Gulli Danda

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gulli danda

Gulli-Danda (ਗੁੱਲੀ-ਡੰਡਾ , गुल्ली-डंडा , گلی-ڈنڈای ) Similar to cricket. Guli Danda is an amateur sport, popular among rural youth in the Punjab. It is a game played by boys individually and in a team depending upon the availability of players. It can be played in a variety of ways depending on the rule made at the beginning of game. In this game, a thick stick, almost three feet long and a small piece of wood which has sharp edges is needed, and a small piece of wood called gully which is hit with the stick (Danda) and the opposition has to out the player by catching the flying wood when it is hit by player.



This ancient game is said to have evolved in India some 2000-2500 years ago. However, some people and sports enthusiasts think that the sport evolved in Europe, particularly in England. The sport is similar to baseball which is the most popular sport of America. On the other hand, Gilli-Danda is similar to cricket and even softball. In Galicia, a particular game is played known as bilharda. It is very much identical to gilli-danda. In Philippines, gilli-danda takes the form of a popular sport called syatong. People in the United States call this exciting game as pee-wee. In Italy, teenagers play a similar game known as lippa. People in Malaysia play an identical game to gilli-danda known as konda kondi. In Poland, an identical sport is played called klipa. Whatever may be the variations or similarities, gilli-danda has certainly grabbed the curiosity of people living in other areas of the globe. 


  • Guli-badi in Odia
  • Dandi Biyo in Nepali
  • Alak Doulak in Persian
  • Danguli in Bengali
  • Chinni – Dandu in Kannada
  • Kuttyum Kolum in Malayalam
  • Viti – Dandu in Marathi
  • Kitti – Pul in Tamil
  • Gooti – Billa in Telegu
  • Gulli Danda in Punjabi
  • Tipcat in English
  • Itti Dakar in Sindhi

Resources required

The boy on left is about to strike the gilli with the danda, while the one on right is fielding.

1) Gilli – 3 to 6 inches long stick, one inch diameter at the center and tapered at both ends.

2) Danda – 2 to 3 feet long stick , one inch in diameter

Number of Players

Unlike modern games, any number of players or teams can play this game. That’s precisely the difference between the western and Indian games. However, it is preferred that you have only two teams to avoid unnecessary fights.


Gilli-Danda is actually played with wooden equipment's, a gilli and danda made from wood. Gilli is smaller in size like an oval-shaped stick whereas danda is bigger in size representing a long wooden stick. 4+ players stand in an open field or area. They make a circle and the player stables the gilli in an inclined method on a stone with one end touching the ground and the other end of the gilli is actually in the air. Afterwards, the player utilizes the danda to strike the gilli on the elevated end. This results in the flipping of gilli into the air. Whilst the gilli is still in the air, player hits the gilli, striking with full power. After hitting the gilli, player has to run with full speed and touch a predetermined point located outside the circle prior to the gilli getting retrieved by the opposite player. This feature of gilli-danda is identical to homerun in baseball and runs in cricket. 

Scoring and outs

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 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 another opportunity to strike. The team (or individual) with the most points wins the game. If the striker fails to hit the gilli in three tries, the striker is out (similar to a strikeout in baseball). After the gilli has been struck, the opposing players need to return to the circle or, in the best case, catch it in mid-air without its hitting the ground - this was believed to have later evolved into a Catch Out in cricket and baseball.

Skills needed

This traditional Indian game requires exceptional hand-eye coordination, ability to catch and strong wrists. 


As an amateur youth sport, gilli-danda has many regional variations. In some versions, the number of points a striker scores depends 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. If it travels a certain distance with two mid-air strikes, the total points are doubled.If the gilli is not struck far enough the player has to pick it up and try again.

Similar games

  • In Azerbaijan, a similar game is called Çilingağac (Chilingaghaj).
  • In Galicia, a similar game is called bilharda.
  • In Catalonia and the Valencian Community, a similar game is called bòlit.
  • Philippines, a game known as syatong or pati-kubra (in Morong, Rizal is similar to gilli-danda.
  • In Italy a similar game known as "Lippa", "Lipe", "Tirolo", or "S-cianco" is shown in the movie Watch Out, We're Mad!.[5][6][7]
  • In the United States, a similar game is called pee-wee.[8]
  • Dainty is a street ball game played in Schnitzelburg, Louisville, in the United States
  • In England, a similar game was called Tip-cat, giddy-gaddy and cat's pallet.
  • In Poland a similar game is known, called Klipa
  • In Malaysia a similar game is known as konda kondi
  • In Russia a similar game is known as chizhik (чижик)
  • In Slovenia a similar game is known as pandolo

In popular culture

In 2014 Vitti Dandu a sport-drama Marathi movie was made on the same sport produced by Ajay Devgan and Leena Deore.

The Bollywood movie Lagaan mentions the traditional youth sport of gilli-danda as being similar to cricket.

The Hindi writer Premchand 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. The protagonist and narrator of the story recounts his inability to play gilli-danda well in his youth. He remembers a friend who could literally control the gilli as he wished. He goes away and comes back as an adult and a government officer. He searches for his old friend and finds him - he is very poor and says "Where do we get the time?" when asked by the protagonist whether he plays gilli-danda. The protagonist convinces him to play - he cheats at every opportunity, but his friend meekly submits, even though he would not have let him get away with such deceit in his youth. After being defeated, the friend invites him to a gilli-danda match the next day. The protagonist is shocked when he sees his friend play just as well as before and realises that he had indulged him because he knew that he had forgotten the basics of gilli-danda. The protagonist feels very small and goes back to the city humiliated.[9]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Steve Craig (2002), Sports and Games of the Ancients: (Sports and Games Through History), ISBN 978-0313316005, pages 63-65
  3. ^ John Arlott (1975), The Oxford Companion to World Sports and Games, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0192115386
  5. ^ Bud Spencer, Terence Hill e a Billarda
  6. ^ Y si no, nos enfadamos ( 2/10 ) - Juntos son dinamita
  7. ^ palio mazza e pivezo cesa (CE)
  8. ^ Frederic Gomes Cassidy, Joan Houston Hall (2002). Dictionary of American Regional English. Belknap, Harvard University Press. Retrieved 2011-09-14. 
  9. ^ Prakash Chandra Gupta (1998). Makers of Indian Literature: Premchand. Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 

External links