The enthusiasm surrounding cricket is unmatched by any other sport in our nation. This obsession with cricket spans across the entire length and breadth of the country, which is studded with majestic stadiums that occupy a special place in people’s hearts. We bring you the trivia behind three such magnificent playing grounds along with the other attractions offered by the city.
Source: Rajasthan Royals
The Sawai Man Singh Stadium or SMS Stadium as it is fondly referred to was built in 1969. Since then it has hosted many memorable matches including the solitary test between India and Pakistan in 1987. This match was played under the “Cricket for Peace Initiative”, and saw the then Pakistan PM, Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, visit the pink city to witness it. The stadium also hosted two World Cup matches in the years 1987 and 1996 respectively.
If you happen to be in the city to watch a match at the SMS Stadium, do consider visiting the stunning royal structures in the city. Hawa Mahal, Amber Palace, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Jaigarh Fort, Jal Mahal, Nahargarh Fort, and Ram Niwas Garden are all worth a visit when in Jaipur. After you have had your fill of forts and palaces, head to the bustling bazaars (Johri Bazaar & Bapu Bazaar) which are brimming with magnificent artifacts and souvenirs.
Initially named the ‘Auckland Circus Gardens’, it was probably owing to the stately appearance of the stadium that its name was changed to the Eden Gardens- inspired by Adam and Eve’s beautiful Garden of Eden. The oldest stadium in India and Kolkata’s crowning glory, the Eden Gardens is amongst the most iconic stadiums worldwide. It has witnessed numerous matches and national and international legends adorn its grounds for ages. One cannot claim to be a true cricket fan until they have watched a match here!
Besides the priceless experience of being a part of the Eden Gardens crowd, there are plenty of spots to visit in Kolkata. Most of them such as the Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and South Park Cemetery are architectural marvels from colonial times. You can also visit the Marble Palace Mansion, Birla Planetarium, Science City, and Indian Museum which make for a fun-filled outing for adults as well as kids.
When it comes to beauty and picturesque setting, the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium (HPCA) in Dharamshala has few rivals. Located at an altitude of 1457m, this stadium in Dharamshala gives you two views- one of the games and the other of the mighty Himalayas in the backdrop. Even those who aren’t a fan of the game might turn into one here!
Aside from this stunning stadium, Dharamshala has a plethora of charming spots to delight tourists. Take your pick from Namgyal Monastery, Tsuglagkhang Complex, Tibet Museum, St. John Church in the Wilderness, Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Bhagsunag Falls, Kangra Fort, and Gyuto Tantric Monastery Centre. If you would like to get closer to the pristine beauty of the Himalayas then trek through the gorgeous terrain with treks like Triund Trek, Lahesh Caves Trek, Kareri Lake Trek, etc. which are an excellent way to acquaint yourself with the flora and fauna and enjoy the regal views.
Cricket lover or not, these three stadiums and the beautiful cities that house them have all the ingredients for a great vacation.