Monday, April 9, 2018

The Archers of Shillong

A study of contrasting faces, but both having the same thought “will my number win?” 

This is one of the scenes that is witnessed at the Archery arena of Shillong, where you can bet on any number between 0 to 99 and if your number wins you get eighty times your investment.  A rustic way of betting and probably the only one in the world where the archery skills are put to test with a twist. The winning number is picked up from the last two digits of the number of arrows that hits the target. When we were there the count of arrows were 684, so the winning number was 84.
If you are early you get to see the preparations before shooting. Some final betting is done at the last minute at the counters which is in proximity with the shooting arena. 

Snacks and cigarettes are available for the tense betters. 

Some tourist like to pose with the archers for a picture to be sent back home, while others take pictures.  

Before the event the archers count their arrows and make sure all are in shape. 

The stringing of the bow is done with a gentle push at the middle part with the knee. 

Fifty archers sit in a semi circle (approximately 60 deg) and shoot at the target sitting down. Come to think of it,  I did not see anyone standing and shooting, there should be some reason for it. 

The target is cylindrical in shape (made of bamboo reeds) and is placed at its designated place 

As the shooting progresses you can see the number of arrows increasing on the target. 

The archers are from different clubs and the arrows are colour coded accordingly. There is no incentive for the individual archer, but the club that scores the maximum stands a better chance of being called the next time. The individual archers have a fixed salary.
Before counting begins, the arrows on the ground are cleared away. Arrows resting on other arrows are counted. They are counted and counter checked by a panel of five people 

The counted arrows are stacked in a counting grid with slots of 10 so that its open for anyone to check. 

As the counting is in process, you can see the locals and the tourists anxiously waiting for the result. 

The result is immediately put up for all to see and perhaps to be relayed to other parts of the city where spot bookings are taken before the start of the event. 

I have made a short video on what I saw and it will give you a fairly good idea of the complete event.
 I found this little boy helping around in the arena and at the end of the day he was more than willing to pose for me as he collected all the arrows for the next round. 

There is one school of thought saying that this is gambling and should be stopped, but so is investing in stock market.


Perviz Dara Bhote said...

Very explicit description of the event Joe. I'm glad you have made it a feature on your blogspot because very few in our country are aware of this Arrow Gaming.

Jim and Sandie said...

I definitely had never heard of this before. Very interesting. I think it would be harder to shoot from a sitting position. Our oldest son is skilled with the bow and arrow.

Christine said...

Thanks for sharing this fun occasion, nice video too.

Augustine Xavier said...

Very interesting discovery of the sport Joe. Surprised as to why sit and shoot...may be the real hunters in old days used to sit and hunt. Beautiful photography and video covering the entire event making this blog interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Mary Kirkland said...

That's so interesting. Thanks for sharing this with us.

Jan said...

Thank you for explaining and sharing this with us.
It was very interesting.
As far as it being called gambling... it's true but gambling within reason, I see nothing wrong with it 💮

Lorraine said...

I enjoyed your film and your photos and loved learning of this archery game. Actually found it fascinating to see the precision of the counting of the arrows.

Antonina said...

Amazing! My daughter would love to participate - she's a lot into archery these days :)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

So interesting. Your narrative is great, but the pictures tell such a story!

padmaja said...

Pictures and narration both go excellently hand in hand. There is so much going on out there that I am ignorant about, thank you!

Pradeep Dundi said...

Though I was present at the archery event,your excellent narrative made it more interesting!way to go Joe!

Bijoux said...

I had no idea that this was a gambling sport anywhere. I tried archery a few times as a kid and it is definitely a difficult skill.

Sakuranko said...

Oh very interesting event darling

Lowcarb team member said...

So interesting to read about and see this ...I enjoyed your photographs.
Thank you.

All the best Jan

Rob K said...

This is fascinating!

I took a one-day Zen archery class in Manhattan years ago. It was fun and I'm sorry I didn't stick with it. Hmm...

orvokki said...

Very interesting happening and lovely photos. I like the video too.

Jenny Woolf said...

I don't see any harm in gambling on this, it is not like sitting at a fruit machine all day. It seems like a good idea to me, involving people in learning a skill and showing it off. It looks pretty hard to shoot a bow in that position.