Games Invented In India- Top 10
India has been the land of many incredible inventions such as Yoga, Ayurveda, the number zero etc. The country’s inventions are not just limited to arts, crafts, cuisines and science, culture but sports too. Sports and games have always been an integral part of India’s rich culture and history.
But did you know which of these popular games originated in India?
With this article, we bring you some of the very famous games that originated in India and are popular internationally.
One of the most ancient games that originated in India, Chess was initially called ‘Ashtapada’. It used to be played with a dice on a checkerboard, but without the black and white squares. The game then came to be called ‘Chaturanga’ during the rule of the Gupta Empire. It was divided into four parts called Angas, which were symbolic of the four branches of an army. Just like the real ancient Indian army, it had pieces called elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers. Originated in ancient India, this game depicts war strategies between kingdoms, spread on a board with 64 squares colored alternately in black and white. In 600 CE,Persians who travelled to ancient India had picked up the game and named it as ‘Shatranj’. ‘Checkmate’ comes from the Persian term in the game, ‘Shah-Mat’, meaning ‘the king is dead’.
In the year 1860, two British soldiers Lieutenant Joe Sherer and Captain Robert Stewart had a pleasant sojourn in Manipur (North-Eastern State of India). During the stay, they witnessed some locals playing a game on horseback, chasing and hitting a ball with a stick. On the other hand, being professional horsemen themselves, the soldiers got fascinated with the play. Subsequently, after arriving back to Kolkata from Manipur with the reminiscent of the game, perhaps, being their base camp at that time, Lt. Sherer and Capt. Stuart put forth an idea of making it a proper sport. Finally, goal posts were planted, 4 team members per team were decided, and the Calcutta polo Club was established in 1860 at the dispersion of the two soldiers.
After the advent of the Englishmen in India, the game of polo was organized and later, made popular in the country.
Known as the ‘strike-and-pocket’ game, Carrom is quite a popular game played in South Asia, and parts of the Middle-East. According to a few sources, it was some Indian Maharajas who invented the game a few centuries ago. Though, such claims cannot be made without references. But what gives the theory some credibility is the ancient glass carrom board, which was discovered in Patiala, Punjab.
Kabaddi is a contact team sport played between two teams of seven players each for 40 minutes. This game is a 4000 year old sport originated in Tamil Nadu. The game was said to have been popular among the Yadava people; an abhang by Tukaram stated that the god Krishna played the game in his youth, while the Mahabharata contains an account of Arjuna being able to sneak into hostile areas also take out enemies unscathed, which they are claiming that parallels the gameplay of kabaddi. Combining. characteristics of rugby and wrestling, kabaddi requires great power and skill.
Earlier in India Ludo was called Pachisi, and the board was made out of cloth or jute. Ludo was first played in the 6th century and evolved from a very ancient game called ‘Chausar’ played by Kauravas and Pandavas. A depiction of Pachisi is found in the caves of Ajanta in Maharashtra, showing that the game was quite popular in the Medieval Era. The Mughal Emperors of India, such as Akbar, also liked playing Pachisi. In the late 19th century, different variations of the same game were played in England; in 1896, a similar game appeared that was called Ludo, and thus the name was patented.
6. Snakes and Ladders
Snakes and Ladders, known originally as Moksha Patam,Mokshapat ,Parama Padam, is an ancient Indian board game for two or more players regarded today as a worldwide classic.It is created by Sant (saint) Gyandev in the 13th century. The game was popular in ancient India by the name Moksha Patam. It was also associated with traditional Hindu philosophy contrasting karma and kama, or destiny and desire. The game has also been interpreted and used as a tool for teaching the effects of good deeds versus bad.The ladders represented virtues such as generosity, faith, and humility, while the snakes represented vices such as lust, anger, murder, and theft.
The morality lesson of the game was that a person can attain salvation (Moksha) through doing good, whereas by doing evil one will be reborn as lower forms of life.
7. Playing cards
Playing cards is the most common pastime in our country and we often indulge in games such as Rummy, Bluff, Bridge, etc. today. However, it is very interesting to know that the card games originated in India; they were introduced in the 16th century by the Mughal emperors and called the game “Ganjifa”.
Badminton, court or lawn game played with lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock.Badminton is derived directly from poona, which was played by British army officers stationed in India in the 1860s.The modern version of badminton was actually born in India. The British were the first patrons of the modern version of the game.They were so impressed with the game that it is claimed that the game was introduced in Europe in 1873. Thereafter, many countries adopted the game.
Kho-kho, or the ‘game of chase’, was earlier played in Maharashtra. It is one of the most popular traditional Indian sports. During ancient times, it was played on raths (chariots), and was called Rathera. When Akhil Maharashtra Shareerika Shikshan Mandal published the rules of the game officially in 1938, kho-kho became popular. It is played by teams of 12 nominated players out of fifteen, of which nine enter the field who sit on their knees (chasing team), and 3 extra (defending team) who try to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team.India recognized its first Kho-Kho championship in 1959 under the Kho-Kho Federation of India.
The bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu is known by various names in India, such as Jallikattu, Manju Virattu and Eruthazhuvathal. It is mostly played during Pongal celebrations. Bulls are specifically bred for this sport.Bulls are kept especially for the occasion and are well-fed till the D-Day.the game is popular as a platform to show bravery and earn some prize money.
These were the games that were invented in India. Let us know if you’d like to read more of these.
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