Monday, April 4, 2011

Learn to play traditional games at DeraMandawa

Handed down many of these traditions, we are passionate to save and share them. For the guests staying at DeraMandawa we offer opportunity to witness and participate in some of these traditions, if they have the free time. If guests have an additional day at hand, we would offer an interesting day of kite flying, cooking, playing traditional dice game chaupar ending with folk music!

The game of Chaupar


Pachisi is a cross and circle board game that originated in ancient India; its described as the national game of India. It is played on a board shaped like a symmetrical cross. A player's pieces move around the board based upon a throw of six or seven cowrie shells (a sea snail), with the number of shells landing opening upwards indicating the number of places to move.
The name of the game comes from the Hindi word pachis, meaning twenty-five, the largest score that can be thrown with the cowrie shells. Thus the game is also known by the name Twenty-five. It is a descendant of the game of Ashte kashte. The westernised version of the game is spelled Parcheesi and otherwise called Ludo.
The Indian Emperor Akbar I of the 16th century Mogul Empire, apparently played Chaupar on great courts constructed of inlaid marble. He would siton a Dias four feet high in the centre of the court and throw the cowrie shells.
On the red and white squares around him, 16 beautiful women from the harem, appropriately coloured, would move around according to his directions. Remains of these boards can be seen today in Agra and Allahabad.
There is apparently a mention of Chaupar being played between two sets of princes - cousin brothers of the Bharata family (Pandavas and Kauravas)in the epic, Mahabharata. During this game the righteous Padavas lost the game and their entire fortune to the devious Kauravas, which put his family through a lot of hardship and suffering.
This was ended by a great war among them which led to destruction of the Kauravas.

Chaupar is a game for 2 or 3 players or 4 people playing in two teams of two. Players sit in front of each of the chaupar legs. For the team game, players sit opposite each other. Each player has four pieces of a different colour. Moves are initiated by throwing cowry shells.
Scoring depends on how many shells land with their “mouths“ up :

2 cowries with their mouth up = 2 points or moves
3 cowries with their mouth up = 3 points or moves
4 cowries with their mouth up = 4 points or moves
5 cowries with their mouth up = 5 points or moves
6 cowries with their mouth up (grace throw) = 6 points or moves
1 cowries with their mouth up = 10 points or moves
0 cowries with their mouth up = 25 points or moves

The game begins with each player’s pieces placed in the centre (Charkoni). Each player throws the cowries – highest plays first and then turns are taken in an anti-clockwise direction. Each player’s objective is to move all four pieces down the middle of the nearest arm, around the edge of the board in an anti-clockwise direction and then back up the same arm to finish back in the Charkoni.
The first piece to leave the Charkoni for each player can depart using any number. All subsequent pieces are only allowed to start or re-enter the game using a grace throw.
All pieces move counter-clockwise around the board until they return to the players’ own leg. When they reach the home stretch they are put on their side to distinguish them from pieces just starting. Pieces can only finish by throwing the EXACT number of cowries required.
More than one piece from the same side can occupy the same square. A piece is not allowed to finish on a castle square that is occupied by one or more enemy pieces.
If a piece finishes on a non-castle square inhabited by one or more enemy pieces, the enemy pieces are captured. Captured pieces return to the Charkoni from where they must start again with a grace throw. A player making a capture is allowed another throw to be taken immediately after.
If a player has two of his/her pieces (or one, plus one of his/her players) on the same square, these pieces cannot be captured unless the opponent (and his/her player) land an equal number or larger number of pieces on the square.
Moving is not compulsory. This can be done to remain in the safety of a castle square or to help a partner. A common strategy is for a piece to remain on the castle square at the end of the third arm until a 25 is thrown thus allowing that piece to finish without risk.
The winner is the first team to return to where play started.


Is a game played in rural India . It is played by all ages , children elderly  ,farmers …royalty to pass time and amuse themselves.
It is very similar to  the game called Nine men’s  morris. It is believed to have come to India from Greece with the invasion  of Alexander the grate in 327 BC.
 Instead of a board  the game  floor called ‘CHAR’ is drawn in the sand !! on stone, cloth or paper . It has three squares  one within the other . Lines transect them ,converting the  board into  four parts. The pieces are placed  on the transaction points .The pieces  may be called in Hindi or the local dialect as ‘KATH’  ’PASA’ OR ‘GOTI. The simple villagers may use stone pebbles ,wood , cotton or even well rounded goat or camel droppings !!!! 

The  method of play is same as Nine men’s Morris  except  the following differences .

1. When three pieces come in a straight line , the player can throw out  one piece of the other player and this is called ‘BHAR’ . When six  pieces  of the nine are out of the game then the player loses.

2. When a player has  blocked all paths of the other player, who now can not make a move he has lost and the game ends .   

Our resident Musician ‘Ram Lall' can trach and play the game with guests at the DeraMandawa .

Nine Men's Morris
Rules of play

Each player has nine pieces, or "men", which move among the board's twenty-four spots. The object of the game is to leave the opposing player with fewer than three pieces or, as in checkers, no legal moves.
Placing the pieces
 The board at the beginning of the game, before any pieces have been placed.
The game begins with an empty board. Players take turns placing their pieces on empty spots. If a player is able to form a straight row of three pieces along one of the board's lines (i.e. not diagonally), he has a "mill" and may remove one of his opponent's pieces from the board; removed pieces may not be placed again. Players must remove any other pieces first before removing a piece from a formed mill. Once all eighteen pieces have been used, players take turns moving.
Moving the pieces
To move, a player slides one of his pieces along a board line to an empty adjacent spot. If he cannot do so, he has lost the game.
As in the placement stage, a player who aligns three of his pieces on a board line has a mill and may remove one of his opponent's pieces, avoiding the removal of pieces in mills if at all possible.
Any player reduced to two pieces is unable to remove any more opposing pieces and thus loses the game.
In one common variation, once a player is reduced to three pieces, his pieces may "fly", "hop" or "jump"to any empty spots, not only adjacent ones. Some sources of the rules say this is the way the game is played, some treat it as a variation, and some don't mention it at all. A '19th Century Games Manual' calls this the "truly rustic mode of playing the game".
At the beginning of the game, it is more important to place pieces in versatile locations rather than to try to form mills immediately and make the mistake of concentrating one's pieces in one area of the board.
An ideal position, which typically results in a win, is to be able to shuttle one piece back and forth between two mills, removing a piece every turn. For example, in the diagram above, white can win the game even if black moves first.