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Top 24 Most Popular Traditional Indian Games Gen Z Must Try

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In the history of Indian sports, traditional Indian games are the most important part of that period. In an era, where people play gadgets and video games, we all have almost forgotten the traditional Indian games. Those times when we couldn’t wait to come after school and run to our neighborhood to play those games.

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List of Top 24 Traditional Indian Games

S.N Traditional Indian Games Originated/Popular In which state
1 Gilli Danda /Lippa Gujarat
2 Satoliya/Pithoo/Lagori Karnataka
3 Kancha or Lakhoti Bihar
4 Kho Kho Tamil Nadu
5 Gutte Tamil Nadu
6 Hopscotch or Nondi Tamil Nadu
7 Lattoo Several Indian Villages
8 Antakshri The earlier start of Antakshri was from Srilankan Tamil Radio, further, it was adopted by Bombay-based Radio channels and TV anchors. Gradually, it started as a family pastime
9 Hide and Seek/Aankh Micholi Played Pan India by kids
10 Chaupar/Pachisi Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan
11 Kabaddi Tamil Nadu
12 Pallankuli South India
13 Maram Pitti/Picchi Banti Originated in in TN, is an Indian version of dodgeball. It is played with a rubber ball or tennis ball.
14 Anchankal/Kallankal/5 Stones Ancient Asia
15 Ashtapada (8 squares) It is an Indian board game that predates chess and was mentioned on the list of games that Gautama Buddha use to play.
16 Chaturanga Unknown (Somewhat like chess and Ashtapada)
17 Snakes and Ladders Ancient India
18 Vish Amrit Many Parts of India
19 Kokla chapaki/Ghoda badam Punjab
20 Posham pa Rural India
21 Dhopkel Assam
22 Carrom Patiala, Punjab
23 Raja-Mantri-Chor-Sipahi Pan India
24 Chain Pan India

Gilli Danda | Traditional Indian Games

Gilli Danda - Traditional Games
Gilli Danda

An amateur sport, Gilli Danda is one of the most thrilling traditional Indian games invented on the Indian Subcontinent thought to be originated 2,500 years ago.

This Indian game requires two sticks. The smaller, oval-shaped wooden piece is called a “Gilli“ whereas the longer one is termed a “danda”. The player needs to utilize the danda to hit the Gilli at the raised end, which flips it into the air. While it is in the air, the player hits the Gilli, as far as possible. Then, the player is required to run and touch a point (It is agreed with the players from before) outside the circle before the Gilli is taken by an opponent.

The secret to winning this game is all in the technique of raising and hitting Gilli.
One of the amazing things about the traditional game is that there are no strict rules about the upper limit of the number of players. It can be played between four players up to 100 or even more players.


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Lagori | Traditional Indian Games

Lagori, or Lingocha, is another interesting traditional game invented in India in ancient times. It involves a ball (preferably a rubber ball) and a pile of seven flat stones stacked upon one another. It is generally played between two teams, with a minimum of 3 players and a maximum of nine on each team.

Rules

Each team gets nine chances, 3 players getting 3 chances each, to knock down the stones that are stacked vertically, from a distance of about 20ft.  If one team is unable to knock down the stones the next team gets the chance to throw. The objective of the defensive team is to strike any player of the throwing team with the ball, below knee level. There are no fixed rules for the number of players or match durations. Matches are usually played for a fixed number of points, about 7 to 10.

The beauty of this traditional Indian game lies in the fact that it can be played with minimal equipment. The simplicity of the rules also makes it special. The sport is popular, especially in the rural parts of the country.

Kancha | Traditional Indian Games

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Kancha is another interesting, inexpensive traditional game invented on Indian land. A favorite amongst youngsters, it is played using dark green glass marbles colloquially known as ‘Kancha’. The game involves a player hitting the selected target marble using one of his own. Traditionally, the winner of the game takes away all Kanchas from the losing players.

The marble is held between the right hand and the forefinger of the left hand. The finger is pulled backward and is released with pressure almost in spring action.

Rules

There are various versions of the game ranging from easy to more complicated ones.

It is a simple Indian game in which the player has to target a marble among other ones in the circle from a distance. Then in another version, Kancha is almost played like a miniature version of golf where the player has to send his marble into a hole a couple of yards away from him/her.

Kancha was a hit amongst youngsters considering that the marbles were inexpensive, and the game could be played on any surface and weather.


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Kho-Kho | Traditional Indian Games

kho kho game - Traditional Games
Kho-Kho

Kho Kho is another popular traditional Indian sport invented and developed in ancient India. After Kabaddi, Kho Kho is the most prevalent tag game in the subcontinent.

The origin of this traditional game may be tricky to trace, but it is believed that it is a modified version of ‘Run Chase. In its simplest form, Run Chase involves running behind a player and touching him/her to win. Traditionally, it was known as Rathera. The present form of Kho Kho can be dated back to 1914 during World War I. However, at that time, there were no poles or other playground dimensions. The time factor was missing as well.

Rules

It consists of two teams. The game involves 12 nominated players out of a total of 15. At a given time, the chasing team’s nine players sit on their knees alternately facing in opposite directions with the 3 players from the defending team trying to avoid being touched by members of the opposing team. The team that takes the shortest time to tap all the opponents on the field, wins.

Gutte | Traditional Indian Games

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It is a casual Indian game played in the rural parts of the country. This traditional game is equally popular both among children and adults. It involves 5 pieces of small stones. This game is usually played in leisure time.

Rules

This simple game requires you to toss and spin one stone in the air and pick other stones from the ground before the airborne stone touches the ground. The process is repeated until an airborne Gutte strikes the ground. The process gets trickier when there is more than one stone in the air.

The beauty of this traditional game lies in its simplicity and inexpensiveness. Moreover, any number of people can play this game.


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Nondi (Hopscotch) | Traditional Games

Hopscotch | Traditional Indian Games | KreedOn
Image Source: Pinterest

This is one of the most popular Indian traditional games and is also in the top 10 games in India. Nondi is played on the mud or concrete floor with a grid pattern drawn on it by the players. It is a modified version of the well-known childhood games of Tamil Nadu called stapoo or kith kith.

Rules

A ladder shape pattern is drawn on the floor and every box is numbered from one to six or sometimes one to eight or ten. A small piece of stone or any other flat object is then thrown on any of the drawn grids. The player has to hop their way to the numbered block without touching the edges of any of the grids.

Lattoo | Traditional Games

Traditional Indian Games | KreedOn
Image Source: ScrollDroll

Another popular traditional Indian game is lattoo, which means the spinning top. This game is pretty simple to play if one has the right skills. This Indian game is all about making the top spin smoothly & for the longest amount of time. There are various modifications & techniques associated with this simple-looking yet scientific game, like, lifting the moving top off with the string, rolling the top on the string, and many more.

The tops were earlier made of clay, later replaced with wood. However, with advancements in technology, one can find many different varieties of tops today in the market. Some are with lights and sound effects. It is one of the best games in India.

Antakshri | Traditional Games

ANTAKSHARI | Traditional Indian Games | KreedOn
Image Source: Pinterest

Antakshari is one of the most popular traditional Indian games. Families play this Indian game at weddings. Kids play it in their free time at school or when their cousins arrive. The best thing about this game is that it can be played anytime, anywhere with any number of players.

It is the best way to spend time in a fun full manner. One needs to have a good knowledge of songs to do best in this game, although the art of good singing is not mandatory which makes this game even more fun.


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Rules

The rules to play Antakshri are very simple. Teams have to sing in turns, starting from the last letter of the previous song sung by the other team.

Aankh Micholi | Traditional Games

Traditional Indian Games | KreedOn
Image Source: DharmYaatra

Aankh Micholi is just a variation of another popular Indian game- Chhuppan Chhuppai. In this game, the denner is blindfolded, and the other players run around him/her. To make the game more fun kids call out the name of denner or touch him/her slightly. If the denner touches any one of the players, that player is blindfolded next. This game is very helpful in developing the kid’s alertness, and sensory skills and exercising their tactical sense.

Chaupar game | Traditional Games

traditional indian games | KreedOn
Image Source: directcreate.com

Chaupar is a very old and popular Indian game. It’s can be traced back to the 14th century. It consists of a cross-shaped board that is either made from cloth or wool. Chaupar requires cowry shells & wooden pawns. Each player has four pawns and six cowry shells. The shells determine players’ moves.

Rules

Home or Ghar is at the center of the board. The center column on each arm of the cross is the “home column” for each player’s men. The flower drawn on the left of the home column is the starting point for each player.

Kabaddi | Traditional Games

kabaddi | KreedOn
Image Source: dnaindia.com

Kabaddi is a highly energetic and interesting sport invented in India and is specially made for adrenaline junkies. The game is known as Hadudu in Bangladesh, Baibalaa in the Maldives, and Hututu in Maharashtra. It is one of the rare sports that can be played without any equipment.


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Kabaddi Rules

  • This is the first and foremost rule. The raiders should take a breath and entone ‘kabaddi kabaddi’ without any break.
  • The raider should tag a member of the opposite team and return to his half.
  • A player is ‘out’ when they break the breath or fail in tagging the opponent team member.
  • 30 seconds are available for each raid.
  • If the raider fails to reach his half within time, he is out and the opposite team gets one point.
  • If the raider crosses the check line with one foot with the other one in the air, when the defending team has 6 or 7 defenders, the player gets a bonus point.

Chain: Traditional Games

Chain traditional game- KreedOn
Image Source- Facebook

Chain is another cheerful children’s game. This game is more fun to play when there are more players. The ‘denner’ has to catch the other members and when the denner catches someone, he joins hands with the denner to form a chain.

Together they all try to catch or grab the other remaining members and this will go on till all the players have been caught.

What are the benefits of Indian traditional games?

The inclusion of any sport or game in the daily routine of a child has immense importance in the growth and development of his/her personality. A child becomes robust as well as mentally and physically strong by participating in sports and physical activities. Similarly, traditional Indian games play a vital role in the overall growth of a child.

Top 10 benefits of playing traditional Indian Games

  1. By playing traditional Indian games a child learns how to enjoy minimal resources.
  2. Enhances mental strength & increases stamina.
  3. Builds a problem-solving attitude.
  4. Teaches children how to interact socially.
  5. Improves hand-eye coordination.
  6. Makes kids more disciplined.
  7. Builds winning spirit.
  8. By playing traditional Indian games kids learn about our culture.
  9. Make new friends.
  10. These games keep kids happy and positive.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the two popular traditional games of India?

Kabaddi and kho-kho are the two most popular traditional Indian games that they are being played in professional leagues (Pro Kabaddi League and Ultimate Kho Kho respectively).

Is Gilli Danda a traditional game?

Gilli Danda is a traditional game played in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The game is played using simple equipment: a danda (a long wooden stick), and a gilli (a small oval-shaped piece of wood).

Who invented Gilli Danda?

The origin of the Gilli Danda game is in India, which dates back to the era of the Maurya Dynasty.

What traditional game did they play in Mahabharata?

Chopat (Chaupar) is claimed to be a variation of the game of dice played in the epic poem Mahabharata between Yudhishthira and Duryodhan. 

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Saad Kazi
Saad Kazi
Saad Kaazi is very persistent when it comes to providing quality content to his viewers. He has spent time working and polishing his skills on how to deliver value the way his audience would like. His interest in sports was right from the beginning of his school days. Writing and gathering information about sports is just a bonus for him as his job.

5 COMMENTS

    • Yes, it is called that as well. A really dun game and we are sure all Indians would have played it at least once in their lifetime 🙂

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