(Last Updated on : 7/01/2011)
The game of Archery is considered to be one of the most ancient sports in India. The history of Archery in India dates back to the Vedic era, as the Indian people of that period used Archery as a means of hunting. In the two most popular Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana, the game of Archery was described quite extensively. All the principal characters of these two epics were described as great warriors of Archery. In the medieval period also, Archery was played quite extensively in India. In modern times, Archery has already made its way to the Olympic Games, as well.
Archery is a sport that is played with equipments like a bow and arrows. In this sport, the players use the bow to shoot arrows and hit targets. Though, it was mainly used in hunting and combat in the ancient times, Archery has become a precision sport in the modern times. The game of Archery can be called as an indigenous sport of Meghalaya. It is an inherent part of the culture of Meghalaya and the festivals of the state are incomplete without Archery. The people of Meghalaya use bows of different dimensions in Archery. The bows are prepared mainly from a different type of bamboo. The arrows used in Archery are usually made up of special reeds. The Indian people use Eagle feathers as the metal cap of an Arrow. The feathers are interlaced near the neck on four sides.
The target of Archery is made of a special grass species. The measurement of the target is approximately 8 - 10 inches in height and 3 inches in diameter and it remains attached to a thin bamboo pole at a height of 3 1/2 ft above ground level. An indentation is also created at the bottom of the pole. If the arrow of any player in an Archery game hits the target below this mark created, the player does not get any points. While playing, the players take aim at the target from a distance of 30 meters. Archery is a versatile sport in the sense that it can be conducted as both an individual as well as team sport. The person who plays and practices the game of Archery is called as an Archer.
The game of Archery in India is mainly governed and supervised by the Archery Association of India (AAI). This is the central body for the promotion and management of Archery in India. AAI is a member of the International Archery Federation, or FITA (Fédération Internationale de Tir à l`Arc). The AAI has been spearheading efforts to popularize the game in India and it is also one of the founder members of the Asian Archery Association (AAA). The AAI conducted the first National Meet under the FITA rules in New Delhi in 1973. More than 50 Archers took part in the meet and since then, the sport of Archery has been going from strength to strength, in India.
The Archery Association of India (AAI) decided to do away with the National camp system and encourage the individual academies, in 2001-02, with a view to shake off the prevailing stagnation in Indian Archery. The AAI is now encouraging the SAI centers to take up the mantle of training the Indian Archers.
Several kinds of Archery games are played in India. Broad-head Round is a kind of Archery game that features Archers shooting broad head-tipped arrows. They shoot the arrows through single-sheet or 2-D cardboard cutouts of animals that remain hung between two wooden poles, and strung in the air by bendable wire, with a large dirt mound behind it as a backstop. In the Bionic Buck kind of Archery game, the Archers attempt to shoot through a small hole (varies from two to four inches in diameter) in the kill area of a cast iron steel deer target. The Darts is a kind of Archery game that is like a big darts game. It has a greater distance and use a proportional sectorized target.
Another kind of Archery game is Golf Archery that is actually a variation of clout archery. This form of Archery uses the same rules and field as the classic golf, except the ball replaced by an arrow and the clubs replaced by a bow. The Night Shooting form of Archery game consists of Archers going out on a short, one round course. The Archers use flashlights to light their way through the course and also to shine the targets which often have reflective tape or paint on them. Padded Arrow Sport is another kind of Archery game in which actual bow and arrow is used. The head of the arrows are wrapped in open-cell foam padding to make it a `safety arrow`, in this kind of Archery game. In the Running Buck form of Archery game, the main objective of the Archers is simply to hit a moving 3D animal target. Another kind of Archery game is the Turkey Tester. It is actually a contest to see who can take the head off the target. A durafoam 3-D target is used in this form, with a detachable head on its body.