Traditional toys and Regional Games of Maharashtra and Odisha bring in cultural integration of the country



Mumbai: Traditional toys and Regional Games of Maharashtra and Odisha bring in cultural integration of the country and India Tourism Mumbai presented an EBSB webinar on these two paired states under Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat. They exemplify the richness and diversity of our culture and also the artistry of the toymakers.  Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat (EBSB) has been one of the major flagship programs of the Government to bring in cultural integration of the country as a part of the vision to build a “New India by 2022”.

As part of the World Tourism Day celebrations, India Tourism Western Region organised a Webinar pioneered by

Regional Games of Maharashtra and Odisha

Venkatesan Dhattareyan, Regional Director (West & Central Region)

Venkatesan Dhattareyan, Regional Director (West & Central Region), IndiaTourism, Mumbai, Ministry of Tourism. The theme for the webinar was Rural Tourism: From the previous Niche to Future Norm – Tourism & Rural Development. Venkatesan presented the significance of rural tourism and the empowerment of the rural folks.

The Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat program was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the 31st October 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The theme behind the EBSB is to highlight the rich heritage of India and the diverse culture of different states and promoting mutual understanding.

 The progress is part of the larger mission by the government of India. Investing in people, and strengthening producer organizations and rural institutions, artisans, rural entertainment are key to developing a more inclusive rural sector. Such investments have enormous potential to generate economic growth that is equitable and reduces rural poverty.  Self-sufficiency of any nation starts from the rural hence; strengthening rural is a key driver and the need of the hour during the pandemic. Traditional toys and Regional Games of Maharashtra and Odisha

The travel guides Chitra Acharya, Regional level guide (Western Region) and Tapan Mishra Regional level guide (Easter Region) presented about the various Toys and Games played in the rural area, led the audience through an audiovisual presentation narrating the bygone days, and glued the audiences to the screen.

Regional Games of Maharashtra and Odisha



A toy is an object, often a small representation of something familiar, as an animal or person, for children or others to play with. Dolls, toys, and games have been popular among children from time unknown. Toys are torches, which guide children into adult life, for it is through them that they are initiated into the inner mysteries, traditions, and faiths of the world they are to enter. Toys and games had always fascinated children. Ancient children played with marbles, dice, and stuffed dolls. Some board games, chess, and dolls have been popular for generations. In the words of toy historians Athelstan and Kathleen Spilhaus, “A toy’s appeal lies in the form and shape, the beauty of line, the color and detail, the charm of miniaturization, and the humor of caricature. Some toys amuse use with their jerky antics; others add beauty to our lives with their grace and rhythm. Many do things we can’t do in real life, thereby keeping us in touch with fantasy” Toys and dolls are objects of joy in a child world. Toys have been an invaluable gift for children of every section, caste, religion, and community and have been their companions. From early times, various materials have been used to make toys and dolls. The oldest toys date back to 5,000 years ago, from the sites of the Indus valley civilization. Traditional toys and Regional Games of Maharashtra and Odisha bring in cultural integration of the country.

Handcrafted toys

Handcrafted toys and games are made of mud & clay, wood, coir, cane & bamboo, wire & metal, and stuffed soft toys made of cloth, cotton, and wool. They create an excellent employment opportunity for rural artisans globally. Stuffed toys are all-time favorites and a good way of using waste material ( Toys have been an invaluable gift for children of every section, caste, religion, and community and have been their companions.

Indian toys – India has a truly glorious tradition in toys. Historically Indian toys date back to 5000 years. The excavated toys and dolls found in Harappa and Mohenjodaro have been carefully preserved by the museums in India. The most bewitching part of Indian Handicrafts lies in its child world-the toys and dolls. The tradition of toys started from Harappa and Mohanjodaro which have thrown up a magnificent profusion of clay toys of considerable ingenuity, animals with moveable heads, monkeys that slide around a stick, and the most skillful toy carts. The dolls and toys made are not only for play but have ritual significance also. Generally, toys representing ritualistic and symbolic deities based on the Hindu mythological characters are made. The figures of Gods and Goddesses who reveal their spirit in the artistic expression are very helpful for learning about the rituals, customs, and mythology.

Sagargote – Sagar-goti is a classic favorite game played with 5 big round seeds (gajage/sagar goti), this game needs some practice and learning but is an amazing form of recreation. It Improves concentration, hand-eye coordination, and hand dexterity. This is playing with 5 seeds that need coordination between eyes and hands.

Surparambya– This game is mainly played on the Vada tree. In this, one has to jump from one parambi (branch) to another parambi, that is, to jump and catch. All the players want to form a single group. One of the same group has a state. Everyone else wants to jump from one tree to another without stepping on the ground. The player whose foot touches the ground is considered to have fallen and ruled out the game. The jump from one tree to another is called Sur, and hence the name Surparamba. Physical strength is very important in this sport, especially the strength in the grip of the hand. And this is a gossiping ground too.

Lagori – A game where a stack of flat stones are pilled up and one team tries to break the pile by throwing a ball. When the pile is fallen, the team members have to collect the fallen stones and pile up again. The other team meanwhile throws the ball on opposing team members. The members who have been hit with a ball gets out

Kanda-Fodi – This is a very interesting game where a player has to jump across another player. It starts with simple parts like leg, hand, and gets more and more difficult as the height to jump get higher.

Viti Dandu/Gilli Danda – This is another most popular game. This game is played with one smaller stick (Gilli) and another large stick(Danda). The danda is used to hit on Gilli which is kept inclined on a stone. The Gilli flips in the air when hit by a Danda. As soon as the Gilli is in the air, the Danda is hit again on Gilli to strike as far as possible.

Kusti/Kushti – Kushti or Pehlwani is a sport that radiates the fragrance of the Indian soil and a kind of mud wrestling that dates back to the time when Mughal rulers influenced over India. Kushti is more than a mere game, it is an orthodox type of Indian wrestling that offers its followers a reflective journey, a sacred space, and unmatched weather of social harmony. The terms Pehlwani and Kushti are derived from the Persian expressions pahalvani and kushti separately.  The Indian martial Art has its parenthood from Malla-yuddha form of wrestling of India and Varzesh-e-Pahalvani of Persia. Kushti also has its origin in the great epic of Mahabharata.  Khashaba Jadhav won the bronze medal in the 1952 Olympics.

Pakkadapakadi, Kho-Kho, and Tatumba names a few.  Then she explained the various toys like Takki dolls – which have rough expression and used as door stopper and nail fixing too. These toys are from Sawantwadi and were made by 6 families now the makers of these toys are also known as chitari. Another is Bhatukli (house-keeping) or the famous kitchen set. Then comes Ganjifa cards which are categorized to Dashavatara cards, Darbar cards, 9 planets, and Bazar cards, they are round in shape with the border but Bazar cards don’t have any border. This also belongs to Sawantwadi art. Interestingly, you can see this in Odisha too.

Venkatesan Dhattareyan thanked all the participants and the guides provide a rich and comprehensive demonstration of the toys and games.

Subramanian & S. Suchithra


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