The word ‘gymkhana’ probably originated from the Hindi word gendkhana, an area similar to a racket ball court, with the first syllable influenced by the English word ‘gym.’
The first ‘gymkhana’, established in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in1863 was responsible for the ones in India, which originated in 19th century. The oldest is in Delhi, the Imperial Delhi Gymkhana Club. Spencer Harcourt Butler was its first president, and it moved to its present location in 1913.
Among the top 10 gymkhanas in Mumbai, the oldest is the 141-year-old Bombay Gymkhana, sprawled over 30,000 sqm in the Fort area.
Many of the structures within its premises date back to 1907, retained to preserve its historical appeal.
Apart from sports facilities, it’s a place for socialising, meeting new people, and enhancing the quality of life in urban settlements in open spaces in the middle of the city. The benefit of becoming a member is considered being more upper crust, being part of the privileged few to avail unlimited facilities.
Getting a membership is pretty expensive, and the waiting list is long, but, it’s cheap considering the facilities, viz. subsidised price for food and beverages, a variety of sports, accommodation, and a store with basic necessities.
It can be used to entertain non-members, hold business meetings in relaxed surroundings, while many have affiliation to clubs in India, and overseas as well.
Gymkhanas have a dress code. You cannot wear rubber slippers or go barefoot. The Wellington Gym, in Mumbai, did not allow world renowned artist, MF Husain, to enter barefoot. And, in other clubs in South India, it’s statutory to wear a lounge suit on Saturday evenings and a dinner jacket for formal occasions.
Many have introduced new facilities and membership fees have increased tenfold. But, down the road, if your children want to become members, they get priority and a hefty discount in membership fees.
PANJIM GETS A GYMKHANA
Goa's first sporting complex, Panjim Gymkhana, was the brainchild of the first Chief Minister of Goa, Daman & Diu, Dayanand Bandodkar, popularly known as Bhausaheb, was a dedicated and inspired sportsman, who germinated the idea for a sporting complex in 1963.
It was five years later that the marshy land in Campal was filled with soil from his Velgem mines. A small building was built in 1968, with a cricket pitch comprised of a matting surface. Bandodkar was the first president of the gymkhana.
In 1976, the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) asked the State to host Ranji Trophy matches and sponsored a ‘turf pitch’ which was ready by 1978. It was then that the wheels started turning.
It’s rare to find a sports club located near a river. Comparable to some of the best sports clubs in the country, it has nurtured some of Goa’s best sportspeople. Besides that, acclaimed cricket legends Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Chandu Borde, Poly Umrigar, Vijay Merchant, Dilip Sardesai, Farokh Engineer, Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, to name a few, have walked these grounds.
In the last ten years, the scenario has changed, and many new facilities have been implemented provide a mix of sports and leisure activities.
The long felt need for a state-of-the-art sporting complex started in three stages when the new committee took over in 2012 with Manoj Caculo as president. They have left no stone unturned to provide the best infrastructure and facilities for cricket with a lush green cricket ground and excellent coaching facilities.
Members can avail a 25% discount on food and beverages for up to 9 guests, 500 seating capacity air conditioned banquet hall at 50% discount, and waterfront lawns for personal functions at 25% discount.
Presently, the facilities available are the use of the swimming pool, 2 tennis courts, half basketball court, badminton court, table tennis, billiards, carrom, cricket ground and gym. A library and rooms will be added shortly.
Life Membership fee for one member and his/ her spouse:
Non-refundable: ₹ 2,50,000 + 18% GST (₹ 45,000) = ₹ 2,95,000
Patron Membership: ₹ 3,00,000 + (₹ GST 54,000) = ₹ 3,54,000
Donor Membership: ₹ 3,50,000 + (₹ GST 63,000) = ₹ 4,13,000
For more details about Panjim Gymkhana, membership and facilities, contact +91 917526248