The word Archery comes from the Latin word ‘arcus’. Archery is the art or skill of pushing arrows with the help of a bow. In ancient times, Archery was used for the purpose of hunting or for a fight but in recent times, it is used mainly as an entertaining activity. The person participating in Archery is called as a ‘bowman’ or an ‘archer’ while an expert of Archery is known as ‘toxophilite’.

Archery was mainly developed within Asia. In Sanskrit Archery is called as ‘dhanurveda’ and is mainly referred to as the martial art in common. In India, Archery is very famous in Jammu and Kashmir valley. In Ladakh, Archery is one of the favorite games for pastime among all the people during summers.

Archeryis a patrimonial sport of the Ladakh and is a part of the Ladakhi tradition and culture. In Leh, and its neighboring hemlets, Archery festivals are organized during the months of summer, with lots of enjoyment and fanfare. These are competitive programs for which all the neighboring hemlets send their respective teams. This game itself is carried out with strict manner, accompanied by the music ofdaman and surna (drum and oboe).

According to the rules of the game, the Archery teams are leaded by a Captain. Only people from aristocratic families can become the captains. The rules for Archery competitions, to some extent, seem to be dissimilar in Kargil. It is generally in the month of March, that the Archery competitions are arranged in the district. A marked difference is noticeable between the weapons used for the game of Archery in that of Kargil and Leh. At the same time as the archers from Kargil are having a liking for antique designs with a lean layer of the ibex horn for the bows used by them, the sportspersons of the Leh are satisfied with temporary ones.

Cautions for Archery

The archers should wear a bracer which is also called as arm guard, to guard the inside of the bow arm so that it does not get hit by the string. It also prevents the cloths from touching the bow string. A finger tab and thumb ring should also be used by the archer for his protection purpose. Women should wear a chest guard or plastron.

Best Time for Archery

The best time for the game of Archery is during the months of summer. Different tournaments and competitions are organized for Archery in these summer months.

Major Sites for Archery


Srinagar is a perfect place for the beginners of Archery. Among the various games being played in the beautiful city of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, Archery is one of them. People of Srinagar play this game of Archery with a lot of Zeal and enthusiasm. Many competitions are arranged here to increase the popularity of Archery among the people.


Ladakh has a very ancient tradition and culture in which the game of Archery is an integral part. The most popular ways of enjoyment in Ladakh are the festival of mask dances, Archery and weaving. Archery is one of the traditional games of Ladakh. People of Ladakh play Archery with a lot of excitement and fun. A lot of tournaments and competitions of the game of Archery are organized in Ladakh; the tournament of Kargil is one of them. In many hemlets of Ladakh Archery festival are celebrated during the months of summer, where people gather in large number and enjoy this festival. Archery is also a source of passing the free time for the people of Ladakh.

Conditions for Archery

The best time for playing the game of Archery is during the summer seasons. The weather conditions in the summer season are just perfect for playing Archery. In winters, this game can also be played as a way to pass the free time. In the rainy season the weather conditions are not appropriate for playing Archery as the condition outside is wet and muddy. As Archery is mainly an outdoor game, so this wet and muddy condition is not suitable for the game of Archery.

Required Equipments

The main equipment for the game of Archery is the bow and arrow. The bow shape must be in a right position for a perfect game. For safety purpose an archer should wear a bracer which is an arm guard. Thumb ring and finger tab are also important for the protection of hands and fingers. Women should wear a chest guard popularly known as plastrons. This is for the protection of their chests.

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