Follow the Ball – Travel with the Cricket Obsession

Getting into the Indian cricket obsession is one of the greatest travel experiences!

Indians play cricket all the time, all over the country. It could be on a potato field in an altitude of 4000m on the great Himalayan ridge, or some city’s dump yard in the vast plains between the Ganga and the Yamuna, or under the palm trees in the south. It doesn’t matter where, as long as they can hit the ball and run as fast as the wind blows.

Any square yard of the ground is good enough for children and adults to come together to throw the ball. It doesn’t have to be a yard it could be on the streets, alleys between traffic, any space is suitable for these dreamers to join the great legends of India’s modern history. These legends have inspired generations to play cricket. Cricket is a religion in India. It doesn’t matter where you are traveling, the India cricket Josh (spirit, enthusiasm) is all over.

You don’t need to understand the game, you don’t even have to love it, but don’t miss the opportunity that cricket opens you to as a traveler. So many tourists do not even notice the true devotion that is displayed towards the game.

Here is what someone told me on one of my trips when I was leaving a temple that I had visited in Uttar Khand in northern India. A group of children was crowded in the courtyard of the temple playing a game of cricket. “What do you want from us? We’re here for the ‘spirit’ of India…not to watch silly cricket matches”! Well, let me tell you the spirit of modern Indian is very much connected with Cricket. Cricket provides the ultimate Tamasha (entertainment) and that means everything to the locals.

THE CRICKET MADNESS (PAGALPAAN) IS ALL OVER!

When school is off there is nothing more fun than to go to the nearest park or schoolyard to play cricket. Sometimes, you can see so many people going there to watch the games, just sitting there cheering the teams like it is the IPL (Indian premier league) finals. This is a true neighbourhood entertainment that drives the crowd wild. Maybe it is the unique, unexpected moments in the game, the spontaneity of the matches that is the great appeal of cricket in India. This is the core of the Tamasha.

So if a schoolyard game can be such an attractive sporting event where people gather together to enjoy the game and cheer, just think what happens when the Indian national team plays against Pakistan for example. It stops traffic on the streets, usually busy roads are in deep silence, everybody’s gathering around the television to watch the game. Even the cows!

Click here to read more about Cricket In India: How it all started and how it has become a national obsession!

About Peter Rhody

"Loving India is a passion of mine. I have enjoyed several long journeys to all corners of the sub-continent, completed my B.A and M.A in Asian studies, studied languages such as Hindi, Urdu, and Sanskrit, written on the Hari Krishna movement, lectured on Indian culture and history in university, advised others on their trips to India all the while preparing my next visit to India. There are so many places in India I love and want to always go back to but my favorite destination has to be the holy city of Varanasi. Here you can feel the living pulse and the beating heart of the center of religious India with its overwhelming spirituality and history and just for being a true microcosm of India itself "

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