GANJAPA playing cards

In the 16th Century in Orissa, circular cards with exquisite paintings on them - an art called Ganjapa were very popular among the people of Ganjam; they were used to play ordinary card games.

Ganjapa, also called "Ganjapa" is derived from a Persian word "Gajife". The earliest mention of Ganjapa is in 1527 A.D. in the memoirs of Emperor Babur.

The cards are arranged in sets in packs of different numbers such as 46, 96, 120, 144 and so on. Each pack has sets of 12 cards, with each set being a different colour.

Based on the number of colours in a set, the packs are called atharangi (eight colours), dasarangi (10 colours), bararangi (12 colours), chaudarangi (14 colours) and sholarangi (16 colours). A maximum of 24 colours are used. Of these, the atharangi is the most common.