Punjab Games: 10 Best Games and Activities in Punjab

punjab games

The northern Indian state of Punjab is one of the most colorful regions in the country. Besides its culture and cuisine, it has a rich history of games, which are integral to the social fabric of the people. Ranging from the open air games played in the expansive playgrounds filled with laughter and enthusiasm to indoor games that turn any room into a livening arena, the diversity of Punjab games is amazing. Among all the games, we can see that Ludo is probably one of the most frequently played games, in its classic board variant or through Ludo apps that are available online in most homes.

In this article, let us look at the games played in Punjab, including indoor and outdoor games. Also, let us find out how they reflect the history and traditions of this region.

First, let us look at the games to play in Punjab outdoor.

Outdoor Games Played in Punjab

Outdoor games played in Punjab are not just a way to pass time; they are integral to the social and cultural fabric of the region, fostering community ties and physical fitness among participants. Let us look at the top games to play in Punjab outdoors:

Bandar Killa: Climbing, Hiding, and Seeking in the Fort Game

Bandar Killa, often reflective of the historical military tactics seen in Punjab’s past, dates back to when children would imitate the battles fought in their localities. The game has its roots in the ancient traditions of defending forts from invaders, a common historical theme in Punjab due to its location on the frontiers of several empires. Over generations, it evolved from a reenactment of military sieges to a playful yet competitive children’s game.

The game starts with one player being the ‘king’, defending their ‘fort’, typically marked by a circle on the ground. Other players attempt to breach the fort without getting tagged by the king.

Saunchi Kauddi: Hoops, Hands, and Traditional Toss

Saunchi Kauddi is believed to have originated from the traditional Punjabi lifestyle that involved various forms of physical activities to celebrate the end of harvesting seasons. This game was particularly popular during local festivals and fairs, acting as a means of social interaction among villagers. The use of simple equipment like rings and pegs made it accessible, ensuring its popularity across various socioeconomic groups in rural Punjab.

In Saunchi Kauddi, players toss metal or rubber rings from a set distance aiming to encircle pegs fixed in the ground, each with varying point values. The pegs are arranged in different patterns, and higher points are awarded for more challenging targets. The game progresses through rounds, with players either competing individually or in teams. Strategy involves deciding whether to aim for high-value targets or opt for safer, easier pegs.

Goongi Kabaddi: Silent Intrigue in the Game of Tag

Goongi Kabaddi diverged from the more vocal and traditional forms of Kabaddi, which have roots stretching back over centuries in Indian culture. The silent version is a strategic adaptation that requires not just physical prowess but also mental acuity and teamwork without verbal communication. This version likely developed as a training game among youths to improve stealth skills, useful in both hunting and traditional rural conflicts.

Players must raid the opponent’s half of the field, tagging them out while maintaining complete silence. The game ends when all players of a team are tagged.

Lukan Miti: Concealing and Discovering in Traditional Play

 Lukan Miti (hide and seek) has been a staple in Punjabi culture, tracing back to the playful yet strategic ways children learned spatial awareness and stealth. In historical contexts, such skills were valuable in both everyday rural life and larger community interactions. The game also reflects the community-oriented lifestyle, where large groups of children play together, fostering social bonds and collaborative skills. 

One player closes their eyes and counts to a number while others hide. The seeker then tries to find and tag the hiders.

Pithhoo-Garam: Aim, Throw, and Strike in Street Play

Pithhoo-Garam connects directly to traditional Punjabi group activities that emphasize teamwork, strategy, and physical skill. Historically, this game could have had its beginnings as a form of training for young villagers, teaching them precision and cooperation—skills that were essential for village defense and communal tasks. Over time, it became a popular recreational activity, especially during community gatherings and celebrations, embodying the spirit of competition and camaraderie typical of Punjabi culture.

Teams alternate, throwing a ball at a stack of stones to knock them over and then try to rebuild the stack before the opposing team can hit the thrower with the ball. It is celebrated mostly at the community level during festive seasons, with youths showing remarkable skill and teamwork.

These are some of the best outdoor games played in Punjab. 

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Now, let us find out popular indoor games played in Punjab

Indoor Games Played in Punjab

Indoor games in Punjab offer a delightful mix of strategy, skill, and social interaction, providing entertainment and cultural connection throughout the year. Here are the popular games to play in Punjab indoor, along with a brief history and description of how each game is played:

Chowkabara: Tactical Maneuvers at the Crossroads

Chowkabara is a traditional board game similar to Ludo and has been part of Punjabi households for generations. It serves not only as entertainment but also as a way of teaching strategic thinking to children.

The game involves rolling dice and moving four tokens from start to finish according to the dice roll. The aim is to navigate one’s tokens around the board and safely into the home triangle before the opponents.

In the digital era, Ludo has gained new life through platforms like mobile apps, making it accessible to a global audience while retaining its essence.

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Backgammon: Dice and Strategy in the Classic Board Game

Backgammon has a long-standing presence in Punjab, often featured in social gatherings and family rooms. Its appeal lies in its blend of luck and strategic play, resonating with the Punjabi ethos of skillful competition and festivity.

Each player has fifteen pieces that move between twenty-four points according to the roll of two dice. The objective is to bear off all one’s pieces from the board before the opponent can do the same.

Snooker: Precision and Strategy on the Green Baize

Snooker gained popularity in Punjab during the British colonial era, becoming a staple in clubs and later in public sporting venues. Its strategic depth and the precision required have made it a favorite among the youth and older generations alike.

Players use cues to pot colored balls in a predetermined order on a rectangular table, aiming to score higher points than the opponent.

Stapoo: Strategic Hops and Jumps in Traditional Play

Stapoo, known globally as hopscotch, has been a favorite among children in Punjab for decades. This game has been a playground staple, helping build agility and calculation skills among youngsters.

Players toss a small object into numbered squares drawn on the ground and then hop through the squares on one or two feet to retrieve the object without stepping on the lines.

Kikli: Spirited Spins and Joyful Laughter

Kikli is not just a game but a cultural dance-form played by two participants, usually girls, who perform this spinning motion while singing traditional songs. It has been a symbol of camaraderie and joy among young Punjabis.

Two players clasp their hands together, cross their arms, and spin around in circles while maintaining rhythm and balance.

Punjab games are as diverse as its culture, each with its unique flair and significance. Whether it’s the energetic sprints across a field or the intense focus over a board game, these games are a testament to the rich cultural tapestry of the region. They not only provide entertainment but also help in the physical, cognitive, and social development of those who participate. 

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Take a look at other places in India to play outdoor and indoor games:

Punjab Games: FAQs

Where in Punjab is Kabaddi most popular? 

Kabaddi is most popular in the rural areas of Punjab, especially in districts like Bathinda and Hoshiarpur, where it is a staple of local culture and community events.

How has digital gaming impacted traditional games in Punjab? 

Digital gaming in Punjab has popularized traditional games by transforming them into online formats, broadening accessibility and engagement but also challenging the traditional ways these games are played.

Are there any games in Punjab that offer cash rewards? 

Yes, digital platforms like Zupee offer versions of traditional games like Ludo, Snakes and Ladders, and Trump Card with opportunities for players to win cash rewards.

What makes outdoor games in Punjab unique? 

Outdoor games in Punjab are unique for their cultural significance, often involving community participation, festivals, and reflecting the agricultural lifestyle, such as the physicality and teamwork seen in Kabaddi.

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