"Teer - Archery - Legalised Gambling" Top 5 Page for this destination Shillong Off The Beaten Path Tip by anilpradhanshillong

Shillong Off The Beaten Path: 18 reviews and 77 photos

  'Skum' - Full of Arrows
by anilpradhanshillong
  • 'Skum' - Full of Arrows - Shillong
      'Skum' - Full of Arrows
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Bookie Taking Bets - Shillong
      Bookie Taking Bets
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Archers Readying Themselves - Shillong
      Archers Readying Themselves
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • Removal of Arrows - Shillong
      Removal of Arrows
    by anilpradhanshillong
  • The Counting - Shillong
      The Counting
    by anilpradhanshillong

Every afternoon, except Sundays, the area around Polo Grounds in Shillong comes alive with people making a beeline for last minute betting. The air is thick with excitement as men and women assemble with dreams in their eyes of getting rich quick. Bets are placed with bookies throughout the morning, not only in Shillong, but in faraway places like Agartala, Silchar, Hailakandi, Darjeeling, Dimapur and Mankachar. This is the venue for ‘Teer’ or archery shooting, a traditional game in which legalized betting takes place.

At the centre of attraction is a large ‘skum’ (a target measuring 45” x 30”) made of bamboos with the covers removed. 60 (sixty) archers, belonging to two groups, viz., the Archery Cubs and the Stewards, form a semi-circle at a distance of 60 feet around the target with each archer holding 30 colour-coded arrows (60 archers x 30 arrows = 1,800 arrows). The colour in the arrow, just beneath the fletching, indicates the club the archer represents.

At the word, ‘Go’, each archer shoots all his 30 arrows furiously at the target within the allotted time of 4 (four) minutes. This is for the 1st round which takes place at 4.00 pm. An hour later, at 5.00 pm, the 2nd round takes place. This time, the ‘skum’ is smaller (32” x 32”), with each archer holding only 20 arrows (60 archers x 20 arrows = 1,200 arrows) and the time allotted is reduced to 3 minutes.

After the 4 (four) minutes in the 1st game and 3 (three) minutes in the 2nd game, members of the clubs approach the ‘skum’ and remove the arrows from the target. The arrows are then counted meticulously. During such counting, bookies (members who sell the tickets to the general public), are also present to satisfy themselves that the counting is done in a fair manner. The results are then declared.

The last 2 (two) digits hold the key to four types of betting which an individual may indulge in. If the total number of arrows taken out of the ‘skum’ is 780 or 685, only the last 2 (two) digits are declared i.e., 80 or 85. This is ‘single number betting’ in which the last 2 (two) digits is the winner. The second is called the ‘ending betting’, where the last 1 (one) digit i.e., 0 or 5, is the winner. Third is the ‘all pairs’ i.e., 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99, 00 are the winners. Finally, ‘forecast betting’, where the last 2 (two) digits of both games, are predicted.

The winnings from ‘teer’ are touted to be in fantastic proportion to the investment made, sometimes as much as 80 times. For the ‘Forecast’, it is much, much more. This is the intoxicant that draws the crowds. Be forewarned, however, that like all gambling and betting, the odds are always heavily against you. A round or two is fun, though, as you rub shoulders with the friendly locals.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 18, 2010
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