Just like kids in the United States pick up a ball and a bat to play
baseball, kids all over the Indian subcontinent -- India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, pick up two sticks and play gilli-danda.
Gilli is the size of a long, skinny pinecone. It looks like a little
wooden football. Danda is the stick, about two feet long and one inch
wide. It is used to hit the end of the gilli to make it fly through
the air. If you don't have a gilli-danda, you can make one easily by
whittling a hard piece of wood. Ask an adult to help you.
Teams: Form two teams.
Each team takes turns batting with each member of the team getting a turn to
bat. Or one batter can play against everybody (the fielders).
Everybody gets to bat.
How to Play: There are many
ways to play gilli-danda. This is the way we played in our
neighborhood when I was growing up in India.
Draw a small circle on the ground. This is home
Place gilli in the circle. Batter taps the end of
the gilli with the danda. The gilli flies in the air and the batter
tries to hit it as far as he or she can from home base, while it is
Fielders try to catch the gilli. If caught, the
batter is out.
If the gilli falls to the ground, the batter taps the
gilli again to make it fly, and tries to strike it farther away from home
base while it is airborne.
The batter can keep doing this until a fielder catches the
Batter measures how far gilli is from home base.
Scoring: Measure the distance
from the fielder who caught the gilli to home base with danda. Each
length of danda equals one point. The team (or person) with the most
points wins the game.
Don't have a baseball? Don't worry. Get a couple
of sturdy sticks and invite a friend to play gilli-danda. You can even
make up your own rules.
This article was first published in July/Aug. 2008 issue of
Fun for Kidz.
© Vijaya K. Bodach 2008