Outside India, this game gained popularity and people started playing in countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The elephant polo kit features a standard polo ball and a six-to-ten-foot cane stick with a polo ball at the end.
Initially, when the game was first played, the soccer ball was used, but now it has been replaced by the standard polo ball. The field is three-quarters of the length of a typical polo field and this is often thanks to the low speed of the elephants. Two people ride each elephant, and the elephants are led by the mahouts (Elephant Riders), while the player tells the Mahut which route he should take to hit the ball.
Elephant polo started around 1982 in Nepal and it was the bizarre idea of two British businessmen, Jim Edwards and James Manclark. When Edward’s friend and polo lover, Manclark came up with the idea of playing polo with elephants, the idea of the sport germinated.
The game between friends has now become an annual tournament, attracting polo lovers and players from all over the globe while offering an admixture of sports and fun. Today, the World Elephant Polo Association functions as an umbrella organization in Nepal, and 8 teams compete in each game for 5 days in November.
The rules and regulations of elephant polo have changed since it started. The pitch has been shortened while the ballpoints are long, and if the elephant is sitting or lying on the ground, the opposing team is awarded a penalty. Due to the slow speed of the elephants, the pitch size has been reduced from the original polo position to 70-100 meters. This unusual game has always attracted large numbers of people and is gaining popularity with each passing year.