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Gilli-Danda / Dandi Biyo

Gilli-Danda is a traditional game played in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The game is played using simple equipment - a danda, being a long wooden stick, and a gilli, a small oval-shaped piece of wood.

The very similar sport of Dandi Biyo is played in rural Nepal, using a 2 foot long stick (the Dandi) and a shorter six-inch long wooden pin (the Biyo). There is also a similar Italian kids game called Lippa.

The game is related to cricket. It is played with two or more players with one player using the longer stick to launch the shorter one (pin) into the air. As with many traditional sports, there are many variations. Generally, the 'batter' tries to hit the smaller stick as far as possible. If it is caught by one of the 'fielders' he is out.

In Gilli Danda, a player stands in the centre of a small circle and balances the Gilli on a stone with one end touching the ground and the other in the air. Next, the player will hit the Gilli with the Danda and send it in the air. While in the air, the player takes another swing to hit the Gilli outside the circle to be chased and caught by other players. If the gilli cannot be hit in 3 tries, the player is out. With the Gilli flying in the air, the player must run to a predetermined location outside the circle before the gilli is retrieved by an opponent. If the gilli lands on the ground, the fielder closest to the gilli has one chance to hit the danda (which has to be placed on top of the circle used) with a throw (similar to a run out in cricket). If the fielder is successful, the striker is out; if not, the striker scores one point and gets to bat again. The team or individual with the most points wins the game.

In Dandi Biyo, if there is a catch, the catcher then tries to throw the Biyo into a hole while the hitter tries to hit and throw the pin away. If the pin successfully goes into the hole, the player using the Dandi will lose all their points.  

In Nepal, there is concerns that their traditioanal game of Dandi Biyo is dying out, there are calls for the government to provide preservation policies for this cultural game.

Interesting Fact: Gilli Danda originates from India with possible origins as far back as 2500 years ago. Some believe Gilli-Danda to be the origins of sports like cricket, baseball, and softball.

Other names for the same or similar sports: Guli Danda, S-Cianco, dangguli in Bangla chinni-dandu in Kannada, kuttiyum kolum in Malayalam, viti-dandu in Marathi, kitti-pullu in Tamil, gooti-billa in Telugu, and Lappa-Duggi in Pashto.

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