In India, sports have always been a part of life. The English brought and popularized cricket in India, and it still enjoys the mainstream status in India. However, the gentleman’s game is not the only one that has a loyal fan base. Football has a cult following in India, and people turn up in large numbers to watch the game. In these travel tips,however, we will be looking at some of the less talked about sports in India. The focus will be on the cultural importance of the game combined with its present social significance.
- Elephant Polo: Polo is considered to be a 13th century game, originating in the east Indian state of Manipur. The remarkable aspect of the game is that it got the most recognition in a western state of the country, Rajasthan. Although both were princely states, Rajasthan boasted of a myriad regal lineage. Perhaps this factor contributed to the popularization of the game, which the British took up later. However, with time, popularity of the game has dwindled, and it is nothing more than a colonial vestige right now. However, a different version of the game, one that involves elephants, is now played in Rajasthan to amuse tourists. The irony lies in the fact is that even the colonizers are amused by the show, oblivious of the past.
- Jallikattu: This bull fighting game from Kerala resembles the Spanish version, but is even more dramatic and dangerous. The objective of the game is to tame a bull that is aptly decorated for the show. Some versions of the game have a marriage at stake: the groom must prove his mettle by taming a fierce bull. If you go by our travel tips, you must visit this southern state of India for this game. Kerala enjoys a moderately cool winter, and the precariousness Jallikattu has the ability to keep things edgy.
- Maut ka Kuan: The term literally means, “Well of Death”. For us, this game is quintessential to the nature of the populace—finding amusement in the mundane. While you would not find cars speeding up on vertical surfaces mundane, it is a part of routine testing for new cars. It is difficult to lay fingers on the origin of the game. If you are travelling through the country in winter, you are likely to witness a show at some fair. In that sense, the game has a pan Indian appeal. The game would not let you stay calm—but it is difficult to stay what will stir you. On the surface, you will be thrilled by the skill of the drivers. However, lurking behind will be the realization that this risk is taken regularly for a living by these testers.
- Gilli-Danda: This indigenous game is popular in the rural areas of the country. The rules are similar to baseball, although there is no ball and no bowler. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Instead of a ball, a small stick is set on a slightly raised ground. The hitter has to hit one end of the stick with a longer stick, thus flinging it into the air. Then, he has to hit the stick as far as possible to buy maximum time to reach the line. The game is exciting and is played with no strict number of players.
- Kho-Kho—This game is even played in the national level in India. It is bery popular among the teenagers because it fires their competitive spirit. The game tests agility and stamina—as it involves quick judgment and sprinting. The game is played between two teams, with every alternate player facing the opposite side on a line. The objective is to collectively catch runners from the opponent team while they rapidly shift sides.
If you find our travel tips interesting, you can visit a ground to watch a game of Elephant Polo or Kho-Kho. The very nature of these games is that they are infused with raw energy and indomitable spirit. In our opinion, you must experience the sports of India to fully understand the country and its people. We would recommend you to mix with the local people of the respective states to learn about more interesting games!
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