Eighth (8th) is a charm when it comes to polo, and celebrating its 8th edition in India was this year’s British Polo, presented by Chelsea Barracks in association with VistaJet. With the royal families of Rajasthan – Jaipur and Jodhpur – at the helm of the affair, the India edition concluded with two exciting days of polo and grandeur evenings hosted by His Highness The Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur where the world’s business, cultural and lifestyle leaders came together over several games of polo.
On the ground, the British Army VistaJet team lost to Jodhpur II 2-5 for the Umaid Bhawan Palace Cup while Jodhpur I, who took on Mundota for the Yuvraj Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur plate, saw the game ending in a 5-5 honourable draw.
British Polo Day celebrated its 71st global event in India and along with founders Tom Hudson and Ben Vestey, the colourful guest list included HRH Gaj Singh of Jodhpur; Padmanabh Singh, polo player and from the royal family of Jaipur; Polo player Angad Kalaan; Nader Iskander , Brand Director of Middle East and India for Jaeger LeCoultre; former England Captain and Royal Salute World Polo Ambassador Malcolm Borwick; Peter Prentice, Royal Salute Global VIP Relationships Director & Chairman Keepers of The Quaich Society; Countess Sheena Boisgelin, India Head for Vistajet; Lady Katharina Chelsea and Duchess Emma Manners with her daughter, Violet Manners, among others.
A total of £38,000 was raised for Head Injuries Through Sport, a charity close to the heart of British Polo Day. The auction takings were greatly assisted by the sale of a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Tribute Duoface watch engraved with the coat of arms of Marwar-Jodhpur, which went under the hammer for $18,000.
A very special appearance was made by Yuvraj Shivraj Singh of Jodhpur, who was injured in a polo match in 2005 and it was after he partially recovered after being in the coma for two months that his father, Gaj Singh established the Indian Head Injuries Foundation. Himself a keen polo aficionado, here is what Gaj Singh had to say: “Britain and India have a rich and complex heritage that through polo comes to life with a modern twist. It is a wonderful platform for British and Indian friends to meet up over a long weekend or even a couple of days in the middle of the week and celebrate the ties that bind us.”
Ben Vestey, CEO and Partner of British Polo Day, said: “British Polo Day is delighted to be returning to Jodhpur for the 8th year running, the event that is a magnificent jewel in the BPD crown. The base of partners – with over 2,000 years of combined heritage between them – says so much about the relationship building opportunities that British Polo Day creates. British business continues to prosper in India, and myself and Chairman Tom Hudson are delighted that British Polo Day can be a part of this success story.”
When you play hard, you party even harder. And that was the mood of the extravaganza on both the nights – a gala cultural performance at the majestic Mehrangarh Fort and the last day of auctions and partying at the grand and opulent Umaid Bhawan Palace that left the guests asking for more. Royal Salute even designed an India-centric cocktail, the Rose Cocktail to mark the 75th anniversary of the coronation of both Queen Elizabeth as well as the Maharaja of Marwar-Jodhpur, H.H. Gaj Singh II. Barnabe Fillion, a world-famous perfumer, and the nose behind the creation of this cocktail said, “Roses are all about opulence. They are also about romance. What better place to celebrate it than the land of romance and royalty, Rajasthan.”
The aroma of the three-day event will certainly linger on until next year when BPD returns to India for another season of polo and luxury.
Text and images by Aarti Kapur Singh