Traditional Sports of Northeast India

The north-eastern part of India is largely unexplored and for ages has held a mystique charm of its own. Tourists who plan to venture out to this part of India not only get a chance to explore this region and its natural beauty, but also to learn and understand the culture of its people. Alike other parts of the country, religious festivities are an integral element of the lives of the locals. Another facet of the people living in the northeast states is their love for traditional sports. On vacations to any of these states, travelers can watch people playing these traditional sports while the enthusiastic ones can also partake.



Dhopkhel is the most popular game in Assam, and it is played by two teams of 11 players each, inside a 125-metre long and 80-metre wide field. A rubber ball is thrown to the playing court of the opposing group to hit one of their members. If this attempt is a success, then the member who was hit with ball has to leave the game. This way, the team that is able to oust their opponents, wins the battle.

Arunachal Pradesh

One of the games that tourists can play while on a visit to Arunachal Pradesh during their holidays is Porok-Pamin Sinam. The competition tests the flexibility and balance of the participants. Competitors hold one of their legs in their hand and keep the other hand on their shoulder. They hop on only one leg and attempt to hit their rival and push him out of the marked circle. Whoever is able to achieve the feat, wins the competition.



By far, the most sought-after traditional sport in Sikkim is archery, which has roots in the warring culture of the inhabitants. Men aim at a 3-feet long and 1-feet wide target from a distance of 130 metres. Women give these matches a rather colourful tone by hurling abuses at opponents of the men they are supporting. Some even come between the archers and their targets to distract them and make them miss their mark.


Kang Shanaba

Kang Shanaba

During tours to Manipur, the famed sport known as Kang Shanaba can be played with the locals. It is played by two teams with both of them having seven members. In olden days, the kang used to be the seed of a fruit, but later it started to be made of lac. The game is played by throwing the kang at targets, kept on the playing courts or by sliding them past lines, drawn across it. It is somewhat similar to the game of marbles.




An exciting way to enjoy Mizoram trips is by taking part in an Insuknawr competition. This indigenous game is played by two people, who stand in a circle. A single rod, about 8-feet long and roughly 3-4 inches in diameter, is held by both opponents under their armpits. As per the rules, at least 4 inches of the rod-length should be under the armpits and the rod should stay symmetrical to the center of the circle. The participants attempt to throw each other out of the circle by pushing the rod and the opponent.


A game known as cock-fighting originated in Nagaland, and it is played by two men, who try to win the surrender of their rival by continuously kicking him.


A sport, called Gella Chutt, is played by two teams of 7-10 players each with great zeal in Meghalaya. One group is called the in group, while the other is out group. The in group appoints a leader and out group invades its court. The former attempts to stop the invasion of the latter, by touching the opposing members, in an attempt to keep their leader safe. If the leader is touched, he is declared dead, following which the teams interchange their roles


A game called Wa Pong Sala can be enjoyed in during tours to Meghalaya. In this sport, two rivals sit in front of each other with stretched legs and a bamboo stick is kept between them. They attempt to pull each other by hand and the one who pulls his opponent from the ground, wins.


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