Sunday, May 4, 2008

Chauka Bara

Chauka Bara is a 'Race Game' where in two to four players race their respective coins on a board of 5x5 squares to reach the inner most square. The movement of coins is controlled by throw of four cowrie shells, hence it is a game of chance. Since each player has four coins, he can decide which coin to move, hence it also comes under strategical games.

This game is called by various names in different languages in different regions.
  • Dyootaardha - Samskrutam
  • Chauka Baara - Kannada - Old Mysuru region
  • Katte Mane - Kannada - Old Mysuru rural region
  • Gatta Mane - Kannada - Old Mysuru rural region
  • Chakaara - Kannada - North Karnataka
  • Chakka - Kannada - North Karnataka
  • Ashta Chemma - Telugu
  • Taayam / Daayam - Tamil
  • Nanku Katta Taayam - 5 House Chaukabara
  • Aaru Katta Taayam - 7 House Chaukabara
  • Changaabu - Rajasthan (Jaipur)
  • Challas - Rajasthan (Jaipur)
  • Pat Sogayya or Pat Sogya - Marathi (Kolhapur)
  • Challas Aath - Marathi (Nashik) (thank you, Vinayak, for the info)
  • Kavidi Kali - Malayalam - Kerala (thank you, Dhanan Sekhar Edathara, for the info)
  • Kanna Dudi - Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh (thank you, Ashish, for the info)
  • Khaddi Khadda - Punjabi - Punjab
  • Baara Atte - 7 House Chaukabra - Konkani (thanks, Snehalata Naidu, for the info)
  • Chomal Ishto - Gujarati (thank you, Dhara Kothari, for the info)
Rules to play Chauka Baara (5 houses)

4 sets of 4 coins (total 16) + 4 cowrie shells. This game can be played by either 2, 3 or 4 players. Each player gets 4 coins of same colour and keeps it in his home.

Goal: To reach one’s all 4 coins to innermost square, first.

Throw of four cowrie shells:
1 mouth up - move 1 square
2 mouths up - move 2 squares
3 mouths up - move 3 squares
4 mouths up (chauka) - move 4 squares & play again
No mouths up (baara) - move 8 squares & play again

How to play:
  1. The board is always kept in the centre during the game.
  2. Each player has a different starting point and initially keeps all his coins there (marked by X on his side).
  3. Each player takes turn to throw all four cowrie shells on the floor and moves one of his coins according to the number as indicated by the shells.
  4. Movement of coins is in anti-clockwise direction in outer squares and then in clockwise direction in inner squares as shown by the arrow in the diagram.
  5. If a player’s coin lands on a square occupied by opponent’s coin, then the opponent’s coin is cut and the player gets an extra turn to play.
  6. The cut coin returns to its starting home square and has to go round all over again.
  7. The crossed squares (home squares) though, are safe places and no coins present here can be cut.
  8. When a coin reaches the square left of its home square, it further moves up into the inner squares and now moves in clockwise direction. Each coin finishes its race when it manages to get into the innermost crossed square.
  9. The first player to get all his coins into the innermost square wins the game.

Extra Turn:
  • Whenever a chauka or a baara (four or eight) is got during a throw of cowrie shells, the player gets a bonus turn to throw the cowries.
  • When a player cuts opponent’s coin, he gets an extra turn to play.
  • During an extra turn, either the same coin or some other coin can be played.

Points to remember:
  • A player should cut his opponent in order to move his coins into the inner squares. Otherwise he has to move another coin or forfeit his turn until he cuts the opponent.
  • If a player has cut once, all the coins can move into the inner circle, not necessary for every coin to cut opponent.
  • No limit for a player to cut opponents’ coins.
  • If a player throws either a chauka or a baara three times consecutively during his turn, he is out and cannot use any of the moves.
Optional Rule: One can have an optional rule to make the game a little more challenging wherein each player has to throw either a chauka or a baara before he can start moving his coins, not necessary to throw chauka or baara for each coin.

Benefits: This is primarily a game of chance, but involves thinking and planning. It also helps in developing counting skills. It is an interesting and fun way to develop strategy skills.

Mr. Dhanan Sekhar Edathara, a Senior software engineer and an amateur artist from Tiruvanatapuram, Kerala has designed an online game version of Chauka Bara. Anyone can play the game at
Thanks Mr. Dhanan for the link.


Anonymous said...

Wow! nice diagram. i was looknig for one like this. You have even jotted down the rules. Nice job!

Anonymous said...

ಚೌಕಾಬಾರದ ಮನೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಎರಡು ಕಾಯಿಗಳನ್ನು ಒಟ್ಟಿಗೆ ಗಟ್ಟಿ ಮಾಡಿ ನದೆಸುವ ಬಗ್ಗೆ ತಿಳಿಸಿ.

Unknown said...

We used to play chauka bara at my dear grandma's place. We would draw the grid on the back of an old wooden cutting board and use tamarind seeds, stones, red gulganji and the like for game pieces. Those were the days ......

Anonymous said...

Genial post and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you for your information.

Dhanan said...

Wow, I didn't see this first and posted a comment on another game.

This game is known in some parts of Kerala as Kavidi Kali, I have created an online version that can be played at


Anonymous said...

We used to play this game in my native place. Where we called this game 'Kanna Dudi', Jabalpur, MP, India

Snehalatha Naidu said...

We used to play this game which is called baara atte in Konkani. We also used 6 cowrie shells to play points of 6 if all faced up or 12 if all faced down.

Great past time and a very good write up.


Snehalatha Naidu

deva[pparels said...

thanks :)

ganesh said...

It's a nice article.You explained the rules lucidly with diagrams.Thanks.

Vinayak said...

In marathi its sometimes called as "Challas aath"....
insted of cowry we use beans of chinch break them into half (use 2 beans)to make using their light and dark side we calculate 1,2,3,4 or 8... likewise..

Unknown said...

A version of the game is available on iPad, on iTunes here

shivshant said...

We used to play this game with my grandma....

AK said...


if the game is playing by two people A1, A2, and one person A1 cut opponents coin of A2, and entered into inner circle.

after that all coins of A1 are in game and went inner circle, however the opponent A2 don't have Chowka/bara after one chowka, and has not cut the single A1 coin, so he can not enter into inner.

in this case what we call ?.

A1 winner ? or do we need to give an option to compulsory cut the coin by A2

H.S. Dharmendra said...

@AK: If A2 has not cut any coin, and all coins of A1 have entered the inner circle, that means A1 has won and A2 loses.

Anonymous said...

i am create this game please suggest me.

aacha said...

ಧನ್ಯವಾದ. ಗಟ್ಟಿ ಕಟ್ಟಿದ ಮೇಲೆ ಬೇರೆಯವರು ಸಿ ಕೊಟ್ಟಾಗ ಸಮ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆ ಬಂದರೆ. ಅವರ ಕಾಯಿ ಮನೆಗೆ ಹೋಗುತ್ತದೆ. ಪುನಃ ಆಡಿದಾಗ ಸಮ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯೇ ಬೀಳಬೇಕೆ. ಬೆಸ ಸಂಖ್ಯೆಯ ಬಿದ್ದರೆ ನಮ್ಮ‌ ಬೇರೆ ಕಾಯಿಯನ್ನು ನಡೆಸಬಹುದೇ

Unknown said...

if my all pawn cut by opponent and it came at my starting position then should i cut again opponent to enter inner square ?

Unknown said...

Hi good jobs

Unknown said...

Wow... Extremely useful. Thanks a ton. Tidays generation need these games. Excellent explanation. Please post on similar traditional games like Kunte bille, kallo manno, n more.... It will help many hildrenn parents

Unknown said...

Very nice in Childhood days but now a days nobody is Playing these games even Somebody's dont no about this game because Prasant Generations Children's are using Mobiles so that we are all forgot those games. Really these games are very good and Interesting games.

Unknown said...

We can put out two coins together and move it only when we get even numbers like 2, 4 or 8. Opponent cannot cross Jodi and go forward. They must stay for one turn with Jodi.bmeanwhile if Jodi moves forward then the halted coin has to return back to its native place.

Talkwithshivi said...

Very nice information about this game

Talkwithshivi said...

good job i am a kid of 13 years i also started blog about these type of topics please visit my blog and suggest me for more improvement.

hi said...

can we put 2 coins (same colour/player) together in the same square in the outer path (anti clockwise)?.

please explain the rules for Jodi (inside or outside)

Arpitha said...

Can I get to learn 7*7 house chowkabara, with 6 cowries??pla

Unknown said...

in chowka bara game, if opponent keeps his pawn by wrong plan, what's the solution?

Unknown said...

Is jodi considered only at outermost path or also at inner paths when playing 7 or 9 mane?

Unknown said...

Can Jodi cross another Jodi?

Unknown said...

when the jodi has 3 pawn can we movie only 1 single pawn or can v move the jodi also from the starting off the inner box bec they would hv blocked us.