The monsoon season is here! This means lots of rain, the cool breeze and probably loads of time to stay indoors. However, this does not necessarily mean that you would have to glue your bottoms to the sofa and eyes to the television set or computer screen. Instead, how about getting together with friends or family members to indulge in some good old-fashioned game time?! We’ve got a few suggestions here to get you going!
The bite-sized fact list below features 5 traditional games that have entertained several generations, come rain or shine. So, they are surefire ways to kill time, get to know your loved ones better and to strengthen your bonds with your mates!
Here’s some additional information to get better acquainted with these games.
Pallanguzhi, as it is known in Tamil, literally translates to mean ‘many pits’ and is mainly played in South India. Also known as Kuzhipara in Malayalam and Vamana guntalu in Telugu, this is a traditional game that revolves around a board (usually rectangular) that divided into two parts with 7 pits on each side. Each pit can be filled with 6 seeds. The gameplay involves players taking the seeds from a particular pit and distributing them one by one, into the pits around the board. The player has got to carefully deliberate as to which pit should be emptied at the start of the game. This involves a good bit of mental calculation as your last seed dropped, should end beside an empty pit in order for you to win the seeds in the consecutive pit. If not, you would have to continue distributing your seeds, resulting in the possibility of eventually losing the seeds on your side leaving you without a turn. The player who has managed to get the most seeds at the end of the game, wins. Hence, this game is great for developing mental arithmetic skills, dexterity and even the habit of sharing (refer to our previous article, 5 Reasons to Play Traditional Games) .
Aadu puli aatam
The name of this game is loosely translated to mean a game of tigers and goats. This is a strategic, two-player game, which is also widely played in South India. The board usually comprises of a triangle and a rectangle overlapping each other, with vertical and horizontal lines running through them creating intersections throughout the figure (however alternate board designs also exist). Your pawns should be placed on these intersections. The gameplay involves 15 ‘goat’ seeds and 3 ‘tiger’ seeds. Each player will be allocated either one of the two roles. The game is mainly focused on the tigers hunting down the goats, while the goats carefully evade their predators to capture him/her in a stalemate. Thus, Aadu puli aatam develops strategic thinking and even reinforces the idea of the strength of teamwork; long making it the game of choice for both royalty and laymen in the past.
Dhayamis known by many names in India. It is also commonly called Pachisi in Hindi. This ancient game inspired well-known modern, Westernised games like Ludo and “Sorry!” and similarly, involves a lot of luck, as the movement of the pawns solely depends on the number thrown on the dice. However, a little bit of strategy is involved in traditional Dhayam gameplay, as it encompasses cutting your opponents' pawns in specified grids and even strategically distributing the number of moves amongst your pawns in play. Therefore it is no wonder that this game can be addictive!
This ancient game, whichis also known as Snakes & Ladders, teaches you that life has its highs and lows. Almost completely dependent on your luck, the name translates to mean attaining a high position in life. In order to attain this, an individual has to undergo lots of struggles. Likewise your achievement in the game has to do with your ability to withstand the play of luck; with the dice representing one’s fate and the ladders and snakes representing the highs and lows in one’s life. This game can be played by two or more players and it encourages social interaction, which in turn can instil a sense of belonging to your social circle.
Kola Kolayaa Mundhirikaai
Kola kolayaa Mundhirikaaiis a game that is best played with little ones. Toddlers will have loads of fun and adults can make merry watching the kids in action. It is best played in a big group, as it involves children sitting in a circle with their backs facing out and singing the ‘kola kolayaa mundhirikaai’ rhyme while one person from the group (the ‘nari’ or fox) goes around the circle to discreetly place an object behind one of the players' backs. If a kid catches you placing the object, you’d have to repeat the process again. However if you’ve managed to place the object by the time the others are done singing the song, the chosen kid would have to vacate his/her 'seat' for you and take over as the ‘nari’. This game familiarises kids with a traditional rhyme and will be a great activity to encourage interaction among children.
1. Hariharan, N. (2011, 06 06). Rediscovering old Indian games-Pallanguli . Retrieved 12 09, 2015, from Fraing Narratives: https://framingnarratives.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/rediscovering-old-indian-games-pallanguli/
2. Singh, R. G. (2008, 05 21). How to Play Goats and Tigers. Retrieved 12 09, 2015, from kreedaakaushalya: http://kreedaakaushalya.blogspot.sg/2008/05/how-to-play-goats-and-tigers.html
3. Traditional Games . (n.d.). Retrieved 12 08, 2015, from Traditional Games : http://www.traditionalgames.in/
We hope that we’ve inspired you to spend some quality time with your friends and family, whilst getting reacquainted with these traditional Indian games.
If you would like to find out more about such games or conduct traditional Indian games related workshops or events, feel free to contact Brainworks Education.
We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, may the year end bring you lots of laughter and joy! Happy Holidays everyone!