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प्रतिमाला Pratimālā is a Sanskrit verse-recitation game, testing memory skills as well as on-the-spot verse composition skills. 'Prati' means each or again, and 'Mālā' means garland. So in essence it is a literary verse-building game where a person begins by reciting a Sanskrit poem and the next person in turn picks up from the alphabet with which the previous poem ended.

Pratimālā is a precursor to the now popular "Antyākshari" which has been adapted into recitation of songs. The original format of the Antyākshari or Pratimālā was for poetry recitation: to retrieve from memory, a verse beginning with a particular alphabet.

A Pratimālā game can be turned into a specialized one, focusing on a particular part of literature like Subhashita, Kāvya, Bhakti Shloka, etc. If Pratimālā is conducted professionally, there is usually a judge who takes note of which verse was already recited, or which Metre (poetry) or Chandas (poetry) cannot be used, etc.

Original references to Antyākshari or Pratimālā can be found even in Puranas. It is an age-old traditional game of Sanskrit origin, and has evolved as people have adapted it using their regional languages.

Sanskrit Antyākshari competitions are held in India in schools, colleges, and universities. Pratimālā/Antyākshari games are also conducted to showcase the talent of highly skilled Sanskrit scholars. Some of their extempore compositions can be intellectually stimulating as well as entertaining.


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