Elephant polo to continue in Nepal despite founder’s death

April 13th, 2009 - 2:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, April 13 (IANS) In the midst of mourning the passing away of the man who introduced Nepal to elephant polo, a prime tourist attraction, officials Monday said they would continue with the annual championship without any break.
“We will continue to hold the World Elephant Polo Championship in southern Nepal in winter as per schedule,” said Yadav Bantawa, general manager at Tiger Tops, a famed jungle lodge in Chitwan in southern Nepal that promotes wildlife tourism in the Himalayan republic.

The unique elephant polo championship, held in Meghauli in Chitwan every winter, is the brainchild of Jim Edwards, British adventurer and entrepreneur extraordinaire who embraced Nepal as his home and lived there for four decades before succumbing to debilitating health problems last month.

The 73-year-old, who began his illustrious career as a delivery boy for a butcher, started Nepal’s first wildlife tourism company in 1964, two years after his arrival, and then eventually in the 70s, set up his Tiger Mountain adventure company that gave western tourists the flavour of wild Nepal as well as exotic journeys to Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir.

In 1981, he formed the World Elephant Polo Association with James Manclark and the game became an annual fixture in Nepal’s sports calendar.

Edwards will be laid to rest at the cemetery of the British Embassy in Kathmandu Friday.

He is survived by his partner, India Tia Tularongsen, and three sons.

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