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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Indian Bamboo Bows in Modern Archery

For close to 45 years now, the Archery Association of India (AAI) has been promoting bamboo bows (also known as Indian round competition) by conducting National championships at senior, junior and sub-junior levels - and restricting archers to using bamboo bows only. This tactic has helped popularize archery among common people in India and even earned some of them jobs in various institutions, such as Services, Railways, Central Reserve Police Force, Assam Rifles and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

While modern recurve and compound bows dominate international archery, the presence of traditional bamboo bows in domestic Indian events raises interest by allowing bamboo bows to be used competitively in India. Bamboo bows put archers on an even playing ground, they're very cheap, and so the only competitive factor remaining is the skill of the archer's themselves.

This cheapness factor has become the biggest contribution of bamboo bows by taking archery to the masses. Most of the aspiring archers in India come from humble backgrounds and start with bamboo bows as they are much cheaper than the professional recurve or compound bows. Bamboo arrows are also considerably cheaper.

"One gets a bamboo bow for about Rs. 1000. A recurve bow is at least 10 times costlier than that and a basic compound bow starts at Rs. 30,000," says Rupesh Kar, a judge and a joint secretary with the AAI. "The bamboo arrows cost only Rs. 30-35 per piece, while a recurve or compound arrow starts at Rs. 300."

Historically bamboo bows were manufactured mostly in the North East but now they are being made in several states including Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata.

Rupesh Kar points out that traditional bamboo bows are still popular in many South Asian countries, such as Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

"We used to have a South Asian championship of bamboo bows, but it’s been a while since it was last held. The Europeans also use bamboo bows but they use laminated parts, which make the bow very close to the recurve bows. Here, we do not want our bows to shed their traditional form," says Kar.

Virendra Sachdeva, the AAI treasurer and the Delhi Archery Association president, says he has never seen any dip in the interest among bamboo bow archers.

"This time, we have 317 archers and officials participating in these Nationals here."

"Several other Asian countries also have the tradition of bamboo bows, but most of them are in laminated form. We would love to have a continental competition of these bows, but the main challenge is standardizing the equipment," added Sachdeva.

They may remain unsung but the bamboo bow archers have a reason to pursue their passion. Having archery as a skill is a desirable hobby to put on their resume because archery requires discipline and good aim, making them ideal candidates for the police forces and military.

‘Shoot’ and land a job is their motivation. Sticking to tradition is certainly paying off when it comes to finding work.


  1. how can we buy arrow and bow from you.....

  2. Sir where to buy the bow... Please give me the contact details..

  3. Sir where to buy the bow... Please give me the contact details..


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