In pre-modern times, it is believed that a version of
kho-kho known as Rathera was played on chariots
(rath meaning "chariot" in Hindi). The modern form of
the game was invented in 1914, with its rules and
formalised structure being given by Pune's Deccan
Gymkhana club. Kho-kho was demonstrated at the
1936 Berlin Olympics alongside other traditional
Indian games. It is now a medal sport in the South
Asian Games, having been played in the 2016 edition.
Who started Kho-Kho in India?
The modern form of Kho-Kho was shaped by the
Deccan Gymkhana of Pune which was founded by
The field is 27 by 16 meters , with a distance of 24 meters
between the two poles, and the central lane having a
width of 30 centimeters (12 inch). Each pole is 120 to 125
centimeters high and 9 to 10 centimeters (3.5 to 3.9 in) in
diameter. The poles are smooth and round, with no sharp
edges. There are 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in)-long extensions of the
court behind each of the poles known as "free zones", in
which there are no restrictions on chasers' movements.
At the start of play, the active chaser starts off in one of the
free zones, and can run into either half of the court to tag
the three defenders. Once all three defenders have been
tagged out or otherwise "dismissed", the next "batch" of
three defenders comes onto the court.
The active chaser can switch roles with a
sitting teammate by touching them on the
back and shouting "kho"; this is known as the
active chaser "giving a kho" to the sitting
teammate. For the kho to be valid, it must be
given before the active chaser has gone past
the cross lane that the teammate is sitting
within. Once a sitting chaser becomes active,
they may only enter the half of the court
which they were facing while they were
sitting; additionally, once the newly active
chaser steps to the left or right of the cross
lane they were sitting in (or turns in such a
way that their shoulders face towards either
pole), they must continue in that direction
until they have reached the free zone.
Violating any of these rules results in a "foul", in
which case the active chaser can no longer
attempt to tag any defenders. In order to clear the
foul, the active chaser must move in the opposite
direction of the one they were running in (i.e.
away from the defenders they were chasing) until
they have either given a kho to a teammate, or
reached the appropriate free zone.
The chasing team scores points each time a
defender is ruled "out" (dismissed), which
happens either when a chaser tags a defender
without breaking any rules, when a defender
steps out of the court (with no part of the body
remaining grounded within), or when a defender
is late to enter the court after the dismissal of the
Ultimate Kho Kho
Main article: Ultimate Kho Kho
Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) is an Indian kho kho competition, and its first
season took place in 2022. Many of the rules of kho kho are changed in
Only seven players from the chasing team are on the field.
The playing field is only 22 meters long and 16 meters wide.
Two points are scored for a regular tag, and three points are scored if a
tag is made while a chaser is either fully outstretched and diving (known
as a "Sky Dive") or touching a pole ("Pole Dive").
The defending team scores two bonus points if any batch (group) of
three defenders can avoid being eliminated for two and a half minutes,
and two additional points for every 30 seconds afterward.
One chasing player (known as the wazir) may run in any direction
when acting as the active chaser.
The chasing team can take a powerplay in each of their chasing turns
during which they have two wazirs. Each powerplay lasts until all three
defenders in the current group are out.
Each team's turn to score/defend lasts 7 minutes.
Tiebreaker (known as a "Minimum Chase"): Each team gets one
additional turn to score, and the team that scores its first point the fastest