India has a fan following for every sport, be it cricket, football, athletics, hockey or tennis. Sports stadiums throughout the country remained shut due to the pandemic; however, athletes across the country agree that stadiums are the lifeline of any sport. In sports like cricket, football, hockey and more, a cheering fan base can go a long way and sometimes even mark the difference between winning and losing.
Before we go through the list, a really special mention for the Narendra Modi Cricket Stadium in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Previously called the Motera stadium, it is now the largest cricket stadium in the world with a capacity of 110,000. One can only imagine the support any home team will get when playing in front of such a crowd.
Now, let us take a look at the remaining top 10 stadiums in India.
1. Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium), Kolkata
Popularly known as Salt Lake Stadium, this football stadium is also known for being the main home of ATK Mohun Bagan. It has a seating capacity of 85,000. It hosted the first match of the Indian Super League (ISL), and was graced by the presence of football superstar Lionel Messi in a friendly match between Argentina and Venezuela.
2. Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Delhi
The host ground for the 1982 Asian Games, the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi has a seating capacity of over 60,000. It has been known to host the opening ceremony, athletic events and the closing ceremony in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. The stadium has also been host to several I-League matches and ISL matches.
3. EMS Stadium, Kozhikode
Named after Kerala’s first chief minister E.M.S. Namboodiripad, EMS Stadium has a seating capacity of 80,000 and has been the host of several football games. It is the home ground for the Gokulam Kerala FC team in the I-League.
4. Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Eden Gardens is known all over the world by cricket fans as one of the best stadiums. It has a seating capacity of over 80,000 and is one of the first stadiums to be built exclusively for the sport of cricket, which is also why it is known as “batsman’s paradise”. Some noteworthy events hosted here were World Cup, World Twenty20 and Asia Cup.
5. M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
Coming second to Eden Gardens as the oldest cricket stadium in the country, M.A. Chidambaram stadium is the home ground of IPL team Chennai Super Kings. Moreover, the stadium is known for being very appreciative of sports, applauding Pakistan’s Test match win in 1999.
6. Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Wankhede stadium was host to one of India’s most memorable cricket wins, the 2011 World Cup finals between India and Sri Lanka. It has a seating capacity of over 33,000 and is also home to the Indian Premier League (IPL) team, Mumbai Indians.
7. Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar
Kalinga stadium is a multipurpose stadium that has facilities for many sports such as athletics, football, field hockey, wall climbing and more. It has a seating capacity of 15,000. The stadium will be host to the now postponed FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, marking India’s first time hosting a FIFA Women’s football tournament.
8. Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, Delhi
Host for the first Asian Games conducted in 1951, Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium is a field hockey stadium in Delhi. It has a seating capacity of over 16,000 and underwent renovations for the Hockey World Cup 2010. It was the first venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be revealed.
9. Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) Tennis Stadium
With a seating capacity of 5,800 people, SDAT Tennis Stadium has home to Indian Open tennis for over 20 years and has seen iconic tennis duo Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes compete in the Goldflake Open. Tennis player Boris Becker also competed against Patrick Rafter in the Goldflake Open in 1998, both players being former World No.1.
10. Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune
The Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex has a seating capacity of 11,000. It hosted the 2009 FIVB Men’s Junior World Championship where Brazil won. It also was the shooting venue for the ending of the movie Dangal, a biopic based on the life of veteran wrestling coach Mahavir Singh Phogat and was also the venue for Khelo India Youth Games, 2019.