Pagade is a very popular board game played across India from the times of
puranas. Almost everybody in India are aware of the role, Pagade played in the epic Mahabharata.
Also called Indian Cross and Circle Board Game, Pachisi, Pagade, Thayam, Ludo, Chaupar, Aksha Kreeda, Dayakattam, Chokkattan, Parchís.
The name Pagade comes from the “pagade kaayi” tree from which the nuts were used as pawns.
Pagade is a game of chance, while needing strategic thinking, agility and a certain cunningness to gain an edge over the other players. Pagade can also be played in teams of two.
Pagade mats have been around for millenia, some even surviving several generations especially those belonging to erstwhile royal families. Even among the general public, mats have been well known to be passed on from grandmothers to their grandchildren.
The board game Pagade or its variants have been the objects of fascination amongst several modern researchers and historians alike.
There have been instances of Pagade being played as “dyuta (gambling) kreeda” even before the Rig Vedic period.
When we get our first literary texts in India, we find that dice-playing was a common failing of the upper classes. The Rig-Veda, which we may reasonably consider to have been in its present form before 1000 B.C., has references to the use of dice, and one of its hymns (Book 10, 34) is a charm to cure an inveterate and unsuccessful gambler of the compulsion to gamble that has ruined him. In the Atharva Veda, also, gambling with dice is mentioned (2.3; 4.38; 6.118; 7.52; 7.109). The Aryans of Rig-Vedic times made their dice of the vibhidaka-tree nuts, and we do not know how they used them.
Evidently dicing was considered a fitting vice of kings, and in the ritualistic literature of the centuries following the Rig-Veda, say at around 800 B.C., the consecration ceremonies for a king included a game of dice–which the new king must always win–and there was a special officer to take charge of the dice.
The Mughal ruler Akbar apparently was addicted to playing “Chaupar – one of the variants of Pagade”. He had laid out the Chaupar board in flagstones at his palace at Fatehpur Sikri in Agra. He and his nobles used to play the game using slaves as the playing pieces.
Roll the Dice‘s Pagade set is inspired by the grandmothers whose love, though we cannot replace, but we try to re-create with the same amount of detail to the specifics of the mat; combine with select artisans’ penchant for qualitative creation of the kaayis and the daaLa;
References Norman Brown, .W."The Indian Games of Pachisi, Chaupar, and Chausar" Expedition Magazine 6.2 (1964): n. pag. Expedition Magazine. Penn Museum, 1964 Web. 24 Feb 2021 <http://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/?p=729> https://www.rarebooksocietyofindia.org/postDetail.php?id=196174216674_10152096437211675