Since ancient times the royal courts used to play games during their free time with family and friends.
Pachisi is a popular game that was a favorite of the aristocratic families like kings and affluent class.
The national game is played with 4 people playing in 2 pairs, also known as “Twenty Five” or Pachisi. Emperor Akbar was so fascinated by the game that he converted the entire room into a playground.
Female courtesans stood as players a raised center and cowry shells which it is now changed into dice.
You can still see his Chaupar court today in Fatehpur Sikri.
Slowly it gained a lot of importance in the rural, urban sectors and also with the women folks too.
Women of the aristocratic families were often seen playing pachisi or chow pad amongst friend.
Pachisi Game Rules:-
Pachisi is board game made with fabric in a cross pattern with four arms and a square in the center.
The players’ pieces are moved along these columns with twelve squares marked as castle squares. Theses castle squares protect the piece by being captured or attacked by the fellow competing player.
The player who completes the entire round first to the finish line or chark Koni is termed as the winner.
The game is lengthy and it takes a very long time to complete the game but it keeps us fully occupied.
The game was a major source of entertainment for royal families and of the rural families like farmers.
The difference was of the playing board and dice that was made of shells, ivory, pebbles, and plastic.
Pachisi An Old Time Favorite Game:-
The board of the royal families was made in velvets cloth with gold embroidery and ivory sticks for dice.
The Indian style cloth Pachisi board was beehive shaped pieces with 2 long dice or 6 cowrie shells.
The Pachisi game is easily transportable and can be unfurled to play anywhere you wish this is evident in the old Hindu texts like Mahabharata where Pandavas were defiladed by Kauravas.
He Who Wins Rules The Game:-
In the royal families, it was also linked with gamble where the lost party had to pay in cash or in kind Dicing was no longer regarded merely as a matter of chance or even of control by superhuman beings, but was a science.
The man who knew how to throw the dice was a sure winner.
Six cowrie shells are used to determine the amount to move the players’ pieces thrown from the player’s hand.
The numbers of cowries which fall with their openings upwards indicate how many spaces the player may move.
In Pachisi, the number of cowries used can be 5, 6 or 7.
The value is decided by the throw of the cowries.
The value is calculated by the number of cowries that have their mouth ups the maximum being 25.
In Hindi 25 is spelled as Pachisi hence the name of the game it shows the relationship of throw with the game.
It was the major source of entertainment for the poor as the game was cheap and easily available.
The rich played with cash and valuables and also did gambling under the influence of this game.
The game of Pachisi is might be called a poor man’s chaupar or Ludo but in reality, chauper is more complex than pachisi.
People who are well versed in this game know how simple this game even for a child.
So keep your heritage alive by introducing this game to your children and see how your child picks up the game and enjoys it earning this family of games its status as classics.