A game of Dabba Kali in Kerala
|Setup time||less than a minute|
|Playing time||3 minutes|
|Skill(s) required||Running, Observation, Speed, Strength, Throwing and concentration|
Lagori, dikori or lagoori, also known as Lingocha, Pithu (Punjabi), Palli Patti (Karimnagar), Pitto (Rajasthan), Pitthhu (Punjab),Pittu (Bengal) or Satoliya (Madhya Pradesh) is a game in India involving a ball and a pile of flat stones, generally played between two teams in a large outdoor area.It is also being played today in villages.
Seven Stones, one of the most ancient games of India whose history dates back to the Bhagwata Gita, a religious text that is said to be written 5000 years ago, mentions Lord Krishna playing the game with his friends. Also known as ‘Lagori,’ this traditional sport is played by both girls and boys in rural as well urban areas all over India since the last 5 milleniums. Believed to have been originated in the southern parts of India, Lagori goes by several names across the country, differing from region to region. A recreational game, Lagori is often played in teams of two with minimum four players on each side of the team. Considered to be a humorous, simple and economical game, the game is now almost extinct with very few people playing the game. A game that often boasts of being the more aggressive version of Dodgeball, Lagori used to be one of the most popular outdoor sports in India during the 90’s and slowly reduced in popularity due to lack of open grounds and the innovation of technology that has children glued to their electronic devices. Having lost its importance in the recent times, there are still times when kids are often spotted in villages playing the sport and keeping the folk culture of the country alive and not let it die in history.
This game allows children to not only blow off some steam and play outdoors, but also provides a place for social interaction between other children who come to play. This game helps to develop and hone aiming skills, strategy building skills, and teamwork in children. They learn to compete among one another in a healthy environment and also learn to accept defeat and by understanding true sportsmanship.
A member of one team (the seekers) throws a tennis ball at a pile of stones to knock them over. The seekers then try to restore the pile of stones while the opposing team (the hitters) throws the ball at them. If the ball touches a seeker, that seeker is out and the team the seeker came from continues, without the seeker. A seeker can always safeguard themselves by touching an opposite team member before the ball hits the seeker.
- Clearly mark the boundary. If any of the seekers crosses it, they are out.
- If the person trying to knock down the pile cannot do it in three tries, he is out.
- In any of the three tries, if the thrower's ball does not knock down the pile and is caught by an opponent after the first bounce then the thrower is out.
- Each team contains equal number of players.
- Piles of flat stones contain 7 stones.
- Hitters cannot run with the ball and hit the seekers
- After restoring the pile of stones the player should say lagori 3 times and swipe his hands around the stones
In other parts of the country, the same game is known several other names:
- Lagori (Karnataka)
- Lingorcha,Lagori (Maharashtra)
- Pitthu (Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Uttarakhand and northern Rajasthan),
- Sitoliya (Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh)
- Satodiyu (Gujarat)
- Pittu (West Bengal)
- Bam Pitto,pittu (Bihar)
- Yedu penkulata, Yedu rallu, dikori or pittu (Andhra Pradesh)
- Dabba kali (Kerala, played using a ball made of coconut leaves"olapanthu")
- Ezhu kallu (Tamil Nadu).
- Garmaan (Kashmir)
Modern Day Lagori
Not very long ago, kids all around the country would come together on a field to play from a plethora of outdoor games. While football and cricket were the most commonly played games, ancient and traditional Indian were also played like Kabaddi, Kho-Kho, and Gilli Danda.
As time passed by, most of these traditional games began to fade away and very few remained. Kabaddi, for example, became a global phenomenon after being pushed with the Pro Kabaddi League. A game that no kid talked about 7 years ago, is now being enthusiastically watched and played by almost every child of this generation. Fortunately, Kabaddi is not the only traditional sport who gained international popularity. Lagori, which was played a lot by the youth back in the day, has also begun to make its way to the international circuit.
Today, Lagori is played by at least 30 nations across the world. The game has gradually gained a considerable amount of global prominence. However, India is the epicentre of the development of the game on with a bigger platform and a wide outreach to contemporary audience. The Indian Lagori Premier League that was held in November 2017 had gathered great momentum across the nation which was organised by the Amateur Lagori Federation of India. They have also made efforts to push the game to several states of India as well as in other countries, playing a pivotal role in popularising the game. The second Lagori World Cup (first being played in 2015) is soon going to take place later this year, several nations including Indian, Bhutan Hong Kong, Brazil, Turket, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal will go face to face.
Similar to India, Lagori is identified differently in various countries, but the spirit of the sport remains the same.
7 Sang - Iran
Teelo - Canada
Sat Chara - Bangladesh
Pitho Garam - Pakistan
Seven Tilo- Nepal
Cantracon - Afghanistan
The rules have not changed that much over the years, however there have been some changes brought in the way the game is being played. The following fundamentals were laid down by the International Lagori Foundation: Each team would have 12 players, with only 6 players on the court for every set. One set lasts for 3 minutes followed by a half minute break in between sets. One match has typically 3 sets and the team scoring maximum points wins. Other than that, the rules are basically the same for all leagues. Having said that, the game has definitely come a long way from what it was. From a dusty open field to an indoor synthetic turf, from a pile of stones lying around in the field to 7 circular fibre discs made for the game, and from an old tennis ball to a softball specifically tailored for the game.
Despite the game almost being forgotten and becoming extinct in the past few decades, the inaugural World Cup help in 2015 was a huge success paired with the Indian Lagori Premiere League (ILPL) catering to a wide audience in the country, it seems as though Lagori is going through its revival phase. Hopefully, like Kabaddi was successfully revived and is now on every modern kids’ minds, Lagori can emulate the same and achieve similar success in the nation and across the globe.
In popular media
- In the grand season finale of TVF Triplings, a popular Indian mini internet series made by TVF (The Viral Fever), a game of SPL (Satoliya Pitto Lagori) acts as the glue that brings together a group of estranged siblings.
- "Pithoo – The game of seven stones". Urban Vaastu | Best Urban Development Magazine. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
- "Five Indian Origin Games on the verge of extinction". My India. 2015-08-16. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
- "Taking You Back To the 90s: Do You Remember Playing Lagori?". Playo. 2017-08-24. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
- Cohen, Noam. "When Knowledge Isn’t Written, Does It Still Count?" The New York Times. August 7, 2011. Retrieved on September 22, 2011.
- Seven stones (ஏழு கல்லு)
- Paranjpe, Shailendra (2015-01-26). "Now, a premier league to popularise Lagori". DNA India. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
- Sanjiv, Deepthi SanjivDeepthi; Jun 27, Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Updated:; 2017; Ist, 04:00. "Lagori's global push". Bangalore Mirror. Retrieved 2019-08-31.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- Bennur, Shankar (2015-04-15). "Lagori league formed to popularise the traditional sport in State". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2019-08-31.
- "Season finale - Season 1 episode 5 - TVF Triplings with Tata Tiago". http://tvfplay.com. TVF - The Viral Fever media Labs. Retrieved 13 October 2016. External link in
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