Joined: 16 May 2006
Gilli-danda (Devanagari: ?????? ?????) or gulli-danda or Guli Danda is an amateur sport, similar to cricket, that is popular among youth in the Indian subcontinent. It is called dangguli in Bangla, chinni-dandu in Kannada,'kuttiyum kolum' in Malayalam, viti-dandu in Marathi, kitti-pullu in Tamil, and gooti-billa in Telugu. This sport is generally played in the rural and small towns of Indian subcontinent. It is widely played in Punjab (India) and rural areas of the North-West Frontier Province (Pakistan).
Gilli-danda have no official requirements for equipment. The game is played with a gilli or guli and danda, which are both wooden sticks. The danda is longer (suitably handmade by the player) which one can swing easily. The gilli is smaller and is tapered on both sides so that the ends become conical shaped. The gilli is analogous to a cricket bail and the danda is analogous to cricket bat.
There is no standard length defined for the danda or gilli. Usually, however, the gilli is 3 to 6 inches long and the danda is (12 to 18 inches) in length.
The objective of the sport is to use the danda (used like a baseball bat) to strike the gilli (similar to striking a ball in cricket or baseball). For this purpose, a circle is drawn in the ground in which a small, oblong- or spindle-shaped hole (overall shape looks like a traditional boat) is dug. This hole is smaller than the gilli but as the play progresses the size may increase due to wear. The gilli is inserted into the hole either orthogonally, or at an angle. The danda is then swung (similar to a golf swing) and strikes the gilli. Another variation is when the danda lifts or pries the gilli out of the hole at a high speed. As it is quite similar to cricket, many people believe that cricket originated from gilli-danda.
There are many variations to scoring and they generally vary with region.
The gilli becomes airborne after it is struck. If a fielder from the opposing team catches the gilli, the striker is out. 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 hole 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 score and gets another opportunity to strike. The team (or individual) with the most points wins the game. If the striker fails to hit gilli in three tries, the striker is out (similar to a strikeout in baseball).
There is no official limit on the number of players in gilli-danda or the number of teams. Gilli-danda can be played where each individual plays for themselves, or between two teams.
As an amateur youth sport, gilli-danda has many variations. A common variation is where the striker is allowed to hit the gilli twice, once initially, and then while the gilli is in the air.
In some versions, the points a striker scores is dependent on the distance the gilli falls from the striking point. The distance is measured in terms of the length of the danda, or in some cases the length of the gilli. Scoring also depends on how many times the gilli was hit in the air in one strike. Say when it traveled a distance 'd' with two mid-air strikes, the total point is doubled.
In the Philippines, a game known as syatong is similar to gilli-danda.
In Italy a similar game known as "Lippa", "Lipe", "Tirolo", or "S-cianco" is shown in movie "Watch Out We Are Mad". 
The Bollywood movie "Lagaan" mentions the traditional sport of Gilli-danda as a contrast to the British import of cricket. Premchand, the famous Hindi literary figure, wrote a short story named 'gilli-danda' in which he compares old simple times and emotions to modern values and also hints at caste inequalities in India.
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Joined: 16 May 2006
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