Snakes and Ladders is one of the favorite games for the kids in India. We have spent a lot of time enjoying this game with our family and friends and trying to reach the finish line. And owing to this, it isn't a surprise that the game has its roots in India. But, surprisingly the original version of the game is nothing like the new one. The game was called Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu in ancient India. Some historians say that the game originated as early as the 2nd century BC but others say that the game was invented in 13th century AD by Swami Gyandev. The game was invented to educate children about mortality, about the kama and the karma (the desire and the destiny).
The ladders denoted good deeds and the snakes the evil. All the good deeds helps us reach closer to 100, which was previously moksha or salvation while the evil will give us rebirth in lower life form. The original game also had more snakes than ladders so as to signify that it is tough to tread on the path of goodness.
The game reached England because of the colonial rulers during the end of 19th century. In 1943, the game was brought to the United States of America by Milton Bradley. And soon, it just became a game with the normal snakes and ladders where you either win or lose and symbolism being removed.
By: Neha Maheshwari