Playing Polo On Top of the World in Himalayan India
Polo isn't just for the cushy confines of Palm Beach and the Hamptons. In far-northern India they've been playing a more rough-and-tumble version of the sport, called "the ancestors' game", for hundreds of years. In September the annual Ladakh Festival Polo Cup will take place in the mountainous town of Leh, 11,500 feet above sea level. Against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas, local civilian and Army teams "battle it out in a haphazard, no-rules display of sportsmanship," the Christian Science Monitor notes. Grueling games last for an hour, with one 10-minute break at halftime, and the condition of the players' horses often determines the outcome. The championship is sponsored by the State Tourism Office of the Indian government, and hundreds of villagers, city dwellers, and foreign tourists turn out to watch "at their own risk".