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Different Types Of Onam Games

By Ajanta Sen

Onam is a ten-day long festival that is celebrated in Kerala with great pomp and show by a large number of people, regardless of any community or religion. Onam features many entertaining activities such as snake boat race, preparing the pookalam (the floral rangoli), tiger dance, kaikottikali dance, etc. Apart from these, there are a myriad of exciting games that are also played during this festival.

Onakalikal is the collective name that is given to a variety of games that are played during the festival of Onam. Following are some of the top games that are enjoyed by the people at the event of Onam, take a look.



One needs to have a lot of stamina to play this game. Kayyankali is a combat game and is played by the men. Men who a have a lot of physical strength play this game. In this game, weapons are not used, two male players fight with each other. While playing, they are allowed to use their fists only. The stronger player wins the game.


This game resembles the famous game of Kabaddi, which is played in many parts of our country. Kutukutu looks like a very simple game; however, it is tremendously challenging.

In this game, players need a lot of strength, enthusiasm, tact, skill, patience and powerful lungs. The game highlights two groups, there are 8 players in each group.

The game is played in a rectangular court, which is divided into 2 equal parts with a line in the middle. One player from one group proceeds towards the middle line and then goes towards the opposite team.


He is supposed to touch all the players of the opponent team and then return to the line without getting seized by the players of the opposite team.

Throughout the game, each player has to utter the word "Kutu kutu", if he is caught by any of the opponents prior to touching the center line, he has to leave the game.

One by one each player of the first group goes on doing the same process until each one has completed his turn. In the second half of the game, the players from the opposite group come one by one.


This game is similar to the Kayyankali game but unlike Kayyankali, it involves a fight between two groups. In Kayyankali one-to-one fight takes place and is very violent; whereas in Attakalam, the fight takes place between 2 groups and hence it is less violent. A large sandy ground is chosen to play Attakalam.

At the center of the ground, a big circle is made. One group is supposed to stand inside the circle. The group standing outside of the circle is the opponent team, which has to try to make the inside team members come out of the circle.

If any of the inside members come out of the circle, they have to leave the game. Once the outside team is successful in bringing out all the inside team members, they win.

If at least one member of the inside team remains within the circle, that group/team will win. The winning group stands outside the circle in the following game.


Only men can play this famous game of archery, especially those who like shooting. Blunt arrows and bamboo bows are used in this game. There are 2 teams in this game and the players of the first team are supposed to grab all the arrows of the opponent team.

A target point is given where the players are supposed to hit. The team with maximum number of players hitting the target gets the arrows and wins. This game is to test the patience and skill of the team members.


This game is played with a ball. Talappanthukali is divided into 2 groups with equal number of players. An open ground is enough to play this game. Players of one group have to throw the ball to hit a stick, which is placed at one end of the ground or court.

The opponent team players are supposed to catch the ball to combat the other team players. The winning team sings and dances by making a circle around the stick.

Read more about: onam game
Story first published: Wednesday, August 30, 2017, 16:47 [IST]
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