Chaupar (also known as Chaupad, Chaupur,
Chaupat, Chausar, or Pat in Sanskrit).
Chaupar is a cruciform board game played with
quaternary lots in the form of long dice. The board is made of wool or
The pawns are made of
It is difficult to separate it's history from the
related board game Pachisi who most probably is either a descendant of
Chaupar or developed alongside Chaupar in the same timeframe. It is
believed that both games were created around the 4th century
Chaupar is more complex than Pachisi and was
regarded as the more aristocratic game. Today both Chaupar and Pachisi
are regarded as trivial pastime games. Folk game.
Chaupar's Golden Age seems to have been during the
Mogul Dynasty (1526-1857). There are large boards marked out with
inlaid marble and red and white squares on palace courtyards at
Allahabad and Agra which served as giant Chaupar boards. The Emperor
Akbar I (1542-1605) played Chaupar directing from a central dais. His
pawns were sixteen slave-girls from his harem dressed in the
traditional four colours of the pieces.
Chaupar (and Pachisi) might be ancient and very
old games. But nothing is certain about it's age. Chaupar was believed
to very old by the Mogul historians, but there is no firm evidence of
it's claimed antiquity1.
As with Pachisi, there is no universally accepted
standard form of the game. A very good description of the rules are
given in Parlett (1999, pg. 46-48)
Partnership game2. Black
and yellow oppose red and green. Movement decided by throwing of two
long dice marked 1-3-4-6; or three dices marked 1-2-5-6. Regular
starting points are 6-7-23-24 spaces from the char-koni. Another
starting point can be 6-7-9-10 from the centre, and thus at the end of
each player's home arm. Captured pieces re-enters from either it's
start position or from the char-koni. An exact throw is required to get
- No value of the dice will gain an extra turn.
- There are no safe squares.
- The pawns do not get out from the Charkoni
(nest) square, but from the 6, 7, 23, and 24 positions.
- Pawns can be converted into "super pawns". If 2
or more from the same player are placed in the same square, they can
move as a single pawn and can only be eaten by another super pawn.
- Forfeiting the turn voluntarily is not allowed
Wikipedia article as of 01.01.2006
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Senior wives playing
Chaupar (Lucknow, c.1790).
and Parvati Playing Chaupar
- dated 1694–95
Image from TradGames
Another way to tell
the rules: Masters
1. Parlett, 1999 pg.
43. Parlett says: "A first-millennium origin for Pachisi or Chaupar
seems plausible". "The earliest claimed
representation of Chaupar is the carving of Shiva and Parvati at in the
cave temples of Ellora, specifically in cave 21, whose carvings date
from the late sixth or early seventh century; but only the dice can bee
seen - there is no sign of a suitable board."
1. (continued) - An
indication of Chaupar (or Pachisi) as an ancient Hindu game is noted in
Irving Finkel's 2002 article: "Pachisi in Arab Garb". A
variant of Pachisi called Pachiz is played in
Khorezm in Uzbekhistan. It is clear that Pachiz was introduced from
India - the evidence is among others the use of the Hindu terminology
and the use of cowrie shells as dice. The archeological finding of
similar cowrie shells have been attributed to about the 1st-3rd
centuries AD. This is the the period when India exerted great influence
on Khorezm (as part of the Kushan Empire). Note that Finkel defines Pachisi
as the general term for all Asian race games played on a cruciform
2. But could also be
played by only two (several images supports this), perhaps with "dummy
partnerships" (Saunders, 1999, 26, p. 569-570).
- Finkel, Irving:
Pachisi in Arabic Garb. In: Board Game Studies 5 - International
journal for the study of board games - CNWS publications / Leiden:
Research School CNWS, 2002
- Parlett, David: The Oxford history of Board Games, Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN:
- Saunders, Wayne: The Great American Indian, part I: The West looks at Pachisi. In: Game Times, 24
- Saunders, Wayne: The Great American Indian, part III: The West plays
Pachisi. In: Game Times, 26 (April 1995)