Ancient India had a rich tradition of games, though mainly played for maintaining physical fitness and leisure. During the ancient times, physical fitness was given prime importance, especially by the kings and the higher-class warriors.
The existence of the bow & arrow, the dagger, the axe and the mace found during the excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, confirm that during the Indus Valley Civilization these weapons were involved in war and hunting exercises. The weapons of war, for instance, the Javelin (Toran) and the Discus (Chakra), were frequently used in the sports arena. Women, too, excelled in sport and the art of self-defence, and were active participants in stick-fighting.
Even the renowned Chinese travellers Hieun-Tsang and Fa-Hien wrote of a variety of sporting activities. Swimming, sword-fighting, running, wrestling and ball games were immensely popular among the students of Nalanda and Takshashila. In Manas Olhas (1135 AD.), Someshwar has written about wrestling, weight-lifting, walking. After the legends, even the Moghul history boasts about such sports, as the Mughal emperors were patrons of hunting and wrestling. Besides this, a large number of regional games were being played right from many centuries in the undivided India. Since ancient times hunting has been part and parcel of Indian warrior traditions.
India is known for its rich cultural heritage and it has wonderful and exclusive tradition of rural games, which can be played, not only by skilled sports persons, but also by every member of the family during leisure. India has a history of producing many traditional sports that are being played in different parts of India but not known to all, as they are very much restricted to a particular state or region.