Archery in Sikkim
Archery in Sikkim – A popular sport of the Sikkimese, archery is traditionally, played after the harvests. This was the unique way for the villagers to assemble at a place and enjoy during the period of inactivity. This ancient sport of the region has seen a recent revival to rejuvenate the cultural identity of the region.
The players of the game or the archers wear a traditional dress termed kho. A small wooden target measuring 3 by1 feet lying at a distance of 130 meters is to be shot. Given the small size of the target and the huge distance, only 10% of arrows hit the mark.
A tint of spice is further added to the sport by wreaking verbal abuse on the opponents taking aim. This is done to confuse them through humiliation. Though restricted to male participants, this sport yet finds an immaculate participation of Bhutia women. Having mastered the skill of sleighing, the latter target such vulgar insinuations at the opponent archers that even the most rational and pragmatic people also start blushing. Some of the brave women even go to the extent of crouching in front of the target to deviate the attention of the archer.
Though started as a measure for having some light-hearted fun, the sport is popularly gaining serious grounds in the state. On a more serious note, some villagers even make a quick trip to the near by temples for invoking a divine intervention to overcome defeat. In some villages, a ritual of burying the effigies of the opponents is also practiced as that is believed as an inflictor of bad luck to the opponent.