HomeSports 2.0KreedOn Case StudyFrom Roots to Renaissance: India’s Kho Kho Evolution and Rising Popularity
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From Roots to Renaissance: India’s Kho Kho Evolution and Rising Popularity

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Kho Kho is an ancient outdoor sport that originated in prehistoric India. It is a traditional tag game where one team aims to catch members of the opposing team by touching them with their hand. This game requires speed, agility, intelligence, and teamwork, and it holds significant historical and cultural significance.

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The History and Evolution of Kho Kho

History of Kho-Kho in India: How Mahabharat shaped the sport
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Kho Kho is said to have its roots in the Maharashtra region of India and is believed to have been mentioned in the ancient Indian epic, Mahabharata, specifically in the Chakravyuha incident. Initially, the game was played on chariots known as raths and was called rathera. However, the modern version of Kho Kho, where players are on foot, was standardized in 1914 by the Deccan Gymkhana club in Pune. During this time, the club established the rules and regulations for the game.

Kho Kho KreedOnAlso Read | Kho Kho – Did You Know the Game Has Roots as Old as Mahabharata?

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Kho Kho, along with other indigenous Indian sports like kabaddi and mallakhamb, was showcased at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The inaugural All India Kho Kho Championship took place in 1959-60 in Vijayawada, while the national championship for women was held in 1960-61 in Kolhapur. The sport was also demonstrated at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. The first Asian Championship occurred in Kolkata in 1996. Kho Kho was included as a medal sport at the South Asian Games 2016 in Guwahati. Presently, approximately 25 countries have their own national Kho Kho teams.

The Rules and Format of Kho Kho

Kho Kho Rules | KreedOn
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Kho Kho is a sport played on a rectangular field with wooden posts at each end. Each team has 12 players, but only 9 can play at a time. The game consists of two innings, with two turns of 7 minutes each for chasing and defending. The chasers aim to tag the defenders by touching them with their palm, while the defenders try to avoid being tagged and run out of time. The defenders enter the field in groups of three, and as one group leaves, the next one enters. Defenders are considered out if they are tagged, go out of bounds, or enter the field late. The chasers can switch who is actively chasing by tapping them on the back and saying “kho” loudly. The team with the highest score at the end of the match is the winner.

The Popularity and Growth of Kho Kho

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Kho Kho is widely popular in India, particularly in rural areas and schools. It is a cost-effective and easily accessible sport that requires minimal equipment and space. This game not only promotes physical fitness but also enhances mental alertness, social skills, and cultural values. With a significant fan base and dedicated followers, Kho Kho sees numerous tournaments and events organized at different levels. It ranges from district to national competitions.

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The sport has gained recognition and support from the government and sports authorities, leading to various initiatives aimed at promoting and advancing the game. For instance, the Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) was established in 1955 to govern and regulate Kho Kho, as well as to organize national and international competitions. The KKFI has also introduced several schemes and programs to identify and nurture young talent, including the Kho Kho Excellence Centre, the Kho Kho Premier League, the Kho Kho Talent Hunt, and the Kho Kho Scholarship Scheme.

Kho Kho Benefits | KreedOnAlso Read | Discover the Benefits of KHO KHO Game: Boost Your Mental & Physical Health

Paves the Way for Promising Future

Kho Kho league | KreedOn
Image Source: Hindustan Times

Kho Kho holds immense promise and has the potential to emerge as a prominent sport both in India and globally. The game offers numerous advantages and appeals, including its simplicity, excitement, thrill, competitiveness, and cultural significance. Additionally, Kho Kho has the ability to attract increased sponsorship, media attention, and viewership due to its fast-paced and entertaining nature. Furthermore, its adaptability to various formats and platforms further enhances its appeal.

The Ultimate Kho Kho League

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A significant development in the realm of Kho Kho is the introduction of the Ultimate Kho Kho. It is India’s inaugural professional Kho Kho league set to launch in 2021. This league is a collaborative effort between Mr. Amit Burman and the KKFI, with the objective of promoting and presenting India’s traditional sport of Kho Kho in a professional framework. The league comprises six teams, owned by prominent figures from the corporate and entertainment sectors. It showcases the finest Kho Kho talent from all over the country. Additionally, the league aims to raise the game to international standards and provide young players with the opportunity to exhibit their skills to a nationwide and global audience. The Ultimate Kho Kho marks a significant milestone in the history of Kho Kho. It has the potential to revolutionize the sport.

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The introduction of Ultimate Kho Kho has made a significant impact on the Indian sports industry, achieving remarkable success in its first season. According to the recent YouGov Report, the league attracted a wide audience of 164 million people through various media platforms. It has positioned itself as one of the top three non-cricket leagues in India. This league has successfully transformed the perception of Kho-Kho, which was traditionally considered a rural sport, by appealing to both urban and rural viewers. Interestingly, 70% of the audience comes from SEC AB, indicating its popularity across different socio-economic backgrounds. Additionally, the YouGov Sports report highlights a noteworthy achievement in terms of gender representation, with 41% of the viewership being female, which is commendable for a relatively new sport on television.


Kho Kho, an ancient and intrinsic part of India’s heritage, holds immense significance and continues to thrive with great energy and enthusiasm. It embodies the essence of Indian culture and has the power to inspire and bring together countless individuals. Kho Kho possesses the ability to expand and flourish, establishing itself as a worldwide sensation. This game warrants further recognition and admiration, as it has the capability to bring glory to the nation. With its readiness to conquer new heights, the world will witness India’s exceptional prowess in Kho Kho.

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