Ludo is a board game that we’ve all played at least once. Earlier in India it was called Pachisi, and the board was made out of cloth or jute. A depiction of Pachisi is found in the caves of Ajanta in Maharashtra, showing that the game was quite popular in the Medieval Era. The Mughal Emperors of India, such as Akbar, also liked playing Pachisi. In the late 19th century, different variations of the same game were played in England; in 1896, a similar game appeared that was called Ludo, and thus the name was patented.
If certain accounts are to be believed, oblong dice were found in excavations at Harrapan sites like Lothal, Alamgirpur, Kalibangan, Desalpur and Ropar. These dice were earlier used for gambling. Dice then spread to Persia and became a part of popular board games there. Early mentions of dice are also found in the Rig Veda and Atharva Veda.
Modern playing cards originated in ancient India, and were called Krida-Patram. They were made of cloth pieces, and showcased ancient designs from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In medieval India, they were called Ganifa cards and were played in the royal courts of Rajputana, Kashmir (then Kashyapa Meru), Odisha (then Utkal), the Deccan area as well as Nepal. These cards were all handmade and traditionally painted. To provide the cards with sufficient thickness, several cloth pieces were glued together. Later, cards were played by all levels of society, made from tortoise shell or ivory and decorated with pearls and precious metals.
Though ancient polo finds its origin in Central Asia, it was Manipur in India that set the foundation for modern polo. When Babur founded the Mughal empire in the 15th century, he made the sport quite famous. Later, when the British came to India, they adopted the sport, and it gradually spread across the world. Mostly the game is played on horseback, but the British invented another variation–on elephant back. Elephant polo is today popular in the Indian state of Rajasthan, and countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Thailand.