A Little Tamarind, and a Lot of Weight Loss

7 DESi Traditional Indoor Games that Only 90s Kids Remember

10 Nostalgic Street Games We All Played During the 90s Reading 7 DESi Traditional Indoor Games that Only 90s Kids Remember 5 minutes Next 15 Memories of 1995-2010 Indian kids

Quiz time. Raise your hand if you know how to have fun at home. Okay, let’s spice that up further. Raise your hand if you know how to have fun at home without tech. 

Haha. Gotcha. But if you’re a child of the 90s, it’s time to remind you that you do know how to have fun at home. Us 90s kids have spent endless days indoors without gadgets and gizmos when the sun was burning anyone who dared step outside or dark clouds were pouring bucketfuls. 

We had a rich variety of Indian traditional indoor games that would always keep us entertained. And we were never short of people to play with - grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents - anyone was welcome, age no bar. Back then, we sure knew how to have fun! Check out these seven traditional indoor games that defined our 90s childhood:

1. Carrom

The carrom board was a treasure! We played this game till our fingers hurt, and we still wouldn’t stop. In the quest for the rose-coloured queen, things could get heated up. We would measure the angle carefully, position yourself at the striker disc, FLICK!, and hope those black and white discs went in just right. And when things wouldn’t go our way, we’d pour a mountain of talcum powder on the board, because “the board just wasn’t slippery enough.”

Carrom Traditional Game

2. Chaturanga/Shatranj (Chess)

This strategy game took the world by storm but has DESi roots. Chess originated in ancient India back in the 6th century CE in the time of the Gupta empire. Then it went along the Silk Road and became wildly popular across the world. This traditional indoor game really sharpened our minds. And those that became good at this game were regarded as geniuses. Just look at how Visvanath Anand became our hero (and also the answer to a lot of GK questions!)


3. Taash (Cards)

How can any list of traditional Indian indoor games fail to mention taash? You know, the game that was actually fun before you started studying probability in high school? Okay but seriously, it’s amazing the permutations and combinations you can make out of the same 52 cards. We could play taash well into the night with any number of people. Some of the most popular games were satte pe satta, rummy, teen do paanch, and my personal favourite - bluff. 

Taash-Traditional Indoor Game

4. Snakes and Ladders

Fun fact: did you know snakes and ladders was originally known as “moksha patam”, meaning “the ladder to salvation”? Back in ancient India, this game was used as a lesson in morality: the ladders represented honorable virtues and the snakes were vices. The idea was to teach young kids the effects of good versus bad deeds. And we thought it was all about rolling a dice and dumb luck! I don’t know if we learned those moral lessons with this traditional indoor game, but we sure had a lot of fun.

Traditional Snakes and Ladders large
Source: Wikipedia

5. Chaupar

This traditional Indian indoor game was kind of like ludo. In fact, it’s an ancestor of Ludo. Look back in your mind, you might have a faint memory of your grandparents or great-grandparents playing this symmetrical cross-shaped game with cowrie shells.\

ChauparSource: Wikipedia

6. Raja Mantri Chor Sipahi

Raja Mantri Chor Sipahi was an easy and fun indoor game that allowed us to become detectives for a while. We would cut four chits of paper and mark them as king (1000 points), minister (800 points), soldier (500 points) and thief (0 points). Each player would grab a chit, and the king would be safe. Then the minister would have to guess who the thief is. After multiple plays, the person with the most points won.

Traditional Raja Mantri Choor police

7. Antakshari

Antakshari is one of the best-loved traditional Indian indoor games that everyone loves to play. This game was awesome because it combined our love for playing with our love for Bollywood! A whole group of family or friends would divide into teams and rapidly launch off into a song starting with the letter on which the opponent’s song ended. Antakshari the one time nobody cares how well you sing. We’re all too busy having fun.

We know you’re now remembering the last time you played one of these awesome indoor games! Enjoy a 90s night with friends or family and play your favourite game from this list. Oh, and, when you get hungry, we’ve got you covered. Check out GODESi's sweet and spicy collection of traditional Indian candies for the full flavour of your 90s childhood. Get snacking!