Remember your childhood days, when you would wait for a holiday to play along with your friends. Those were the ways for us to get competitive without having to hurt oneself too badly. Here is a brief history of that very sport.
Lagori is an ancient Indian sport that is being played since the last 5000 years. Ancient manuscripts reflect that fact, and thus this game has enthralled people since 5 millenniums! It is a very simple sport.
Ideally, an open space is chosen and 7-9 flat stones are placed on each other, forming a pyramid. The pile of stones indicates the center of the field and 2 teams stand on either side of it. The attacking team starts the game by directly shattering the stones using a ball. As the ball bounces off and travels across the field, the team quickly gathers and tries to pile up the stones again.
The defending team, simultaneously, tries to fetch the ball. Once that is done, it is thrown at the attacking team’s players who are eliminated from the field if they are hit by the ball. If the pile is complete before all the members are out, the attacking team gets the game. And if the pile is left incomplete and all the attacking players are eliminated, the defending team gets the game. Several sets are played to decide the winner.
Modern Day Rules-
From an open field with a dusty turf to a synthetic indoor facility, from a pile of flat stones to 9 circular fiber discs and from a worn out tennis ball to reduce impact to a softball specifically made for Lagori- the game has changed a lot over time! Here are the 6 fundamental rules laid down by the International Lagori Federation-
Each team must have 12 players. However, only 6 players get to play on the court for every set.One set lasts for 3 minutes and a 30-second break is given right after each setA Lagori match has 3 sets and the team accumulating maximum points wins.The ball can be caught with a single hand or both handsNo player is allowed to run with the ballAfter knocking it off, the pile of 9 discs has to be re-arranged in the same pyramid chronology.
Surely, the frequency of the game being played has dropped in the past decade, but with the inaugural World Cup in 2015 being a success and with the ILPL catering to larger audiences, Lagori is certainly going through a revival. Hopefully, it can emulate what Kabaddi has able to achieve. Hopefully, the kids of this generation will embrace the game and enjoy it to the fullest, taking it where it belongs to- the playground!
It's an absolute joy to play a game that makes you reminisce of your childhood days. It's also a bigger joy to introduce this game to the future generations so that they could keep it alive.