The history of Kabaddi can be traced back to Hindu Mythology Mahabharat and also to the South Indian sport Jallikatu.

History of Kabaddi – Etymology and Mahabharat

Kabaddi is a contact sport that originated in ancient India. Now, it is played in many countries around the world. It is a team game that requires physical strength, agility, and strategic thinking. 

The game involves two teams with seven players each, who take turns sending a “raider” into the opposing team’s half to tag as many defenders as possible and return safely to their half. The defenders try to stop the raider by tackling him before he can return to his half, while the raider tries to touch as many defenders as possible without getting caught. 


This game is known by numerous names in different parts of the Indian subcontinent, such as:

  • kabaddi or chedugudu in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana; 
  • kabaddi in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Kerala; 
  • kabaddikomonti or ha-du-du in West Bengal and Bangladesh; 
  • bhavatik in Maldives;
  • kauddi or kabaddi in the Punjab region; 
  • hu-tu-tu in Western India;
  • hu-do-do in Eastern India; 
  • chadakudu in South India
  • kapardi in Nepal
  • kabadi or sadugudu in Tamil Nadu; and 
  • chakgudu in Sri Lanka.

Mahabharat and Kabaddi

Kabaddi is deeply rooted in Indian Culture. Even the evidence is found in Hindu Mythology Mahabharat

In the first reference of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, it is said that the Pandava warrior, Arjuna had mastered Kabaddi’s skill from Lord Krishna. Arjuna, using his Kabaddi skills, breach enemy walls inconspicuously and would walk back unscathed.

Another story from the Mahabharata suggests that Abhimanyu, son of Arjuna, invaded the seven-tiered defense. He knew how to get into the seven-tiered defense army formation, popularly known as Chakravyuh, but do not how to come back. It is said that the Kabaddi is played in tribute to Abhimanyu. It draws sporting parallels to a single raider raiding on the opposition side of the mat, which often has seven defenders.

History of Kabaddi

Kabaddi is a sport developed centered on Jallikattu. It is common among the Ayar tribal who lived in the Mullai, Ancient Tamil Nadu. 

A player entering the opposition’s half is treated as a Bull. As mentioned in the Sangam Literature, it is like taming a bull without touching it and was called Sadugudu.

In some accounts, it is said that Gautam Buddha used to play Kabaddi. In another version, it is said that originated in Tamil Nadu over 4,000 years ago.

Kabaddi in Modern Days

India is credited for popularizing the game of Kabaddi as a competitive sport, as they organized the first competition in the 1920s. In 1938, they introduced it as the part of Indian Olympic Games program. In 1950, the All-India Kabaddi Federation was established. It was demonstrated at the inauguration of the 1951 Asian Games in Delhi.

After being demonstrated again at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, it was added to the Asian Games program beginning in 1990.

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