Onam Ambeyyal (Archery) competitions in Kerala

Ambeyyal or Archery is popular game during the Onam celebrations in Kerala. It is one of the several games that are played on the festivity of Onam. This particular game really tests the skill and usually patience of a player. This game is commonly played by the men folks.

The general rules of the game are very simple. In Ambeyyal game, two teams are formed and each and every player is given a bow. On each others, these teams shoot arrow. With blunted arrows, this game is played. As the game proceeds, players of both the teams get hurt and wounded. A lot of blood sheds happens in this game. The bows are discharged with force. It is to be noted that the bows are strong.

The bows are prepared from bamboo and it is made of 18-inch long. Sometime the bows are prepared from the coconut palm leaves mid rib. at one end, a little bit of the leaf left out looks like a feather. A two-foot long semi-circular Stop-Butt is fixed at the slopes, center and highest parts of the ground where the actual game of Ambeyyal takes place.

At the concave side of the butt, all the players take their respective position 25-30 yards before the said butts. A visible target is rightly placed on the ground in the centre of the stop-butt. The given target is about 3 inches in diameter and it is a piece of the plantain tree.

It is to be noted that at the top of the target butt, there is a small stick convenient for lifting is stuck on the top of the butt. This small stick is known as ‘cheppu’ which is the aim of all the players.

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