Kho Kho Game Rules: The Rulebook of Ancient Indian Sport

Updated on: Aug 23, 2023 4:41 pm IST

Kho Kho rules

Kho Kho, an ancient Indian sport that traces its roots back to the times of the Mahabharata, is a captivating blend of strategy, speed, and teamwork. This traditional game has evolved over the years, and today, it stands as a testament to India’s rich sporting heritage. Let’s delve into Kho Kho rules.

Kho Kho Rules

The rules of Kho Kho form the framework of the game, ensuring fair play and exciting competition:

  1. A Kho Kho game involves two teams.
  2. Each Kho Kho team consists of 12 players, but only 9 (8 chasers and 1 defender) can compete on the field at a time.
  3. A standard match comprises two innings, with each inning lasting for 9 minutes, encompassing both chasing and running.
  4. The chasing team sits or kneels in a row in the middle of the court, facing opposite directions.
  5. Chasers aim to complete an inning swiftly by catching the runners.
  6. To pass the baton (Kho) to a teammate, the chaser must shout “Kho” and tap the back of the intended teammate.
  7. The team that catches the runner in the shortest time wins the point.
  8. The captain of the chasing team can end their turn before the allocated time.
  9. The side with more points at the end of the match emerges victorious.
  10. When a defender is out, they must enter the sitting box from the lobby.

Kho Kho Game Terms Explained

Before we delve into the rules, let’s familiarize ourselves with the terminology that forms the foundation of Kho Kho:

  1. Pole: Wooden cylindrical structures firmly erected at both ends of the playfield.
  2. Chaser: The team that is sitting and aims to catch the running opponent.
  3. Runner: The player from the opposition team who strives to avoid being caught.
  4. Central Lane: Parallel lines connecting the poles.
  5. Cross Lane: Parallel lanes intersecting the central line, dividing the playing area.
  6. Kho: The word used when passing the baton of chaser among team members.
  7. Early Getup: When a sitting chaser gets up before passing the Kho.
  8. Late Kho: When an active chaser delays passing the Kho to another.
  9. Changing The Direction: When an active chaser moves in the wrong direction against rules.
  10. Minus Kho: A violation where the chaser cannot eliminate a running player until the Kho is passed back to two teammates or touched to a pole.
  11. Lobby: The open space area surrounding the playfield.
  12. Free Zone: The sides of pole lines where the direction rule doesn’t apply, and runners can move freely.
  13. Square: A square-shaped area formed by the intersection of the center lane and cross lanes, where chasers sit.

The essence of Kho Kho lies in its blend of strategy, agility, and quick decision-making. This traditional sport not only exemplifies India’s sporting legacy but also offers players and spectators an exhilarating experience.

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