Gilli Danda

 

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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.

  1. Draw a small circle on the ground.  This is home base.

  2. 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 airborne.

  3. Fielders try to catch the gilli.  If caught, the batter is out.

  4. 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.

  5. The batter can keep doing this until a fielder catches the gilli.

  6. 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.

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This article was first published in July/Aug. 2008 issue of Fun for Kidz.

© Vijaya K. Bodach 2008

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