Known as pallanguzhi in Tamil, ali guli mane in Kannada, vamana guntalu in Telugu and kuzhipara in Malayalam – this ancient South Indian game is played by two people at one time. They sit on either side of a wooden board that has 14 pits (2 rows and 7 columns) and play with shells, tamarind seeds or small pebbles.

To start with, each player is given a certain number of counters, and the rest are distributed in the pits. As the game proceeds, each player distributes the shells over all the pits and tries to ‘capture’ more counters. The rules of capture depend on the variant of the game played. The game ends when one of the players captures all the counters, and is declared the winner.

The game was encouraged for several reasons – to improve mental counting skills, eye-hand coordination and concentration, and agility in fingers.

To reflect upon

Nowadays, we are so accustomed to playing virtual games. However, games like this that require hand-eye-mind coordination are considered to boost health and wellness. Why don’t you try it out the next time you are bored?

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