Boli Khela

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Boli Khela
(বলী খেলা)
Two players (boli) playing Boli khela in Chittagong
Two players (boli) playing Boli khela in Chittagong
Focus Grappling
Hardness Full Contact
Country of origin Flag of Bangladesh.svg Bangladesh
Famous practitioners Didarul Alam, Marma Singh
Parenthood Historic
Olympic sport No

Boli Khela or Bali Khela[1][2] (Bengali: বলীখেলা) is a traditional form of wrestling in Bangladesh, particularly popular in the Chittagong area considered as a national game of the district.[3] It is a form of combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds. It is one of the oldest traditions of the Chittagong. The sporting event, held in the first month of the Bengali year, always takes place at Laldighi Maidan.[4]


Boli means wrestler[5] or a powerful person in Bengali, while Khela denotes a game. So, Boli Khela means game of the powerful person.[1]


Boli Khela was introduced in the early 20th century by Abdul Jabbar Saodagar. His desire was to cultivate a sport that would prepare the youth to fight against British rule which is a self-defense without weapons. Broad appeal for the sport began at the end of the First World War but subsided at the end of the Second World War.[6][7]


The arena is either a circular or square shape, measuring at least fourteen to twenty feet across. Rather than using modern mats, Boli wrestlers train and compete on dirt floors. Match started in a sandy wrestling ground.[8] Each year, Boli Khela attracts new participates and fans because the sheer enjoyment of the sport is not only contagious for local enthusiasts but inspires tourists to Bangladesh an opportunity to get a glimpse of an exciting and unique event.[7] Fans of many countries come every year to see Boli khela.


The event started at afternoon in a festive mood with the music of 'Dabor' (one kind of folk drum)and 'Sanai' (folk flute).[9] Time of the each match is 25–30 minutes. If both competitors agree, the length of the final match may be extended up to 10–15 minutes.[8]

Great practitioners[edit]

  • Didar Boli, a trader from Omkhali under Ramu upazila in Cox's Bazar district.[6]
  • Oli Hossain of Brahmanbaria district.[9]
  • Marma Singh, a sub inspector of Gulshan Police Station in Dhaka.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Haque, Mahbubul (2012). "Bali Khela". In Islam, Sirajul; Jamal, Ahmed A. Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Second ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. 
  2. ^ "Jabbarer Boli Khela begins April 25". New Age. Dhaka. April 17, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bangladesh. Ministry of Cabinet Affairs, Establishment Division
  4. ^ "Jabbar-er Boli Khela and Baishakhi Mela in Chittagong". The Daily Star. April 28, 2010. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Jobbarer Boli Khela begins April 25". Daily Sun. Dhaka. 22 April 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Zaman, Jaki (10 May 2013). "Jabbarer Boli Khela: Better Than WWE". The Independent. Dhaka. Retrieved 8 Jun 2013. 
  7. ^ a b "Jabbarer Boli Khela tomorrow". The Daily Star. April 24, 2013. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Didar, Marma Singh Tripura joint champions". The Daily Star. April 26, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Chakraborty, Pranabesh; Chowdhury, Tymur Jahan (April 26, 2012). "Grocer Oli new champ". The Daily Star. Retrieved September 11, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Grocer Oli new champ". Bangladesh News. April 26, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 

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