Gilli danda – learn how to play with

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor

The Ancient Game of Gilli Danda

Have you ever heard of Gilli Danda? It’s an exciting game that originated in South Asia over 2500 years ago, during the time of the mighty Maurya Empire. Today, it’s still played in many rural areas across Asia, and even in some European countries like Turkey.

Gilli Danda is a popular sport among the youth, and it shares similarities with well-known western games like cricket and baseball.

Game Variations Around the World

Gilli Danda has different variations depending on the region where it’s played. In fact, it even goes by different names in different countries. Here are some of the names it’s known by:

  • Tipcat (English)
  • Dandi Biyo (Nepali)
  • Alak Doulak (Persian)

What You’ll Need to Play Gilli Danda

To play Gilli Danda, you only need two wooden sticks. One is called the “Gilli,” a small stick about 3 inches long. The other is the “Danda,” a larger stick measuring around 2 feet in length.

Think of the Danda as your bat, but thinner at one end. You can even make these sticks at home if you like. However, if you’re looking for something more polished, you can always visit a carpenter for some excellent-looking material.

How to Play Gilli Danda

Imagine standing on a vast field, surrounded by friends, ready for an exciting game. In the middle of the ground, a circle with a diameter of about 4 meters is marked. But that’s not all – there’s an oval-shaped hole dug right in the center of it. This is where the real action begins!

Now, let me explain how to play Gilli Danda. The objective of the game is simple: you want to use your magical skills to hit the Gilli, a small stick, with the Danda, a larger stick. But here’s the catch – you have to hit it in the air, not on the ground!

You start by placing the Gilli across the hole or between two stones if you haven’t dug the hole. Now it’s your turn to shine! You pick up the Danda, take a deep breath, and prepare for the ultimate swing. You aim carefully, focusing all your energy on hitting the Gilli with the most powerful strike.

As you swing the Danda, your heart races with anticipation. Will it strike true? Will the Gilli soar high in the air, defying gravity? Or will it fall short, disappointing both you and your friends?

If you hit the Gilli in the air, you have two options: One, you can sprint as fast as you can towards the opposite side of the field, scoring points for each successful run. Or two, you can play it safe and stay in your current position, defending your score. The choice is yours, my friend.

But wait, there’s more! The game isn’t over until it’s over. Your opponent, who is incredibly skilled and cunning, will try to catch the Gilli before it touches the ground. If they succeed, you lose your turn, and they gain a chance to show off their incredible dexterity.

So, it’s a game of strategy and finesse. You must choose when to hit the Gilli with all your might and when to hold back, defending your points. You must also anticipate your opponent’s moves, ready to react quickly and adapt to their cunning tactics. It’s a thrilling battle of wits and physical prowess.

Now, are you ready to play Gilli Danda? Gather your friends, find a field, and let the game begin! Remember, victory awaits those who can hit the Gilli high and run like the wind. It’s time to unleash your inner champion and embrace the excitement of Gilli Danda!

Gilli danda - learn how to play with


To play Gilli Danda, you need a minimum of two players. The players are split into two teams with equal members. After a coin toss, the winning team gets to decide if they want to bat first or go for fielding. The team that chooses to bat is called the hitter team, while the other team becomes the opponent team.

As I said before, this game requires two sticks. The shorter one is called the Gilli, and the longer one is known as the Danda.

Here’s how the game works: a striker (or batsman) throws the Gilli up into the air using the Danda and then strikes it once more while it’s airborne. The aim of the striker is to hit the Gilli as hard as possible, making it travel the longest distance from the point of striking.

Gilli danda - learn how to play with

When I play Gilli Danda, there’s one important rule: if a fielder from the other team catches the Gilli while it’s in the air, I’m out. No points for me. But if the Gilli lands safely on the ground, then it’s game on!

The next thing we do is measure the distance between the Gilli and the striking area using a Danda. The Danda is like a unit of measurement, kind of like one run. So, for every distance covered with the Danda, I score one run. It’s like a little race!

Now, here’s the exciting part. If I can’t hit the Gilli in my first try, I get two more chances! I get three attempts in total, and if I can’t hit it even once, then it’s game over for me. I’m out, and it’s time for the next player from my team to have a go.

So, to sum it all up, in Gilli Danda, I want to hit the Gilli as far as possible. If a fielder catches it, I’m out. But if the Gilli lands safely, I use the Danda to measure the distance and score runs. And remember, if I can’t hit the Gilli in three tries, it’s somebody else’s turn.

Gilli danda - learn how to play with

When all the players from the first team get out, the second team comes in to try and beat their score. They become the new strikers, taking their turn to bat and score points.


Here are the basic rules you need to know when playing Gilli Danda:

  • Gilli Danda can be played by two teams with an equal number of players (it can also be played one-on-one).
  • Each team has an equal number of players. The team that wins the coin toss gets to choose whether they want to bat first or field.
  • If the hitter misses the Gilli three times in a row, or if a fielder catches it while it’s in the air, the hitter is considered out.


The team with the highest score wins. That’s why each player on the team tries their best to hit the Gilli as far as they can, so they can score more runs during their turn to bat.

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