Everyone remembers playing a game of Ludo or Snakes & Ladders be it on a hot summer day or a cool winter evening. These board games that form such a beloved part of our childhood actually take their origins much far behind in history. One such game is Chowka Bhara.

In former princely states like Tripura, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Tamil Nadu , Kerala and Punjab, Chowka Bhara was a favorite past time. The game uses easily available articles like sea shells, broken bangles and tamarind seeds, broken bangle bits and coins. The players seek cialisfrance24.com to move them across a 5 by 5 square drawn on the board to reach an inner space called “home”. It is played in a squares format on the floor.



Fig: A Chowka Board

Fig:A custom made board




The four player game Each player have four pawns (coins, bangle bits etc) starting at different positions at the four crossed squares at the outermost ring. The rules of game

Chowka Bhara Board-(http://bp1.blogger.com/5D2Wzovowzc/SB2_kwbnjXI/AAAAAAAAAAU/LXU2kY3WVQo/s400/chaukabara-5×5.jpg )

How the game works: 

  1. The board is always kept in the center during the game.
  2. Each player has a different starting point and initially keeps all his coins there (marked by X on his side).
  3. Each player takes turn to throw all four cowrie shells on the floor and moves one of his coins according to the number as indicated by the shells.
  4. Movement of coins is in anti-clockwise direction in outer squares and then in clockwise direction in inner squares as shown by the arrow in the diagram.
  5. If a player’s coin lands on a square occupied by opponent’s coin. The opponent’s coin is cut and the player gets an extra turn to play.
  6. The cut coin returns to its starting home square and has to go round all over again.
  7. The crossed squares (home squares) though, are safe places and no coins present here can be cut.
  8. When a coin reaches the square left of its home square, it further moves up into the inner squares in clockwise direction. Each coin finishes its race when it manages to get into the innermost crossed square.
  9. The first player to get all his coins into the innermost square wins the game.

Extra Turn:

  • Whenever a chowka or a bhara (four or eight) is got during a throw of cowrie shells, the player gets a bonus turn to throw the cowries.
  • When a player cuts opponent’s coin, he gets an extra turn to play.
  • During an extra turn, either the same coin or some other coin can be played.

This ‘Game of Chance’ finds relevance in mythology Mahabharata. Evidently,in two or four player format this game involves an element of chance by the roll of special dice and an element of strategy .

The Chowka Bhara board game is still played to improve the counting skills of the children . As important aspect of personality development, it was used to teach kids war tactics and strategies as well as eye-to-hand coordination in earlier time.

Want to try this game now? Check out the ‘ Store’ section to buy Chowka Bhara at Nazariya.

Happy Shopping!


Author: Srivachan Srinivasan

Image Source:-                                                                            http://www.cyberkerala.com/kalamezhuthu_images/kalamezhuthu_9.jpg  https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6001/6097028803_99948ee615_b.jpg https://tilalu.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/kalamezhuthu-3.jpg   http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/00269/14KIKALAM_GJ31J7G1K_269659f.jpg                https://sutraartiperformative.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/028.jpg

Names like Rangoli, Kolam etc are not new to us, and neither is the tradition of drawing them at the entrance of homes and temples. In fact it is part of the domestic routine in Hindu households, who consider it auspicious to draw certain patterns at the doorstep and courtyard to welcome a deity into the house. This art form is a harmonious blend of Aryan, Dravidian and Tribal traditions.

Kalam (Kalamezhuthu) is unique form of this art found in Kerala. It is essentially a ritualistic art practiced in temples and sacred groves of Kerala where the representation of deities like Kali and Lord Ayyappa, are made on the floor. Various factors need to be considered when deciding the nature or figure on the ‘Kalam’, which include the presiding deity of the temple or sacred grove, the religious purpose that calls for the ritual of Kalamezhuthu and the particular caste that does it. In each case the patterns, minute details, dimensions and colour choice are decided in observance with strict rules. The patterns vary considerably depending on the occasion, but rarely by the choice of the artist.

Kalamezhuthu is practiced using natural pigments and powders, usually in five colours. The drawing is done with bare hands without the use of tools. The pictures are developed from the centre, growing outwards, patch by patch. The powder is spread in the floor, letting it in a thin stream between the thumb and the index finger. The figures drawn usually have an expression of anger or other emotions. The powders and pigments are all extracted from plants – rice powder for white, burnt husk for black, turmeric for yellow, a mixture of lime and turmeric for red and the leaves of certain trees for green. Lighted oil lamps placed at strategic positions brighten the colours. Kalamezhuthu artists are generally members of communities like the Kurups, Theyyampadi Nambiars, Theeyadi Nambiars and Theeyadi Unnis. The ‘Kalams’ drawn by these people vary in certain characteristics.

Image Source https://sutraartiperformative.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/028.jpg

Ritual songs accompanied by a number of instruments (namely ilathalam, veekkan chenda, kuzhal, kombu and chenda) are sung in worship of the deity, on completion of the ‘Kalam’. These songs form part of an oral tradition; the rituals being performed by the artists themselves. The type of song varies considerably, from folk to classical depending on the deity being worshipped. The drawing of a ‘Kalam’ is started at an appointed time and it is erased immediately after the rituals related to it are over.