Abe Nouk

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and ladders, known originally as Moksha Patam, are an ancient Indian board game from the 2nd Century AD.

It is played on a game board with numbered, gridded squares with two or more players.  A number of ladders and snakes are pictured on the board, each connecting two board squares.

Players: Up to 4 can play at once
You need: A small object for each player and a dice.

How to play:
The play commences at the start of the board, (the bottom square) and through rolling the dice each player works their way up to the top square, the finish line. The player is helped when they land on a square with a climbing ladder, or hindered when they land on a square with a falling down snake.

The game is a simple race based on sheer luck. The historic version had its roots in a morality lesson, whereby the player's progression up the board represented a life journey complicated by virtues (ladders) and vices (snakes).

Also known as:
This ancient game is very popular and is also known as:

  • Saanp aur Seedhi - Hindi (Indo-Aryan language spoken in India)
  • Shap Shiri - Bangladesh
  • Chutes and Ladders - United States of America

Gyan Chaupar, Jain version of the game, National Museum, New Delhi