Although now popular in its modern, westernized form as a kids’ game, did you know that Snakes & Ladders traces its roots to a traditional Indian board game based on religious philosophies? In the original, it served as a lesson in morality. Playing this game wasn’t just about winning or losing, but finding out how close you were, to heaven or hell.
The history of Snakes & Ladders goes back around 1000 years to 10th century CE where it is believed to have been invented by Jain monks to promote the concept of liberation from the bondage of passions. The game was symbolic of a man’s journey in life and the design had a few similarities with the ancient Jain mandalas in which various squares were illustrated with the notions of karma and moksha.