Is Gilli Danda a traditional game?


Gilli-Danda is a rural and small-town sport popular in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan, as well as Cambodia and Italy. The game is played with two sticks: a giant danda and a smaller gilli. 

Gilli Danda is a traditional Indian sport that has been around for over 2500 years. Western games like cricket, baseball, and softball are thought to have originated here.

Gilli-danda is a popular amateur youth sport with several regional variations. The number of points a striker scores in various versions is determined by how far the gilli falls from the striking spot. The length of the danda, or in some situations, the length of the gilli, is used to calculate the distance. The number of times the gilli was hit in the air on the first strike also affects the score. The total points are doubled if it goes a specified distance with two mid-air strikes.


The origins of Gilli Danda can be traced back to the Mauryan Empire in India. According to historical accounts, the game was played on the streets by ordinary people, sometimes joined by members of the royal family. Higher social strata abandoned it over time due to social stigma, leaving it a common man’s game. 

India was a large country that encompassed a large chunk of South Asia. However, India was divided and new countries were formed as geographical boundaries were determined. People’s enthusiasm for Gilli Danda, on the other hand, never waned. The original game was known as Danguli in Bangladesh, Dandi-Biyo in Nepal, Lappa-Duggi in Afghanistan, and Kitti-Pullu in Sri Lanka as it expanded from India to its neighbours. Varied names, however, meant different geographical rules. There was no uniform expansion of the game because players played according to their own rules. It remained an amateur sport that was solely practised for fun and entertainment.

The Gilli Danda International Federation, based in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, was established in 2016 to unite the countries that play the game. By creating a rule book and promoting it professionally, the Federation is attempting to restore this age-old traditional Indian game.


The player balances the gilli on a stone in an inclined way (similar to a see-saw), with one end of the gilli touching the ground and the other end in the air, while standing in a tiny circle. The player then hits the raised end of the gilli with the danda, flipping it into the air. The player strikes the gilli while it is in the air, trying to hit it as far as possible. After striking the gilli, the player must sprint outside the circle and touch a predetermined location before the gilli is retrieved by an opponent. This part of the game is comparable to cricket runs or baseball home runs. There is no formal limit on the number of players or teams that can participate. Gilli-danda is a game that can be played between two teams or between individuals.

To play Gilli Danda, you will need two wooden sticks. Gilli is a little wooden item that is 3-1/2 inches long and 1-1/4 inch in diameter in the middle, tapering at both ends. Danda – a two-foot-long stick with a one-inch diameter, similar to a circular ruler. Solicit assistance from your parents in obtaining this. You can get one made at any carpenter’s shop. 

A little circle with a diameter of four feet is drawn. A little oblong-shaped hole is excavated in the centre, which should be smaller than the gilli.

How to play

There are two teams formed. One is a batter, while the other is a fielder. 

Fielders take up positions from which the gilli can be caught. The first player puts the gilli in the hole and quickly lifts it into the air with the danda before striking it. If he fails the first time, he is given another chance. The batsman is out if the fielder catches the gilli before it strikes the ground, and the second player attempts to hit the gilli. If the gilli is not captured, the danda is used to measure the distance from the hole to where the gilli falls. One point is awarded for each danda.

The fielder picks up the gilli and tosses it to the batsman. While the gilli is in the air, the batsman tries to hit it. If it falls, he taps the tapered end and pulls it into the air, striking it while it is still in the air. He had three attempts at hitting the gilli. He is out if he does not hit it or is caught. 

The game will continue until all of the batsmen have been dismissed. The squad switches sides and proceeds in the same manner. The team with the highest score is the winner.


It is unquestionably an ancient Indian game, possibly dating back more than 2500 years. Many people believe Gilli-Danda is influenced by classic Western sports such as cricket, softball, and baseball. It has several regional versions as an amateur sport. According to some accounts, a striker’s point total is determined by the overall distance travelled by the gilli from the striker’s point.