Pachisi is a cross and circles type board game that emerged in ancient India, it has been considered the national game of India. Pachisi possesses a uniform cross board with six tokens. The name Pachisi is derived from the Hindi term Pachis, which means twenty-five, and is the highest score to win the game.
The great Indian Emperor Akbar I of the 16th century Mogul Empire brought in this game. He would sit on a Dias four feet above, in the center of the court, and toss the cowry shells. 16 beautiful women on the Red and White squares, similarly colored, would move around as per his directions. Residual parts of these boards are spotted nowadays in Agra and Allahabad. Pachisi was first published in 1896 as Ludo in England and gained huge popularity among the people. John Hamilton of the Hudson River Valley in the US brought copyright on the game in 1867 and finally ended up in the ownership of Selchow and Righter in 1870 that brought in a trademark for the game in 1874. Since then, Pachisi became a best seller and is enjoyed now by several board game lovers.
There are paintings that show Shiva and Parvati playing Pachisi while in the epic Mahabharata story, Pachisi was the fateful game played by the Pandavas and Kauravas, where Yudhishthira wagered and lost everything to the Kauravas, which ultimately resulted in the disrobing of Draupadi.
The game is played on a symmetrical cross-shaped board. A player's pieces move around according to the toss of six or seven cowry shells with the shell count resting upwards, depicting the movable number of shells. Four players as partners can play, sitting opposite each other; Yellow and Black against Red and Green. The pieces are kept in the Charkoni in the beginning. every player tosses the cowries, the highest one plays first, and subsequently turns to continue in an anti-clockwise direction. The game ends after the pieces reenter the Charkoni, finishing a whole round of the board. Still, a piece is only allowed to enter the Charkoni by tossing the exact number needed.
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