Mancala or Chenne mane ata or Vamana guntalu
From Virupaksha temple, Hampi
The game is for two players. They are played on a board with fourteen pits, which are scooped out of the ground. The playing pieces could be stones, seeds, or shells, in rare cases precious stones, gems or pearls.
In Anegondi village, children often play without a board, but instead create their own playing area by scooping out holes in the ground and collecting stones or seeds (whatever is close at hand) each time they want to play. Near the Tungabhadra River, the game is played with smooth pebbles and in agricultural areas, with seeds. Commonly used seeds are tamarind, kemiri, sawo and even corn kernels.
The widespread popularity of this game, ‘chenne mane ata’ around this area, played by ladies and girls, can undoubtedly be attributed in part to the simplicity of the materials used, to play the game. This game, in all its variations attracted the royal ladies and their assistants. Playing pieces indicated their class or caste they belong.
Based on the version of the game, there is a preliminary distribution of counters (beans, nuts, seeds, stones etc.) in the board's depressions. Players move alternatively in a series of "laps". A lap involves each player in turn selecting all of the counters in a depression and lifting these and placing counters in each depression in a prescribed direction and manner. What happens then is dependent upon the version of the same being played.
The following Five varieties are played at Hampi:
- Karu baruva ata- ‘getting calf” out of the game- play with 4 seeds
- Katte ata also called as ‘seenya Mukya’ – also with 4 seeds but little variation in the rules
- Tara timbata
- Hegge timbata
- Mule ata – ‘constructing houses at the corners’- played with seven seeds