Popular games that originated in ancient India

India has been the land of many globally renowned inventions such as Yoga, Ayurveda,etc. The country’s inventions are not just limited to arts, crafts, cuisines and science and culture but sports too. You will be surprised to know many of the modern games which are flourishing in other nations had their beginnings in India.

Chess :

One of the most ancient games that originated in India, Chess was initially called ‘Ashtapada’. The game then came to be called as ‘Chaturanga’ during the rule of Gupta Empire. Persians who travelled to ancient India had picked up the game and named it as ‘Shatranj’. Also, there is an indication of board games similar to Chess in the archaeological sites of Indus Valley civilisation. Its popularity grew with the British too. Even today, India leads the game of Chess in the world, thanks to Viswanathan Anand a former World Chess Champion, and currently the World Rapid Chess Champion.

Judo and karate :

These martial art forms are claimed to have originated in ancient India. Further, it is said these martial arts were adopted by the Buddhist monks in medieval India and later spread to other Asian countries when they travelled. However, the world considers these martial art forms a legacy bequeathed by the East Asian countries such as China, Korea and Japan.

Ludo :

Ludo was first played in the 6th century and the game was called ‘Pachisi’ evolved from a very ancient game called ‘Chausar’ played by Kauravas and Pandavas. Many historians point out that there is a depiction of this game in the caves of Ellora. Ludo was also enjoyed by the Mughal emperors – especially Akbar. The Britishers later modified the game to use a cubic dice with a dice cup and patented it as ‘Ludo’ in 1896 in England.

Polo :

Polo is believed to have originated in Manipur and you will be surprised to know that in ancient India, monarchs played ‘Elephant Polo’ for recreational purposes. Infact, there is a mention of a Polo game played by the kings who ascended throne in 33 AD in Cheitharon Kumpapa court chronicle of the kings of Manipur. This Indian origin sport was later propagated by the British and is now popular across the world.

Kabaddi :

Kabaddi gained recognition as a popular sport after the advent of Pro Kabaddi League in our country. It is believed that this 4000 year old sport originated in Tamil Nadu. Moreover, this sport is recognised in five forms in our country — Suranjeevii, Gaminee, Amar, Circle, Goongi.

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