Native Sports and Games

Many of these sports and games that we play today have a rich history behind them. These were played in the villages. Initially it was mere entertainment or recreation. But, later, they assumed much significance. With the passage of time, they became competitive in nature. Strict rules and regulations were put in place. Some of the crude games evolved to become the modern football, cricket, basket ball, volleyball etc. India's contribution to sports and games has been immense: hockey, badminton, polo, chess, gusti, kabbadi, ball badminton and kho kho. Even to this day some of the games of the past are played in Indian villages. These games throw light on a glorious past.

  • Playing Marbles (Goli Kali)Open or Close

    It is believed that Golli kali (playing Marbles) originated in ancient India during the period of the Harappan civilization. According to history Golli kali was promoted as part of military training and war strategy.

    Requirements :
    A square shaped field / ground
    Three holes
    Two or more players in a team
    Singles or doubles


    Rules are not the same everywhere in India. But some of the basic rules are as follows:
    There should be three holes on the ground. Players should shoot their golies (marbles) thrice into the three holes. They should also hit their opponent's golie outside. The player who is able to hit the golies of the opponents outside and shoots his golie first into the holes becomes the winner. The golie is held firmly with the first finger of the right hand, it is pulled back and released. When the golie is released the thumb of the left hand should touch the ground. Playing golie enhances concentration, aim (target), flexibility etc. Both men and women can play this game. Over the years Goli kali evolved to become golf and billiards. Even to this day Goli kali is played in villages during festivals as a form of recreation.

  • Akka Kali (Pandi / Vattu Kali)Open or Close

    Akka kali is a street game. This is played all over the world. It is an exercise best suited for the heart and blood vessels (cardio vascular). In the Indian version of the game, importance is attached to physical movements, while in foreign countries the squares are important. The foreigners use background music in the course of the game.

    Requirements :
    A square shaped ground
    Chalks / markers to draw the squares
    One akka / coin
    Two players


    There are no hard and fast rules for this game. The first player drops an akka or coin in the first square. The coin should fall inside the square. The coin should not touch the sides of the square or fall outside the square. When the player hops without touching any line and comes out of the squares, that team is declared the winner. For, they would have got the maximum number of points. This game enhances the physical efficiency of the player / players. Through this play one is able to control one's body, maintain physical balance, acquires knowledge about the place and maintains a synchronization between the eyes and the hands. Akka Kali is a basic drill of football. The game helps to build the strength of the legs besides improving concentration.

  • Kuttiyum KolumOpen or Close

    Found in the traditional streets Kuttiyum Kolum ('boy and cane') is an important form of entertainment. It is quite similar to cricket. On both sides more than two players can play the game. It is nice if there are five players on one side. An important rule of the game is that a player gains the maximum number of points within the stipulated time period. Though the game is commonly called Kuttiyum Kolum, in other places it is known by different names.

    Requirements :
    A square shaped ground
    A long stick (kol)
    A short stick (kutti)
    A small hole
    Five players on both sides
    No particular size


    No specific rules, played in the form of a competition. A player wielding a long stick hits the short stick straight at the opposite team fielders. Before the kutti touches the ground, if the fielder is able to catch it, then the player loses the game. But if the kutti falls to the ground then the distance between the hole and the place where the kutti fell is measured. The difference in measurement will decide the winner.

    The eyes and hands have to synchronize perfectly. The game enhances flexibility and concentration. There are many similarities between this game and cricket. In South India, particularly in Kerala, Kuttiyum Kolum is much significant. It becomes all the more significant at the time of festivals. Sports critics claim that this game was a precursor to cricket.

  • Seventee's/ Seven tilesOpen or Close

    It is very easy to learn this game. This was played in the streets of India. It has close resemblance with dodge ball (The ball is thrown at the opponent in dodge ball). Seven tiles is more vibrant than dodge ball. There should be six or seven players on one side. The aim of the play is to score the maximum points within the stipulated time period.

    Requirements :
    A square shaped field
    Seven tiles (can be more than seven)
    One ball (preferably a small rubber ball)
    Seven players on both sides (can be more than seven)


    The rules are always the same. A team strikes at the piled tiles. The team gets three chances. If the piled up tiles fall, the team will have to restore it. If the ball of the opposing team hits the player or players arranging the tiles, that team loses the game. While throwing the ball it should not hit the opponent’s head or below the knee. This has been prohibited.

    The game of seven tiles builds team spirit, aim and concentration.

  • Kilithattu ('Aadya padya')Open or Close

    A traditional game which throws up a lot of challenges. 'Kilithattu' originated in ancient Kerala as military training for the common man. It has close resemblance with the martial art form of Kalaripayattu. Chatrapathi Sivaji trained his soldiers in Kabbadi, Kho kho and Kilithattu. Kilithattu was the favourite form of entertainment of the LTTE. In Maharashtra this game is known as 'Aadya Padya'.

    Requirements :
    A square shaped ground
    Five players in each team


    Specially made playground with square columns and markings. The rule is the same everywhere. A team or any one of its members should cross over without being obstructed or hit by the opposing team. The team which scores the most number of points becomes the victor. Now Kilithattu has its own federation and association. It is a separate entity with rules and regulations. The game of Kho kho has borrowed movements from Kilithattu.

    The game imparts physical co-ordination strategy, ability to play etc.

  • Yeru panth (Throw Ball)Open or Close

    Similar to games like dodge ball, seven marbles etc., but more vigorous and attacking in nature. The game is desirable for persons with athletic physique.

    Requirements :
    Square shaped or rectangular shaped field
    A ball (soft ball)
    Four or five players in each team (can be more than that)
    Stipulated time, competition between teams based on score.


    No unified rules. In the beginning the two teams stand face to face. The referee throws the ball high up into the air. The team which gets the ball throws it at the other team. The ball should not hit the opponent's head or below the knee. The team wins a point when the opponent is hit. The team that scores the maximum number of points within the stipulated time emerges victorious.

    The game imparts team spirit, co-ordination, concentration and achievement of target.

  • Nadan Panthukali (Native football)Open or Close

    Nadan Panthukali or native football is also known as 'thalapanthu kali'. It was at one time a very popular game in villages. It is a game played using a small ball made of leather and filled with cotton or coconut fibre. The teams consist of five or seven players. The game is played for five innings. The game has many of the benefits of football, cricket and volleyball.

    Requirements :
    A large rectangular shaped field (no specific measurement)
    Leather or rubber ball -1
    Five to seven players in each team (the number can increased)


    No specific rules in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The first player throws the ball at the opposing team. If the fielder catches the ball or kicks it outside the field, the fielder is out. This is how the player gets a point. The total score is known as 'Uppu'.

    Players get the ability to throw and kick, besides a good physique. There is co-ordination between eyes and hands and eyes and legs. This game gains popularity during festivals. The rules are different in different parts of Kerala. Based on nadan panthu kali, several competitions are held today.

  • Dodge ballOpen or Close

    There are two teams involved in this game. Each team has got equal number of groups. One group stands outside the circle, the other group inside the circle. After the whistle has been blown, those outside the circle throw the ball at the opponent's leg below the knee. Those inside the circle try to jump, run or dodge the ball. The player who is hit by the ball is out of the game. The last player plays as long as the circle remains. The next part of the game, those outside enter the circle and those inside throw the ball from outside. If before the stipulated time players are out, the team which gets the maximum number of points becomes the winner.
    Dodge ball is today played with rules and regulations at the National School Games.

    Requirements :
    A square shaped field
    A ball
    Twelve players on one side (can be more than that)