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Vaikuntha Pali : Snake & Ladder Played By Telugu People Consists Of 132 Numbered Stones

Vaikuntha Pali : Also known as Paramapada Sopanamata , A special game popular among Telugu people. It is often referred to as “the map of snakes” or “Snake & Ladders” colloquially. The game consists of a map with 132 numbered stones, along with snakes and elephants depicted below the stones.

According to Hindu belief, this game represents the underworld, with eight elephants carrying the earth (depicted by the numbered stones) on their backs. The objective of the game is for players to navigate through the map and reach the divine realm. Each player places bets using four betting gavvalu (traditional betting tokens or dice) before the game starts. The bets are similar to the game of Ashtachemma, involving numbers like one, two, three, and Ashtachemma.

The Vaikuntha Pali chart includes ladders at certain numbered stones, such as 16, 19, 30, 41, 52, 63, 65, 74, 79, and 87. When a player’s token lands on a ladder, it allows them to progress to a higher-numbered stone. For example, if a toy reaches the ladder at the 16th stone (Sugunam), it advances to the 28th stone (Salokyam) with the help of that ladder.

This process of advancing with the help of ladders is called “climbing the ladder,” symbolizing the rewards of good deeds or merits. Players also have the opportunity to place additional bets when climbing a ladder. The game continues in this manner, with players progressing through the map.

In addition to ladders, the map also includes snakes. When a player’s token lands near the head of a snake, it gets bitten and moves down to the end of the snake’s tail. For instance, if a snake in the 26th stone bites a player’s token, it descends to the 3rd stone, where a smaller snake may be present, further extending the journey to the underworld. This process of descending due to a snake is referred to as “swallowing the snake” or “biting.”

If a player’s token gets swallowed by the large snake at the 106th stone, it immediately returns to the 1st stone. Finally, if the token manages to avoid the snake at the 121st stone and reaches the 122nd stone, it enters the holy world. From there, the token turns around and proceeds towards the divine realm in the middle. It is believed that the token reaches the divine presence only when it falls.

Vaikuntha Pali & Belief

The notion behind turning around before reaching the divine realm is that the gatekeepers are blocking the direct view of God, and one can see God only after making a turn. Telugu people typically play this game on the occasion of Jagarana night on Vaikuntha Ekadashi, a significant religious observance.

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