polo and the site of the World Elephant Polo Championships.


It started out as a whimsical conversation between two sport lovers and evolved into the adventurous sport of polo played on the back of elephants.

The World Elephant Polo Association established the governing rules for Elephant Polo in 1982; the association has its headquarters at the Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in the Royal Chitwan Park in Nepal, which is where the World Elephant Polo Tournament played every year on a grassy airfield in Megauly. This tournament is played within a small circuit of Nepal and Thailand.


  1. The Game will be played by four players on each team. The game is played on a marked pitch of “100-120 metres x 60-80 metres”, using a standard size polo ball.
  2. The game will consist of two 10 minutes chukkers of playing time, with an interval of 15 minutes. The whistle blown by the referee stops and starts play.
  3. The pitch will be marked with a centre line, a circle with a radius of 10 metres in the centre of the field, and a semi-circle, in front of the goals, with a radius of 20 metres, measured from the centre of the goal to form the ‘D’.
  4. Elephants and ends are changed at half time.
  5. The complete ball must travel over the sideline or back line, to be out, and completely across the goal line to be a goal.
  6. All throws-ins or set pieces must be off-side to off-side. Right hand for both men & women players must be the dominant side.

Both men and women players must play on the right side of the elephant. Men may only use only their right hand. However, women may use two hands to hold the polo stick if they so wish. If women choose to play with one hand not two, then it must be their right hand only (and not the left). Care must be taken when changing sides of play, in order to avoid injury with the stick to other players, or elephants. When the Umpire/ Referee judge dangerous play has been committed, a spot hit shall be given to the opposing team. All defending elephants and players must be 15 metres from the spot.

  1. Teams may bring additional players, reserves, to interchange with other members of the team, as long as the number, names and arrangements have been agreed in advance by WEPA. Team members playing will be named the evening before a match. The changes, except in the case of injury where a replacement is needed, must be done at half-time when names will be given to the Referee, time-keepers/ commentators.


The World Elephant Polo Association established by Mr. A. V. Jim Edwards has inspired the formation of many Elephant Polo associations in various countries and today WEPA is proud to celebrate its twenty-fifth birthday. And on this very auspicious occasion, WEPA would also like to express its hearty gratitude to all its admirers and great supporters for supporting WEPA all these years and taking it to greater heights.