With the flowering of Buddhism in the country, Indian sport reached the very peak of excellence. Gautam Buddha himself is said to have been an ace at archery, chariot racing, equitation and hammer throwing. In Villas Mani Manjri, Tiruvedacharya describes many of these games in detail.
In Manas Olhas (1135 AD.), Somcshwar writes at lengdi about bharashram (weight – lifting), bharamanshram (walking), both of which are established Olympic disciplines at present, and Mall-Stambha, a peculiar form of wresding, wherein both contestants sit on the shoulders of their ‘seconds’, who stand in waist – deep water throughout the game.
The renowned Chinese travelers Hieun Tsang and Fa Hien wrote of a plethora of sporting activities. Swimming, sword fighting (fencing, as we know it today), running, wrestling and ball games were immensely popular among the students of Nalanda and Taxila.
In the 16th century, the range of sports activity, and the many sports venues, in the city, impressed a Portuguese ambassador who visited Krishnanagar. The king, Raja Krishnadev was an ace wrestler and horseman, himself.
The Mughal emperors were keen hunters of wild game, and avid patrons of sports, especially wrestling. The Agra fort and the Red Fort were the popular venues of many a wrestling bout, in the times of Emperor Shahjahan. Chattrapati Shivaji’s guru, Ramdas, built several Hanuman temples all over Maharashtra, for the promotion of physical culture among die youth.
Kerala’s martial art form, Kalari Payattu, is very similar to Karate. Those who practice it have to develop acrobatic capabilities, when using swords or knives to attack their adversaries, and even an unarmed exponent can be a force to reckon with The Thanj-Ta, Mukna, Mukna kangjei, Tubi Lakpi, ctc are some of the ancient games of Manipur.
The game of Polo, which is considered as the royal game, has its origin in the land of Manipur. These are centuries old games that were cradled in India.
Festivals and local fairs are the natural venues of indigenous games and martial arts. Post-Independence the government made special efforts to preserve and nurture the awesome cultural heritage, by setting up a number of new incentives, and by heightening media exposure at the national level, to propagate and popularize indigenous games.