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Home » Sports in Kerala » Pallankuzhi Sport In Kerala

Pallankuzhi Sport In Kerala

Malayalis, both children and adults alike indulge in a lot of games and sports. Many of them are intellectually stimulating. Board games are an all time favorite. Pallankuzhi is one such traditional board game played with great exhilaration.

Two players can play the game. The tools required to play the game are a Pallankuzhi board and a number of Cowrie shells.

Sometimes tamarind nuts are used instead of these shells. A traditional Pallankuzhi board is a wooden board, usually foldable, with 14 pits or cavities carved out in the wood. These are referred to as "houses".

The houses are in two rows of 7 each. Each row belongs to a player and so is called the player's "side". The central house is called the "Kasi" and is like the players store/ treasure of cowrie shells.

The game has many versions depending on the number of cowrie shells each player receives at the beginning.

This number may vary from 144 to 170. The game begins with each player receiving equal number of cowrie shells and with the players distributing them equally in all the houses except the Kasi.

Now as the game progresses each player in turn chooses one of his houses and removes all its cowries and then starts dropping them in all the houses in a clockwise direction.

So the house you had initially chosen is left empty leaving the house next to it vulnerable to capture by the opponent.

The attempt is to collect all the seeds of the opponent. Hence, the system of capture of houses. If a player went bankrupt on all his cowries, he was given access to the shells accumulated in his Kasi.

And thus the game goes on it one players shells are totally captured. A lot depends on strategic planning and calculation in this game.

It is a lot similar to Oware and Kalah (board games from Africa). The current computer/ mobile game Bantumi is based on the principles of Pallankuzhi.