Chauka Bara is a traditional board game played during the era of the kings. The game is 2 to 4 player game, played on a 5x5 square board of cells. It is known by various other names like Katte Mane in Kannada, Pakidakal or Kavidi Kali in Malayalam, Ashta Chamma in Telugu, Daayam or Thaayam in Tamil, and Kanna Duaa in Hindi. This game is mostly popular in South India. It belongs to the Parcheesi family and is said to be a precursor to the modern day Ludo. Nowadays, few people play this game but many organizations are working towards reviving this traditional game.
How to Play:
The game of Chauka Bara is played on a 5x5 square board of cells as in Fig. 1: Chauka Bara Board. The middle most square along each edge and the square in the center of the board are safe places where pawns cannot be attacked. Each player owns 4 pawns. The movement of the pawns is determined by the throw of 4 cowries. On a turn, the player throws four cowries and moves the pawns up the spiral path 1- 8 places according to the result of the throw. The path followed by red and blue pawns color is depicted in Fig. 2. Other colored pawns follow similar suit. The score on the throw of cowries is shown in Fig. 3. If the player’s pawn lands on a space occupied by the opponent, the opponent's pawn is 'attacked' and returned to the starting space. Once a player has been able to attack an opponent’s pawn, their pawns are permitted to move inside the inner ring. The first player to move all of their pawns to the innermost square wins.
Ashta Kashte is a similar game played in rural West Bengal. This game is very similar to Chauka Bara except that the size of the board is a 7 by 7 board of cells. The rules of the game are exactly similar to Chauka Bara.
The game creates opportunity for interaction among the players. Young player learn to count and hone their strategizing and decision making skills. Children learn to plan their moves and learn to be patient as they wait to take their turns. Children learn to plan their moves and learn the concepts.