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The Ancient Game Of Ganjifa Cards

- April 6, 2021


By Mansee Jain Games have always been an important part of life, irrespective of the era and geography. People play games not only to amuse themselves but also as a means for socializing. Card games meet both these criteria and are not physically strenuous either, so they have been very popular among all people through the ages. One such card game is the Ganjifa that originated in Persia. The game got its name from the Persian word ‘Ganjifeh,’ which means playing cards. The journey of the game This game was brought to India by the Mughals in the sixteenth century. After being introduced in India, various forms of the game emerged and its cards began to take a distinctive shape. Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kashmir and Mysore all had their own versions of Ganjifa. Sawantwadi Ganjifa was played in Maharashtra and Navadurga Ganjifa was developed in Orissa among many others. The most popular decks were the Mughal Ganjifa and later the Dashavatara Ganjifa. The deck A Ganjifa deck consists of various suits, the number for which depends on the type of Ganjifa being played. Mughal Ganjifa has ninety-six cards with twelve cards in each of the eight suits. Dashavatar Ganjifa has ten suits, each with ten to twelve cards. As per the name, each suit depicts one avatar or incarnation of Vishnu. You even have a Rashi Ganjifa deck with the cards based on the signs of the zodiac. The playing cards for Ganjifa are typically circular. However, depending on the imagination of the artist, you can come across some rectangular decks too. Typically, each suit consists of one King, one Wazir, and ten cards numbered from one to ten. The suits are of two kinds – strong and weak. In both, the King is...

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