Thoda is known as a form of a martial art form that is commonly seen in Himachal Pradesh, especially in the valleys of Kullu and Manali. This sport needs excellence in archery, where the main weapons are bows and arrows. This game has two groups and the main target is the opponent’s legs below knees.
How is Thoda played?
In Thoda, there are two groups of 500 people each, most of them act as cheerleaders for the players. The two groups are called Saathi and Pashi, who are believed to be descendants of the Pandavas.
When both of the groups reach the village ground, they dance to the rhythmic melody of warfare on either side of the court and wave their swords high up to mock each other. The Pashi group forms a chakravyuh(people circled) and blocks the players from the Saathi team. The Saathi team’s defenders try to invade through the chakravyuh and get in the middle of the ground.
Both of the teams stand at least 10 meters apart from each other and prepare to attack. The only way of defence is lightning movements and agility, that is conducted with lively music.
Origin of Thoda –
In olden days, the villages of Himachal Pradesh organised Thoda in a very unique way. Villagers from the neighbouring village would come in the village and throw tree leaves in the well of the other village at night. When the villagers would come to draw water in the morning, they would see the leaves and take it as a warning sign. And thus, they would start preparations for an encounter.
Significance of Thoda –
The whole concept of Thoda martial art is to create a highly energetic atmosphere by filling the air with pacing music and using lively actions by the players.
When is Thoda played?
Thoda is a blend of martial arts, culture and sports. Thoda is a sport that is played during the festival day of Baisakhi, and the whole community prays to Goddess Mashoo and Durga.
So next time when you visit Himanchal do go to watch this sport!