Field hockey is India’s national sport and one way to take pride in the game is by including these play venues in your itinerary.
Celebrated on August 29, National Sports Day commemorates the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand Singh. This day was included in the list of celebratory days in India for the first time in 2012 and since then, it’s also celebrated for spreading awareness around the importance of physical activities and sports in life. This year makes this day even more special with India recently winning the bronze medal in hockey at the Tokyo Olympics. Not only that, India will soon have its largest hockey stadium in Rourkela by the end of July 2022.
So, while we wait for this stadium to get built, Booking.com, the leader in connecting people to the widest choice of destinations, has curated a list of hockey stadiums around the country that you can visit now, as an ode to Dhyan Chand and the sport he mastered, and maybe enjoy a game of hockey while you’re there too!
Shilaroo Hockey Stadium, Himachal Pradesh
Known to be the highest hockey stadium in the world, Shilaroo Hockey Stadium is located at an altitude of 8,000 feet in Shilaroo, a small highway village located about 55 kms ahead of Shimla. Surrounded by beautiful Narkanda and Hatu peaks, this stadium was constructed by the Sports Authority of India in 2010. The stadium boasts of one of the most modern facilities for hockey including synthetic turf, and indoor facilities for handball, volleyball, badminton and many other sports, and also has a gymnasium and hostel facilities.
What else: Once done exploring the stadium and its splendid view, you can go for forest walks, visit the local market, spend time at Manan temple or trek to the Hatu Peak.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Hockey Stadium, Chhattisgarh
Inaugurated on the 109th birth anniversary of the legendary hockey player Major Dhyan Chand in 2015, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Hockey Stadium is one of most renowned hockey stadiums located in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. With a capacity of 4,000 spectators, this stadium has blue astroturf and is the second international hockey stadium in Chhattisgarh. This stadium saw its first match between the men’s national field hockey teams of India and Australia on November 19, 2015.
What else: After you visit the stadium in the morning, you could spend the rest of the day on a jeep safari through the Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary or hiking to the tallest mountain in the region, Kila Dongri or Gadiya Mountain.
Maulana Md. Tayabullah Hockey Stadium, Assam
Built in 2007, the Maulana Md. Tayabullah Hockey Stadium is a field hockey stadium in Guwahati. With a seating capacity of 2,000 people, this stadium has witnessed many important matches in the past. It was the hockey venue for the 33rd National Games of India in 2007, 12th South Asian Games in 2016, and the 2020 Khelo India Youth Games.
What else: Make a stop at this stadium surrounded by greenery and then head on to explore the beautiful city of Guwahati. You can start off with an outing to the State Zoo, spot the great Indian One-horned rhinoceros at Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary and end the day by taking a long stroll down Nehru Park with family and friends.
Shaheed Bhagat Singh Stadium, Punjab
Firozpur, a city of historical relevance in Punjab, is nestled on the banks of the river Sutlej. It is home to the Shaheed Bhagat Singh stadium that is mainly used for field hockey and has also seen many hockey legends in action, including Major Dhyan Chand himself.
What else: When in Firozpur, you can also visit the Jain Mandir, Pothimala, and Gurudwara Gurusar. There are also several museums and memorials, such as the Anglo Sikh War Memorial, Saragarhi Memorial, National Martyrs Memorial, and Barki Memorial, that give an insight into the glorious history of Firozpur. And if you are someone who loves to embrace natural and ecological settings, you can visit the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary located around 58 kms from here.
Kollam International Hockey Stadium, Kerala
The Kollam International Hockey stadium is located in Kollam, a city in Kerala that is historically known to be an ancient trade hub. The stadium is known to be first of its kind in Kerala with a seating capacity of 5,000 spectators. The stadium has a very scenic vibe as it is surrounded by the lush environs around the Ashtamudi Lake.
What else: While you visit the stadium when it is safe to do so, you can also explore the city of Kolam. The beaches, the temples and the rustic villages make Kollam a remarkable experience. While in Kollam, you can also add Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary to your checklist if you are looking at spending some time amidst nature.