The Rajpipla Polo Team was quite a unique royal family foursome in the 1940s, led by Maharaja Vijaysinhji, and comprising his three sons (then) Yuvraj Rajendrasinhji, Maharajkumar Pramodsinhji and Maharajkumar Indrajitsinhji (also known as Billy). Overlooking the Rajpipla polo ground was the Maharaja Vijaysinh Gymkhana from where family members and guests would be regaled by matches played nearly every winter evening. Often guests from overseas would be seen playing the game.
After Maharaja Vijaysinhji won the Epsom Derby of England in 1934, his good friend, the author Vivian Charles Buckley, wrote about him in Sunday Graphic and Sunday News: “This kindly host is almost as fond of polo as racing, and every evening in India he either plays himself or watches a game from the terrace of his private gymkhana club with his relations, staff and guests. A military band plays by the side of the ground, and the sound of galloping hoofs may be heard till well after dusk – when the moon rises a golden crescent behind the goalposts”.
Even earlier, in the 1920s and 1930s, Maharaja Vijaysinhji would be joined by his younger brothers Maharajkumar Champaksinhji, Maharajkumar Kishoresinhji and Maharajkumar Natvarsinhji. Governor of Bombay Presidency Sir Frederick Sykes enjoyed playing a few matches during his visit to Rajpipla in February 1926. In the late 1930s, Maharaja Vijaysinhji’s good friend Maharaja Man Singhji of Jaipur displayed his skills at the game at the Rajpipla polo ground. Horses were dear to Maharaja Vijaysinhji of Rajpipla. If it was polo at Rajpipla, it was racing at Calcutta and Bombay, and indeed in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Belgium. The row of stables in Rajpipla stood testimony to his fondness for horses. They would be groomed and put to their paces every morning, and be ready for polo matches in the evening. It was a way of life that gradually disappeared. The game survived in India as a result of patronage of the army, and lately corporate support in a few cities. But back in the days of the princes, the sport had a charm of its own.