(Last Updated on : 02/03/2016)
Archery in India is one among the prime ancient sports. Conventionally, the game has been associated with warrior-ship and kingship and it was an important requirement expected in the battle field. Though, it was mainly used in hunting and combat in the ancient times, archery has become a precision sport in the modern times. Young potential archery talents like Tarundeep Rai, Jayant Talukdar
and Rahul Banerjee have made India proud at the big stage. With international and national awards and recognition pouring thick and fast, India is slowly coming up as a powerhouse in archery.
In the present scenario the game has found new takers and is gaining popularity among people of India. With the introduction of new, improved and sophisticated equipments under the strict supervision of Archery Association of India (AAI), the game has reached wider section of the masses.
History of Archery in India
The history of Archery in India dates back to the Vedic Period
. During this time, bows and arrows were used for the purposes of hunting and gathering food. It was of immense importance in ancient India and this is testified to by the fact that the Mahabharata
and the Ramayana
, two massive sagas of royal lineages, are filled with passages that describe the techniques of archery, and the attitudes and customs surrounding its practice.
In the medieval period also, Archery was played quite extensively in India. Archery continued to be practised in the Indian palaces up through the end of the nineteenth century. In modern times, Archery has already made its way to the Olympic Games, as well.
Both steel and brass bows were used by members of royal families in competition during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Steel bows have a long history in India, as very early texts make mention of steel bows. By the time of the Mughal period (beginning mid-1500s), steel bows that were highly decorated, sometimes with gold
and silver inlay, were fixtures in royal households.
Technique of Archery
Archery is a sport played with the two basic instruments of the bow and arrow. In this sport, the players use the bow to shoot arrows and hit targets. The target 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. The person who plays and practices the game of archery is called as an Archer.
Kinds of Archery Games in India
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 cut outs 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 using darts. It has a greater distance and use a proportional sectored 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 3-D target is used in this form, with a detachable head on its body.
Archery Association of India (AAI)
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. 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.