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Get to know the origin of some board games, is to get into stories, myths, legends and great characters From the past. This is what happens with the ludo game, whose origin, difficult to elucidate, makes us enter the history of India and the Mughal empire.
If before we have talked about the history of Parcheesi, today we will talk about legends that surround you, and, above all, of Akbar and his works, not just a great pachisi player, but one of its top drivers and passionate about playing it on a full scale.
Myths, legends and Parcheesi
As we have commented when talking about the history of Parcheesi, this game Either he is a descendant of the pachisi, or they arose at the same time, but tracing the genealogy of this game is more complex than it seems at first glance.
To them we must add the chaupar, another game with similar characteristics and that is usually believed to have originated from pachisi.
This is where it starts mix history with legend, where it is argued that in the epic poem Maharabata, the dice game played by the deities Yudhishthira and Duryodhan, is a variation of chaupar.
There are even representations of deities playing this game, as we can see in the work of Devidasa of Nurpur of the year 1694-95, where the Gods Shivá and Parvati they are playing chaupar.
This work can currently be visited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The legend of the king the two mice
There are also ancestral legends about these games, which have passed from generation to generation and which usually deal with kings who played them.
One of these legends tells of a king who had two trained mice, which were called "Sundhree" Y "Mundhree”.
During the game, the king would distract his opponents with details, stories and tales, but between them he would pronounce “Sundhree" Y "Mundhree", At which time the mice would come in and move the pieces without the opponents, distracted by the king's words, noticing.
The pachisi and the Mughal palaces
Pachisi was widely played by various Mughal emperors and kings, especially Akbar. As a result, we find in the book “India and her native princes”From 1876 Falkener, which explains a curiosity about the 16th century Faehpur Sikri Palace in North India:
The game of pachisi was played by Akbar in a truly regal manner. The board itself, divided into red and white squares, the board being the floor of the courtyard of his palace and a huge stone raised to almost one and a half meters high represented the central point.
It was here in the Fatehpur Sikri Palace that Akbar and his courtiers played this game. In turn, 16 young slaves from his harem, with the colors of the game pieces, represented the pieces and moved between the squares (squares) according to the throwing of the dice.
The Emperor is said to have liked playing the game on this large scale so much that he had a court (Board) built for pachisi in all his palaces, and traces of them still remain in Agra and Allahabad.
Agra is one of the best known cities in all of India, especially for its imposing Taj Mahal. But let's put ourselves in a position to understand the history that surrounds it.
Agra's golden age began with the Mughals, and it was even its capital under kings Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan. Its name before Agra was Akbarabad, thus baptized by Akbar, who endowed this city with a majesty worthy of a capital.
In addition to transforming the city into a center of learning, commerce, art and religion, he ordered to build the imposing walls of the Great Red Fort, and ordered the city to be built on the outskirts Fatehpur Sikri, which interests us now.
Located on the outskirts of Agra, Akbar ordered to build this city on a Mughal military camp located there in order to become the capital of the empire, which it held from 1571 to 1585.
It has a huge number of buildings such as the Buland Dawaza gate, the Jama Masjid mosque, the tomb of Salim Chishti or Ibadat Khana (the house of worship).
Among them was the imposing courtyard that we mentioned in the previous fragment of Falkener.
The Akbar's grandson, Shah Jahan, was the one who ordered build the imposing Taj Mahal in 1632 to house his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Its construction ended in 1653.
Its official name is Prayagraj, although it is still known as Illahabad or Allahabad, being the judicial capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
This city was founded by Mughal Emperor Akbar, motivated by its strategic location, where he built a fort which he renamed Ilahabas (Illahabad) in the year 1584, and which adopted the name of Allahabad with his son Jahangir.
Abul Fazal in his work ‘Ain-i-Akbari’ states that: “For a long time, Akbar's wish was to found a great city in the city of Piyag (Allahabad) where the Ganges and Jamuna rivers meet ... On November 13, 1583, he (Akbar) arrived at the desired place and laid the foundations of the city and planned four forts«.
So Akbar built Fort Allahabad in 1575 on the banks of the Yamuna River, which provided an impressive courtyard that replicated that of Fatehpur Sikri in terms of its function.
Effectively, its configuration with large red and white squares they were used for the emperor to play full-scale pachisi in it.
Today, many researchers continue to search for the origins of Parcheesi, Pachisi, sucking and other derivative games.
Not only in order to find the moment of its creation, but to continue discovering the great players of the past and the influence they exerted on the development of this game, such as Akbar and the replica of the large-scale game that he implemented in all his palaces.
Featured image: CC - Micha on Wikimedia
After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.