There are many indigenous games in India that are played in villages across the country. These rural sports have different variations and are known by other names depending on the region they are played in. Popular with schoolchildren, these traditional games help build stamina, sharpen the mind and create a spirit of sportsmanship needed to excel in professional sports and other fields of life.
Here are details about a few well known indigenous games in India-
1. Gilli Danda – Known as Witi Dandu in Marathi, this game is similar to the English ‘Bat Trap and Ball' or 'Tipcat'. It is played with two sticks – one short and one long. First, the small stick is positioned with one end sticking out over a hole in the ground. Next, a chosen player hits it smartly with the longer stick. As the small stick jumps in the air, the other players attempt to catch it. If any of them succeeds, he has the next innings and the former striker takes the field.
2. Lonpat – This indigenous game of India is a kind of ‘Tom Tiddler's Ground’ or ‘Prisoner's Base’, and it is usually played by moonlight. Lonpat is played between two teams – the defending party and the opposing party. First, the ground is marked out in squares. One person from the defending party is posted to each square. Their opponents then try to pass through these squares and back again without being touched. If they succeed, they are declared winners.
3. Ardah Purdah – This rural game may be compared to the English ‘Blind Man's Buff’, or maybe to ‘Forfeits’. The main article used in Ardah Purdah is a purdah or curtain. The players form two teams of equal number of players and the curtain is held up between them. One person then hides close behind the curtain, while the rival team is asked to guess his name. If they are correct, then the person hiding behind the curtain is blindfolded and sent off to do some task. The main enjoyment of the game comes from watching him stumble and overcome the many obstacles placed in his path.
4. Other Sports - Chausar, a kind of draughts, popular in ancient times is still played in villages. Other pastimes of the local people include a range of marbles and card games. Deshi Kasrat, an Indian form of ‘Swedish exercise' has also been initiated in local schools to help students maintain fitness levels. Also, local wrestling or kushti matches are held on certain occasions such as the festival of Nag-Panchami with great fervour.
5. Animal Sports – Of the other indigenous games in India, animal sports are really popular. They are usually held on festival days and other such junctures. Cock fighting and ram fighting are popular among some communities in certain States such as Maharashtra. Among the Gaolis, he-buffalo fighting on Diwali is a common pursuit. Races of trotting bullocks are held on Til-Sankranti. Camel racing is a regular sports event in Rajasthan.
Read about other indigenous sports in India -