Traditional Indian Games from Kreeda™
Traditional Indian Games from Kreeda™
In this age of plastic and cheap knock-offs of popular games, it is refreshing when a company like Kreeda
comes along with a wide selection of ethnicallydesigned traditional Indian games. Kreeda is the Sanskrit word for ‘play’, and this is exactly what its range of products invites you to do. With more than 20 games in their kitty—some of which have been revived after extensive research—Kreeda promises to introduce the wonderful world of ancient India to your children.
The complete list of games offered by Kreeda is available on www.kreedagames.com; here, we review five of them to give you an idea of what to expect.
Cost: INR 725
One of the most popular games in ancient India, Chaupad is one of the family of ‘cross and circle’ games. It is also one of the oldest Indian games still played today. (Yes, this was the game played between the Kuru cousins in the Mahabharata that led to the greatest Indian war of all time!). Chaupad has many variations, with different regions of the country playing slightly different versions. The game involves moving four game pieces across a game board in the shape of a cross. The objective is to go around the board and reach home first, defeating other players along the way. Kreeda’s Chaupad board is equipped for multiple versions of the game.
‘Ludo’ is based on Chaupad.
Skills learnt: Planning and strategy; counting skills for younger children.
Cost: INR 250
From Andhra Pradesh comes a more complex and exciting variation of Noughts and Crosses. Each player controls nine pieces and moves these horizontally or vertically to try and form three in a row, while preventing his opponent from doing the same. Today, the world knows this game as ‘Nine Men’s Morris’.
Skills learnt: Strategic thinking, planning and anticipating opponent’s moves, concentration, thinking and analytical skills.
Parama Padam Sopanam
Cost: INR 800
Parama Pada Sopanam means ‘Steps to the Highest Place’. The game board presents the eternal battle between good and evil and is symbolic of man’s attempt to attain nirvana. This game presents vices and virtues that one comes across in life; the objective is to transcend these and reach heaven. Vices are snakes that drag you down and virtues are ladders that help you move up closer to your goal. First played in India, this game was taken to England by the Victorians who
simplified it into ‘Snakes and Ladders’.
This game is especially attractive thanks to its eye-catching and bold design, with the snakes almost leaping out at you from the mat. Each snake is named after a different demon from Indian mythology— Ravana, Narakasura, Mahishasura, etc.—and an accompanying booklet tells the stories of each of these demons. A wonderful way for your child to learn Indian mythology!
Skills learnt: Counting, values and Indian mythology.
Cost: INR 900
Originating in Tamil Nadu, this old cup and coin game
(Pallanguzhi or ‘Treasure in the Cups’) was played using beads, seeds, or stones. Sita is said to have played a single-player version of this game—Sitapandi—when awaiting Rama in Ashokvati.
Kreeda’s Pallanguzhi presents different versions that vary in
complexity, and is, hence, suitable for different age groups. The basic game involves distributing game pieces in various cups and moving them around to collect the maximum pieces possible. Different versions have different rules, adding to the complexity. The Pallanguzhi game board is beautifully designed with smooth cups that make it easy for children to dip in and pick up the game pieces without hurting their fingers.
Skills learnt: Concentration, mathematical ability, agility, eye hand coordination, basic motor skills.
Aadu Puli Aatam
Cost: INR 250
Another traditional game from Tamil Nadu, this strategy game presents a battle between the defender (goats) and the challenger (tigers). The goats have to surround the tigers and render them incapable of attack, while the tigers have to kill the goats, one step at a time.
Skills learnt: Concentration, skill, strategy.
Kreeda has many more such games—circle and cross games, dice games, shell games, toys like gilli danda and tops, and board games where you move from start to finish overcoming obstacles. The latter are based on mythological themes such as Rama’s exile.
What we like
• A little leaflet that explains the rules as well as its historical and social background accompanies each of
Kreeda’s games. The origin of the game, its evolution, variations—all these are explained in a simple and
• The rules are explained well. Multiple variations are clearly set forth so you can choose which one to play. Rules also explain how the games are flexible—you can shorten or lengthen them according to the time at your disposal, interest, age of your child, etc.
• The design is undoubtedly the showstopper, using ethnic iconography presented in an eyecatching
and bold manner. The design, colour scheme, and materials used aptly capture the spirit of the games and the traditions behind them.
• The games (boards, game pieces, dice, shells, etc.) are made of recycled and environmentally friendly
material. The game pieces and dice are delightful to hold and play with, making a fascinating change from all the plastic around us. Kreeda has stayed true to the look and feel of the ancient games, while trying to be environmentally-friendly and practical.
• The games are reasonably priced, with simpler games costing around INR 125, mid-sized ones around
INR 250-400, and the larger games around INR 900.
What we don’t like
• Game boards are made of stiff fabric. Folding them makes the surface uneven so that it is sometimes
difficult to balance the game pieces on them.
• Cowrie shells are a little tough to handle and pick up off the ground.
• Dice could be made smaller and thinner so they are easy to hold, especially by smaller children.
However, these small particularities in design do not really affect your enjoyment of the games.
Where to buy
You can find information and order the games online on the Kreeda website: www.kreedagames.com or with certain online retailers, such as Flipkart and Homeshop18. They are also available at selected retail stores in different cities. Check out http://kreedagames.com/where-buy for a complete list.
We strongly recommend buying and enjoying these traditional games with your children and whole family. They promise hours of family fun and interaction in this age of online games and iPhones. Your children will get a glimpse into Indian culture and mythology in a non-preachy and fun way. Many modern games have their origin in these traditional games, so it could be interesting for older children to explore their background and history. Kreeda games also make for delightful gifts, being well packaged, lightweight, reasonably priced, and unique.
- Kritika Srinivasan