Archery or Ambeyyal is one of the many games played on the occasion of Onam. The game tests the skill and patience of a player and is played by men.
Rules of the Game:
Two teams are formed to play Ambeyyal. Each player is given a bow. These teams shoot arrows on each other. Although the game is played with blunted arrows, players from both teams get wounded. There is a lot of bloodshed as the game proceeds. This happens because the arrows are strong and are discharged with force.
The bow is 18-inch long and it is made from bamboo. The arrow is a piece of the mid rib of the coconut palm leaf. It is roughly broken off, leaving a little bit of the leaf at one end. This appears as a feather.
Semi-circular two feet long Stop-Butt is used. This is placed in the highest parts, centre and the slopes of the ground. The game takes place in the area. Players take their position 25-30 yards before the concave side of the butt. In the centre of the stop-butt, a target is placed on the ground. The target is about 3 inches in diameter of the plantain tree. It is pointed at the top on which is stuck a small stick convenient for lifting. This is called the ‘cheppu’ that marks the aim of the players.
Shooting the Arrows:
Players shoot indiscriminately at the mark or cheppu. One who manages to hit cheppu carries all arrows lying on the ground for his team. Players of each team make efforts to secure all the arrows. Thus, they deprive the other team of its stock.
Tension and excitement is palpable on the ground. The players keep shouting and gesticulating during the game. There are some funny moments too that provokes laughter amongst players and onlookers.
All Onam Sports:
Onakalikal, Talappanthukali, Kayyankali, Attakalam, Ambeyyal, KutuKutu