• Mohan Dewan

Ancient India has made significant contributions to the world in various fields, including mathematics, science, philosophy, and spirituality. Many of these contributions have had a profound impact on the world. For example, the concept of zero and the decimal system, which were developed in ancient India, are now used in mathematics and accounting around the world. The practice of yoga, which originated in ancient India, has become a popular form of exercise and stress relief in the Western world. While concepts of Zero, Yoga and Ayurveda are perhaps better known contributions from India, there are some lesser known contributions from India that have gained global recognition. In this series of articles we will be telling you about these lesser known contributions of India to the world.

*We do not claim any copyright in the above image. The same has been reproduced for academic and representational purposes only”.


Snakes and Ladders is a popular board game that is universally enjoyed. It is a board game that has been played for centuries and has its roots in ancient India. The game was originally known as Moksha Patam, which means the path to enlightenment. In this article, we will explore the history of the game, its true meanings and lessons, and how it spread throughout the world.

The Origin of Snakes and Ladders

The game of Moksha Patam/Pat was originally created by Marathi Saint and Philosopher Sant Dnyaneshwar/Jnaneshwar in the 13th century in India as a tool for teaching children about morality and the consequences of their actions. The game was played on a board that depicted a path leading from the bottom to the top, with squares along the way. Each square represented a virtue or a vice, and players advanced or retreated depending on which square they landed on.

The game was played with cowrie (shells) as dice, and the squares were decorated with images of animals and deities. In some versions of the game, snakes were used to represent vice, while ladders were used to represent virtue. The goal of the game was to reach the top of the board, which represented the attainment of enlightenment or Moksha.

The True Meanings and Lessons of Snakes and Ladders

The game of Snakes and Ladders is more than just a fun pastime. It is a game that teaches important moral lessons and encourages players to think about the consequences of their actions. The snakes and ladders on the board represent the ups and downs in life, and the game teaches players that success and failure are both part of the journey.

The game also teaches the importance of good deeds and virtues such as honesty, kindness, and generosity. Players who land on squares representing these virtues are rewarded with a ladder that allows them to climb higher on the board. Conversely, players who land on squares representing vices such as greed, anger, and dishonesty are punished by a snake that sends them down the board.

In this way, Snakes and Ladders teach players that their actions have consequences, and that they should strive to do good and avoid evil. It encourages players to think about the kind of person they want to be and the kind of life they want to lead.

The Spread of Snakes and Ladders around the World

The game of Snakes and Ladders was introduced to the Western world in the late 19th century, when it was brought to England by the English traders. The game quickly became popular in England and was soon introduced to other countries, including the United States.

Over time, the game has evolved and changed, with different versions of the game being created in different countries. In some versions, the snakes and ladders have been replaced by other symbols, such as chutes and ladders. However, the basic concept of the game remains the same, and it is still enjoyed by people of all ages around the world, particularly children.

Whether you play the game for fun or as a way to teach important life lessons, Snakes and Ladders is a game that is sure to entertain and educate!



Keep yourself acquainted with the latest in IP news. Subscribe to our free newsletter to get regular updates.

Copyright © 2022 R. K. Dewan & Co.