Princes participating in archery contests to win the hand of a fair maiden, a king engaging in a game of dice and losing his kingdom in the process, opponents challenging each other to a wrestling duel – these are just a few instances that drive home the point the importance of sports in the Indian culture.
Here are 5 lesser-known Indian Sports
Since the early 1750s, Inbuan, a variation of wrestling, is extremely popular in Mizoram. Inbuan is held in a circle 15–16 feet in diameter on carpet or grass. Each wrestling game has three rounds about 30 to 60 seconds each. The objective is to lift one’s opponent off his feet while strictly adhering to the rules. Stepping outside the ring and bending of knees is not permitted. The belt or catch-hold rope, around the waist, has to remain tight all through the game.
2) Ice Hockey
The history of ice hockey in India dates back to almost 100 years, when it was a favourite pastime for the British in Shimla. In the early ’70s, the Ladakh Scouts, a battalion of the Indian Army posted in the high border regions, took up the game.
3) Kambala Buffalo Race
According to one belief, Kambala is a festival that originated in the farming community of Karnataka around 800 years back. The festival is dedicated to Kadri’s Lord Manjunatha, an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and is believed to be celebrated to please the gods for a good harvest. It is a form of recreational sport for the farming community.
4) Elephant Polo
Elephant polo was first played in India around the turn of the 20th century by the members of the Maharajas’ Harem (Zenena) to keep them busy. The elephants are driven by their mahouts following the directions of the players assuming they are fortunate enough to understand the mahouts’ language.
5) Hole Taso Dukanaram
Hole Taso Dukanaram is an indigenous game of Arunachal Pradesh in which the contestants have to imitate an animal named Hole Taso. This animal is quite like a cat and has to run around by beating its chest alternately with its front paws. The tough part is that the contestant has to have his third leg in the air while running around.
In a land that is a melting pot of different traditions, you are sure to find a variety of engaging sports ranging from the bizarre to brainy. However, we are still away and unknown to many sports that might be more funny and lovable than any other we know of or can possibly think of.