A kind of hybrid of pool, marbles and draughts (checkers), carrom is played throughout Sri Lanka. The game’s origins are obscure: some say that it was invented by the maharajas of India, although many Indians claim that it was actually introduced by the British, while Burma, Egypt and Ethiopia are also touted as possible sources.

The game is played using a square wooden board with a pocket at each corner; the aim is to flick all your pieces (which are very similar to draughtsmen) into one of the pockets, using the heavier “striker” piece. Carrom can be played by either four or (more usually) two people. If you get hooked, a carrom board makes an unusual, if bulky, souvenir.


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