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Science behind the 'Snake & ladder game?

Jul 03, 2019

Science behind the 'Snake & ladder game?
Science behind the 'Snake & ladder game?

Our country has a rich and vibrant culture of games and sports. Each state, village and community prides itself with some entertaining and fun games that are in sync with local traditions and lifestyles.

There are many games that we have adopted from other countries and cultures and made it suitable for ourselves. However, there are certain games that we have been playing since ancient times. Here is a list of some such popular games and sports that our ancestors have passed down to us.


Kabbadi is a game that is very popular in Tamil Nadu and it is said to be more than 4000 years old! The sport is believed to have been played in communities of southern India to develop defence tactics and refine the skills of the villagers in group hunting. It is a game that seems like a hybrid between rugby and wrestling and is a contact sport that is intense and is not for the delicate darlings.


Chess is a game that was played in as Chaturanga, meaning the 4 divisions of the army that was common in ancient India. In fact, the game is said to have originated in this country. It had elephants, horses, soldiers and chariots as the main elements, just like a real Indian army. 

The game came to be known as Shatranj when the Persians learnt it and later came to be known as Chess.


Another sport that was popular among ancient Tamil tribes is the Jallikattu. It is a bull-taming game that is also known by other names such as Erathazhuvuthal, Manjuvirattu, etc. This sport is associated with Pongal celebrations and involves the youth of the village attempting to tame the strongest bulls of the village that are specifically bred for this game.

Carom board

Carom is a game that is said to have been played all across south-east Asia. Maharajas of India have played the game and there is also an ancient glass carom board on display at Patiala in Punjab. It is believed that the origin of the game was from somewhere in India although there is no solid proof to back the claim. The game that involves hitting and pocketing coins is one of the most popular family games of the present world.


The dice finds a mention in some of the oldest texts of India. Excavations at Harappan sites have revealed that dice was used for games in those times. The Vedas also mention dice. It is believed that the dice was first used for gambling and then its use spread to other board games such as Pachisi (Ludo) and similar ones. Dice made of different types of materials have been observed throughout the history of Indian games.


Polo is said to have originated in Central Asia. However, Mughal king Babur is the one who laid the foundation for the format of the game that is being played today. Back in the 15th century, he popularised the game and Polo was played by the kings and other people in India.

The British had adopted the game after colonisation and made it popular world-over. They also played a version of the game on elephants which is still popular in certain Indian states.

Snakes and ladder

Snakes and Ladders was one of the most popular games played by ancient Indians. It was known as Moksha Patam or Parama Padam. This game was invented by a saint in the 13th century who wanted to teach children about virtues and vices through a game. The squares that had ladders depicted virtues such as faith, knowledge, etc while the ones with snakes depicted vulgarity, anger, etc. The final square symbolised Moksha and it gave the meaning that virtues lead to Moksha while vices lead to rebirth.