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20 Feb 2024

Snakes & Ladders

Written by
The Logical Indian
Culture and Sport

Mysterious Origins: Tracing the Birth of Mokshapat in Ancient India

Consider Snakes and Ladders as a hidden gem from India's past, a game that emerged under the moniker Mokshapat in ancient times. Although the exact creator remains shrouded in mystery, it is believed to have originated more than 2,000 years ago, or possibly even earlier. Some attribute its creation to the 13th-century Marathi Saint, Dnyaneshwar. Regardless of its origin, the game served as an educational tool for children, imparting valuable life lessons.

Journey Through Ancient India: Gyan Chaupar - Where Wisdom Unfolds in a Game

Transport yourself to ancient India, where Gyan Chaupar, as the game was also known, captivated the imaginations of children. The game board resembled a sprawling storybook, with versions featuring either 72 or 100 squares, each holding a unique significance or clue. It was not merely a game; it was an adventurous journey where climbing ladders symbolized virtuous deeds, while sliding down snakes served as cautionary tales of mistakes. Gyan Chaupar was a wise friend, imparting essential lessons through the guise of entertainment.

Transformation of Gyan Chaupar

In the late 1800s, as India underwent significant changes, Gyan Chaupar embarked on a remarkable journey to distant lands. Introduced to England by rulers from other countries, the game underwent modifications, transforming into the widely known Snakes and Ladders. However, a crucial aspect of the original meaning – the moral and ethical elements – was omitted during this transition.


Global Journey and Rebranding: Chutes and Ladders' Rise to Fame in the United States


The game gained fame and traversed the vast expanse of the Atlantic to reach the United States, where it adopted yet another name, "Chutes and Ladders." This rebranding further propelled its popularity across diverse corners of the globe.

Global Appeal of Snakes and Ladders

Across centuries, continents, and cultures, Snakes and Ladders stands as a testament to the universality of games. Originating in India, this ancient marvel has transcended borders, engaging generations worldwide. Its intricate blend of chance and strategy, interwoven with morality and philosophy, serves as a distinctive contribution from India to the global gaming lexicon.

From Ancient India to Worldwide Fun

What commenced as a game of wisdom, virtue, and vice in the heart of the Indian subcontinent has evolved into an international phenomenon. The story of Snakes and Ladders pays homage to the enduring influence of play, philosophy, and the unifying threads that transcend both space and time. Truly, it stands as a cherished gift from India to the world, beckoning us to embark on a journey of knowledge, wisdom, and shared enjoyment.

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IndiaFirst Life & the logical indian

Headquartered in Mumbai, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited (IndiaFirst Life), is one of the country's youngest life insurance companies. The Logical Indian is an independent and public-spirited digital media platform for Indian Millennials. IndiaFirst Life and The Logical Indian have come together to showcase India’s rich history of innovation in different fields of life which have made a significant mark on humanity and globally. Please note, The Logical Indian (5w1h Media) as an entity is responsible for source validation and fact-checking from credible sources of the articles posted on this page.