Sports in India are much more beyond cricket too. Agreed, cricket is a frenzy and a rage here. It is no less than a religion but our interest in sports is traced back to the ancient times, when games and sports which we created were an equal rage.

Many of the sports are still popular and the administration is making efforts to revive them in their original glory.

  1. Gatka
  2. The martial sport is an awe-inspiring traditional sport of the Sikhs and is a major attraction of Kila Raipur Sports Festival of Punjab. Similar martial sports are Kalaripayattu of Kerala, Mardani khel of Maharashtra, Thang-ta of Manipur and Silambam of Tamil Nadu.

  3. Pithoo
  4. A craze among the neighbourhood children, pithoo is played in almost all the sub-continent with different names but the enthusiasm quotient being the same. Teams are divided and a small tower of rocks of decreasing size is made, the player knocks off the tower with his ball. The task of rebuilding the tower saving self from the opponents’ ball hit is to be done and shout “Pithoo garam” once completed.

  5. Boat race
  6. The scintillating backwaters of Kerala turn into a wonderful host to the spectacular Onam celebrations every year. The traditional boat race in Kerala, a form of canoe racing, race of Chundan Vallam (snake boat) is a major tourist attraction of the area.

  7. Lattu or Spinning Tops
  8. A wooden top spins on a pointed nail, (yes, the Gyroscopic Effect) has been popular since ancient times among boys mainly. It involves the knack of spinning so as to outperform the opponent’s lattu and push it out of the circle.

  9. Kho kho
  10. Hands down, the most popular tag game in India! It consists of two teams. 1 team sits/kneels in the middle of the court, in a row, with adjacent members facing opposite directions. The team that takes the shortest time to tag/tap all the opponents in the field, wins.

  11. Poshampa
  12. One thing that reminds you of the innocent days of kindergarten! Two leaders are appointed and the children go through the ‘screening process’ to get secretly selected in either of the two leader’s teams. Once divided, they engage a in tug of war. A roar of laughter guaranteed at the end!

  13. Yubi lakpi
  14. A traditional sport of Manipur with close resemblance to rugby.

  15. Stapu
  16. Got a child in the house, then a collage of rectangles at the entrance has got to there! The player discreetly balances him/herself, hops on one leg to retrieve the small marble thrown into one of the numbered boxes. Across region and class, stapu or kith kith is played with equal fun and frolic.

  17. Mallakhamba
  18. A traditional sport which originated as a physical training for the wrestlers became a full sport in its own right. It has close resemblance to the present day pole gymnastics, Mallakhamba acrobatic feats are done with a pole or a rope.

  19. Camel race
  20. The beautifully adorned camels run the race with the wind to outperform each other. The sport is the soul of Rajasthan, the desert state which depends on camels for its very survival. The sport is the celebration of the same bond with the camels. The camel race of the Pushkar Camel Fair is world renowned.

  21. Gilli danda
  22. The sport is more than 2500 years old in the sub-continent. The striker flips the gilli (a small oval-shaped piece of wood) with his danda or stick and hits it and runs towards the pre-agreed point. If the other players retrieve the gilli before he reaches his safe zone, he is out. If the gilli is caught, he is out and if the gilli touches the stick in the circle, again he is out. Sounds similar to cricket and baseball, isn’t it?

  23. Kanche
  24. Our amateur version of Golf with some variations! The goal is same- get the ball in the hole. How? Yes, it is different. No stick allowed, but use your fingers to hit the opponents’ marbles and reach the hole in two strikes in total. The winner gets all the marbles.

  25. Bull Surfing
  26. In the paddy fields of Kerala, the farmers surf in the ankle deep water with their majestic bulls in different styles and speed.

  27. Pehalwani
  28. Who needs the WWE when we have our own homegrown sturdy and mighty Hercules to boast about? Wrestling is a popular rural sport of the subcontinent, called by different names like Mukna, Malla-yudh, Vajra mushti, Malakhra etc.

  29. Kabaddi
  30. The contact sport of Ancient India is a national sport of Bangladesh and is equally popular in Maldives. A player from one team enters the area of the opponent’s and touch and come back to earn the point and the opponent team has to elude the contact and prevent him from crossing the boundary line.