India: Home to several sports that failed to pass the test of time

India: Home to several sports that failed to pass the test of time

old games of india

India is a homeland to many new inventions. From zero- ‘0’, invented by Aryabhata to a successful Mars Mission by our Indian Scientists in one go. We have come a long way and we continue to do so. But as we are growing ahead, we are leaving behind some important aspects of our lives. One such major aspect is Sports.


Sports is related to the physical growth of an individual. Any competitive or non-competitive physical activity comes under sports. It teaches a person sportsmanship and teamwork. It is an integral part of everyone’s lives.


Sports in India

old games of india 1

India is a country where large numbers of popular and less popular sports are played. From every Indians love, Cricket to Kabaddi, we have a long history of sports in India. Indian players are showcasing their talent in India and abroad. India hosts the Indian Premier League (IPL) every year. Players from around the world come to India and play for their respective teams. It also hosts Indian Super League and Pro Kabaddi league in the country.


This is just a small part of what Indian Sports is all about. In India, apart from the mainstream games like Cricket, Hockey, Chess, Badminton, etc. we have many games that failed the test of time. And as a result, now they are almost forgotten. Also, with the advent of virtual reality, children in today’s time prefer online virtual gaming like PUBG and Clash of Clans than going out and playing physical games.


Forgotten gems of India

India has a long list of games that were played for a certain period and then lost its importance. Some of them are given below:


  • Gilli-Danda

Gilli-Danda indian old game

Gilli-Danda is an Indian game that originated about 2500 years ago. It is played with two sticks. The longer one is called Danda and the smaller one is called Gilli. There are no specific dimensions for the sticks. It can be played with any even number of players. Standing in a circle the Striker hits the Gilli with danda. He tries to throw it far away from the fielders. The players of the opponent teams try to catch the Gilli. In the meantime, striker try to touch the point outside the circle, which is decided earlier. If the opponents successfully catch the Gilli then the striker is out. If not, then the fielder who is at the shortest distance from the Gilli gets the chance. He tries to throw the Gilli inside the circle. If he successfully does that then the striker is out. Rules of these games varies in different place. It is known as ‘Danguli Khela’ in Bangladesh, ‘Dandi Biyo’ in Nepal and Tipcat in English. Shobhit Maurya is the World Champion of this game. In 2014, a movie named ‘Viti Dandu’ was released. It was based on this game.


  • Pitthu (Seven Stones)

Pitthu (Seven Stones) indian old game

Pitthu or seven stones is a game played between two teams. Minimum six players are needed in one team. In this game, seven stones are placed one over another. A player from one team tries to break the small tower of stones with a bowl. His team then try to rebuild it. The other team try to hit one of the players from the opponent team with the bowl before they rebuild the tower. It is believed that this game was played by Lord Krishna. It is played today in rural India. It is known as ‘Lagori’ in Karnataka, ‘Dabba Kali’ in Kerala and ‘Ezhu Kallu’ in Tamil Nadu. In 2015, the Indian Lagori Premier League was held by the Amateur Lagori Federation of India to revive this forgotten game.


  • Lattu (Spinning Top)

Lattu (Spinning Top)

The spinning top was discovered in 3500 BC. It is a wooden top with a pointed nail and a string. You can find many designs of a spinning top. In this game, all the players release their top from the rope on the ground at the same time. It spins on the ground. Then all the players try to get it back with the strings. The person who fails to complete this process loses the toss. That player has to spin his top inside a circle. The player who won the toss spin his top in the circle and try to get other tops out of that circle. This game is also played in another way. All players spin their tops one by one. The person whose top spins for longer duration wins. It is known as ‘Bambaram’ in Karnataka and ‘Bongarau Aata’ in Andhra Pradesh.


  • Pachisi

Pachisi india old game

Pachisi is a board game which is the traditional version of Ludo. But experts say that it is not similar to Ludo. It is played on a symmetric crossed board. It has three dices and sixteen pieces. It can be played between 2-4 players. It is played in a team of two players each. One team has Yellow and Black pieces. The other team has Red and Green pieces. The team whose pieces reach the Charkoni (center) first wins the game.


  • Chowka Bara

Chowka Bara india old games

Chowka Bara is a board game. It is played between 2-4 players. The board is divided into 25 squares. It is played by throwing the cowrie shells. There can be four or six cowrie shells. Shells that land upward has a value of 1. Shells that lands downwards has zero value. Two terms are mainly used in this game- ‘Chamma’ and ‘Ashta’. When all the shells land as it is, it is called ‘Ashta’. And when all the shells land downwards then it is called ‘Chamma’. Every player has four pawns. The player whose pawns reach the central square first wins the game. It is also known as ‘Katte Mane’ in Kannada, Atthu in Hindi, and Daayam in Tamil.


These are some of the games that are faded away with time. Others include Kite Fighting and Well of Death. Both of these games are banned in India. Because they were harmful to the public.


Current status of sports in India

The government of India in 2018 launched the Khelo India School Games. It was later renamed as Khelo India Youth Game. It was started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to encourage the youth to play sports. It has two categories- Under-17 and Under-21. It is an annual event held in January and February. It has 20 different national level sports including Kabaddi and Kho-Kho. 1000 best performers are given scholarships by the government for the next 8 years. It encourages the youth to participate in sporting events.



Author: Anjali Datt





Media Production Fixer Support in India| Filming IndoIf you are in search of JournalistresearcherIndian coordinatorfixerdocumentary film maker or Line Producer to cover any specific stories in India, your search ends here. We at Filming Indo delivers all types of services to our International clients as mentioned above. We promise you to arrange everything on your behalf from interview scheduling, Public Relations to Locations management and logistics. You can leave everything on us. You have to just come to India and shoot your project. Even, if you can not come to India, we can shoot and deliver raw audio-visual footage recorded on best HD cameras to you in timely manner. 

You can email us today on

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *