The “Ganjifa” Indian playing cards.

Why any language or culture lived or died? No matter it is the script or just dialect or part of the high-end trend. The answer is very simple-

“If it is in use it will live; if not, then it will not survive for long”.

Same thing happens to Indian ancient traditional practice too.I believe there is the only way to restore the glory of our past traditional practice to start reusing it; though u may need to contemporize it to bring them in our current lifestyle. That’s my personal opinion.

So today we going to talk about a tradition which is about to extinct “The Ganjifa Indian playing cards”

n

I hardly ever show interest over playing cards. As I grew up in a middle-class north Indian state, my mom used to think, these playing cards are the beginning of gambling obsession, so better to keep kids away from this obsession she never ever let us touch playing cards.but here I got something very interesting about these playing cards while researching about handmade toys and games, I met to the treasure of Indian hand-painted playing cards, that’s called “GANJIFFA” and “GANJAPPA” cards…..as every existing thing has its story of origin, these cards also follow the same. Let’s get digging deep into.

ganjifa

It is said that in India around thousand years ago in 7th-century playing cards were exist known as Kreeda Patra in Sanskrit. But According to, evidence many scholars speculate that the origin may have been in China and then it gets migrated in Central and West Asia in the 13th

mughal-empire

In the 16th Sawantwadi Ganjifa from Maharashtra, Navadurga Ganjifa from Orissa, Rajasthan and Gujarat Ganjifa, Kashmir Ganjifa, Nepal Ganjifa and Mysore Ganjifa.

ganjifa-dashavatara-cards-of-vishnupur-west-bengal-bp16_l
Bengal style of Ganjifa cards
sawantwadi-card-painting
Sawantwadi style of Ganjifa
131a3b518379c738b1353cbd061a25a0
Mysore style of Ganjifa cards

    Mughals miniature style Ganjifa cards

          Mysore style of Ganjifa cards

img-20161208-wa0000
Orissa style painted Ganjifa

These cards are still played in a few places in India even today, although they have been edged out of the mainstream by mass-produced playing French cards that we are now familiar with, since the later 19th century.

eb1bd9eec85f78366770cae1f4c73fc2

Many of you must be thinking about that if Mughal brings it and patronized to thrive in, then how come this Hindu iconography came over these cards?

“During the Muslim period when Islam was the dominating religion

mp136

So that’s how Ganjifa cards had a religious purpose also, People chanted the name of the deities while playing these cards, creating a spiritual atmosphere around. Mythological symbols and deities were painted intricately by the artists onto the cards, and the Ganjifa art surpassed the delicacy, richness, color, novelty and most importantly, expression.

A fun, intelligent and a brain-teasing game, Ganjifa art enjoyed much popularity in medieval times, however, its name and fame have been in decline now. With the fall of blue blood kingdoms and empires. The Ganjifa cards are hardly sold in any shops today. The Ganjifa artists have not only lost patronage, but also acknowledgment, With the rise of the digital era and the influx of modern printed cards.

dasavatara-ganjifa-handpainted.jpg
Dasavtar Orissa Ganjifa cards