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Traditional Indian Games: Origins and Descriptions



  Feb 15, 2024

Traditional Indian Games: Origins and Descriptions



Jallikattu: Tamil Nadu’s Test of Bravery

Jallikattu, also known as “Eru Thazhuvuthal” and “Maatu Pongal,” is a traditional event in Tamil Nadu, celebrated during the Pongal festival in January. This ancient sport involves young men attempting to grab the bull by its hump and holding on to it while the bull tries to escape. The objective is not just to showcase bravery but also to protect and preserve the native breed of bulls. The event symbolizes Tamil culture and tradition and has been a subject of much debate and legal scrutiny regarding animal welfare.

Mallakhamb: A Blend of Gymnastics and Martial Arts from Maharashtra

Mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport that combines the elements of gymnastics, martial arts, and yoga. It is predominantly practiced in Maharashtra but has followers all over India. The term “Mallakhamb” translates to “wrestler’s pole,” and the sport involves performing aerial yoga and gymnastic postures using a wooden pole, rope, or hanging wooden pole as the apparatus. The wooden pole, usually made from sheesham (Indian rosewood) or teak, is the most common apparatus. Mallakhamb develops strength, speed, and endurance, and is considered a highly demanding sport.

Pachisi: The Ancient Game of India

Pachisi, an ancient board game, is believed to have originated in medieval India. It is often referred to as the “national game of India.” Played on a cross-shaped board, participants race their pawns based on the throw of six or seven cowrie shells, with the number of shells landing with the opening upward determining the move. The game requires strategic planning and has been enjoyed by both royalty and commoners. It is the precursor to the modern board game Ludo, with adaptations and variations existing in different cultures worldwide.

Sagol Kangjei: The Roots of Modern Polo in Manipur

Modern Polo traces its origins back to Manipur, India, where it was traditionally known as Sagol Kangjei, Kanjai-bazee, or Pulu. This fast-paced, team sport was played on horseback, with players using a long stick to hit a small ball. The game was an integral part of Manipuri culture, symbolizing martial skill and horsemanship. It is believed that British tea planters in the 19th century witnessed the game in Manipur and adapted it to what is now known as polo, making it a sport played worldwide.

Kho-Kho: A Game of Speed and Strategy from Maharashtra

Kho-Kho is one of the most popular traditional sports in India, with its roots in Maharashtra. It is a tag game played by teams of twelve players, but only nine players from each team take the field per match. The game is played on a rectangular court, and the objective is to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team. Kho-Kho emphasizes speed, agility, and teamwork, and is a staple in school sports across India. The game’s simplicity and minimal requirement of equipment make it accessible and enjoyable for many.

These traditional games and sports not only provide a glimpse into India’s rich cultural heritage but also contribute to the physical and social development of individuals. They embody the diversity and spirit of the Indian subcontinent, continuing to be celebrated and preserved across generations.

SRIRAM’s


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