Pallanguzhi, also famous by the name of “Aliguli Mane" is an ancient and traditional Mancala game played in the rural areas of South India. Pallanguzhi was widely played in Tamil Nadu, and consecutively, it expanded in several other places like Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia.
The origin of the Pallanguzhi game in India took place in the period of the Chola dynasty. This game was played by the players on the temple premises and later on gained popularity among the Tamil people. The game involves using stones, beads or seeds and rows of holes or pits dug in the land or any other similar surface. The holes were brought in at the time of a ground study by Thavasimuthu and his students.
Several Hindu contents depict how Gods and Goddesses indulged in board games during that era. In Ramayana, Sita used to pass her time playing Aliguli Mane at Ashok Van. She is assumed to have played the game as she waited to be rescued from Ravana in Lanka.
The game requires a sharp understanding of numerical ability, strategy, alertness, and focus. Mainly, the board game has 2 rows and 7 columns. There are 14 cups and 146 counters provided on the game board. The stones or pebbles are placed on both sides of the board. The player, during their turn, first collects the seeds from any of the pits. They generally begin from the right side to the left side anticlockwise. During the game, the player releases the seeds in the pits of both sides at once. Once the collected seeds are over, the player can collect the seeds from the next pit right after where they ended and vice-versa. If the player gets no seeds in the pit next to the last seed released, the player captures the pits after a vacant cup. If the player discovers two empty pits after the last released seed, he/she will capture no seeds and their turn comes to an end. The opponent will acquire the game subsequently. The winner of the game will be declared as per the highest no of captured seeds than the other player. It has been recorded that men played this game occasionally in the form of betting. As the era changes, this game is still being played by the locals. It is interesting to note that with the presence of technology, traditional games are still being passed on from generation to generation. And it will only be a matter of time for Pallanguzhi to be a popular online game.
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