About 160 km from Guwahati is the Misa Polo Club, from the era of the English Planters – a place with an imposing facade that dates back to 1888. It was conceived as a social polo club for the planters and British District Administration Heads, thus becoming a one-of-a-kind retreat to break free from the monotony. Owing to its historic significance as a camp hosting the Allied Forces during the World War II, the club set the wheels in motion for the establishment of the Misa Army Base around its periphery. While the helipad and airstrip remain as a constant reminder of the fallout during the War, the helipad remains functional as it is frequently used by dignitaries.
During its heydays, the club was a melting pot of different identities coming together and spending many evenings over tea and cigars, while the afternoons were devoted to polo matches. Time brought along with it the great wear and tear, and hence the polo club could not withstand the passage of time and thus, became decrepit. Restored and refurbished under the initiative of the Amalgamated Plantations, the club has been reinstated to its earlier glory.
This project, the completion of which took nearly a year and a half, and thus in the winter of 2014, the club opened its doors again to people wandering upon its turf. The new facilities were inaugurated by the former Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi. With an 18-hole golf course that hosts several golf tournaments along with basketball and tennis courts, the list of recreational activities doesn’t end at that.
A billiards table restored from the ages finds its way inside the elegant interiors of the club where an antique piano rests gracefully inside the bar. Table tennis, a library well stocked with books from that era, a well-equipped gymnasium and a niche for children to play in, adds to quality leisure time. Complemented by a well-stocked bar and a fully functioning restaurant that serves up traditional planters fare, local cuisines and refreshments.
Located in the midst of the lush greenery of the Kellyden Ttea Estate, off national highway 37, the club is an hour’s distance from the Kaziranga National Park. While winters are the ideal time to take a trip down to the club, the summers have their fair share of activities as well. Going beyond the plethora of recreational activities, the plantation and tea factory visits are other interesting activities that keep the visitors occupied.
As plans of expansion are in the pipeline, cottages along the golf course are to be created to put up guests for a few nights. Also noteworthy are the cricket matches organised during the months of January and February that witness the best of sportsmanship and camaraderie amongst the planters, army officers and civilians. A paradise for birdwatchers, feast your eyes on the different kinds of birds that seek shelter there during the harsh winter months.
Take a stroll in the wide expanse of the club, put your feet up and leaf through a book, savour the best of tea as the sun dips low over the horizon or involve yourself in a flurry of activities, the club with its excellent staff sees to it that your time there is indeed memorable. Thus, a much-needed escape from the hustle bustle of the city, a well-deserved break from strenuous work or a break from mundane life, the Miss Polo Club is where the roads should lead you to. Drive down to this little haven to experience a bygone era at its finest.
All image courtesies: Amalgamated Plantations