• There are three types of people in the world, those who don't know what's happening, those who wonder what's happening and those on the streets that make things happen.

Travel Diary: Siat Khnam: This is how we gamble in Meghalaya

Posted by Raunak Mahajan on September 16, 2012

Welcome to the beautiful land that is North East India. In the midst of the seven states lies Meghalaya, a natural wonder that boasts of some of the most beautiful sights and people. And speaking of people, there is one sport that they quite seem to enjoy: Siat Khnam. Every evening, a crowd of a few hundred gather in the middle of Shillong, the state’s capital, and surround a ring of archers ready to let fly hundreds of arrows into a single target. The thrill lies in the fact that betting in this sport is legal. Gambling enthusiasts bet on the number of arrows that will hit the target during a defined time period that the archers are at it.

eager archers preparing to let the arrows fly

I was fortunate enough to witness this spectacle. The sight of hundreds of arrows flying through the air towards one helpless target is something to behold. There are some interesting stories about how the number to be bet is decided by different people. Along with the “Living Root Bridges”, this, is a must see in North East India.

two young archers joining the raid

And if you are wondering whether I wagered, yes I did. And my guess was as good as David Hasselhoff’s singing 🙂

the battered target…guess the number of arrows on that and you have won!

Here is an interesting article on how dreams are interpreted to decide what number to bet on:  Dream, Bet and Shoot!

This is an interesting blog on North East India : Arrows of Money

5 Responses to “Travel Diary: Siat Khnam: This is how we gamble in Meghalaya”

  1. Nice to know that you managed to witness this interesting and intense event, and the living bridges too. There is so much more to see in North East India. I hope you discover more of it.

    Also, we would deeply appreciate if you can put a link to our website in your blogroll.

    Thanks for appreciating our blog.

  2. Looking at that target, they’re really good shots! Wow.

    And you have to do your homework before you wager. Chat them up, see who the favored is, any circumstances surrounding the lives of the archers that might distract them, etc. etc. 😉

    • Raunak said

      thanks for that advice 🙂 most of the archers still reel from a hangover…i wish i could have taken shots of hundreds of arrows flying towards the target…but the sight was so mesmerizing that I just abandoned my camera at that moment.

  3. Wow… I had never thought that I will ever see gambling on archery… so you can conclude that you can gamble on any sport 🙂

    • Raunak said

      Last week I was wondering how gambling on horse racing is allowed in India while casino gambling is not. Apparently, in 1996 the supreme court of India ruled that horse racing is not gambling because winning in a derby requires skills. Such crap! I refuse to accept that Poker, Blackjack and other casino games do not need skills!
      Casinos should be legalized all over India. Seeing the way our fiscal deficit is getting ruined, I won’t be surprised if we soon have onshore gambling legalized.
      You should definitely put North East on your traveling plans 🙂

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