India / Places We Go

Siat Khnam – The Meghalaya Lottery

Known as Siat Khnam, the city of Shillong boasts a very unique lottery system.

To obtain the random numbers needed for the lottery, a group of Khasi tribesmen squat in a semicircle around a straw target and fire as many arrows as possible into it over a set time before a canvas curtain is raised to keep further arrows off the target. The arrows stuck in the target are then counted and the last two digits of the number of arrows embedded in the target are used. So, for example, 701 would equal 1 or 938 would equal 38.

That’s a lot more awesome than letting some silly little balls decide our lottery numbers in the West, isn’t it?

So, this is how Siat Khnam looks…

You can place your bet (or forecast to use the local parlance) in small shops such as these located all over Shillong:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

Or you can venture to the field itself and place a bet there with one of these guys:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

I placed my bet with this gentleman… You can bet as little as a rupee (about 2 cents) or as much as you want:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

And here are the receipts I was given for the numbers I bet – my lottery tickets in effect:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

There are two numbers generated each day. If you forecast one of the numbers, you’ll receive a payout of 80/1 odds. If you’re good enough to forecast both numbers of the day, you’ll receive a payout of 45,000/1.

When we arrived at the field, there was just a short wait until it was time to generate the second number of the day.

The lads warmed up by betting amongst themselves on who could throw the most arrows into a small target:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

Here’s a video of them in action:


But soon it was time for the main event:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

The order was given and the tribesmen began firing at will into the straw target:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

Once the canvas curtain is raised, there is a rush to retrieve the arrows on the ground and to examine the straw target…

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

…Which very much resembles a porcupine at this point:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

The results are tallied by a committee:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

As the crowd restlessly awaits the announcement of the number:

siat khnam meghalaya lottery

The instant the number is announced shouts of joy and murmurs of disappointment ripple through the crowd and mobile phones appear everywhere as the various betting shops in Shillong are contacted with the results.

I was not among the winners myself, but since I only bet a few rupees I didn’t lose any sleep that night.

My higher-stakes bets are in a different arena.


29 thoughts on “Siat Khnam – The Meghalaya Lottery

  1. I love the lotto game and also I really like your blog. Thank you very much for your article very interesting. The best.

  2. Its verry dificult game.but its good.I lost evrryday no anytime pay plese tel me what target house no today silong teer.

  3. plz can anyone tell everyday about the tir target result coz m relly poor i dn’t get any support ,but i hope tir sponser will help by the grace of god plz if ur able send me the chart & formula ,m plz that god will be with u always

    • Jis jis ko shilong teer ka common 100% no chaiye oh mujse 09089929727 iss no pe contract kore ,ya pir mujse facebook por contract kor sekte he.,

  4. Seems the Shillong Archery is attracting you all from the globe.
    Use to come to our place and see the game. :)
    Our address is: 4 Furlong, Polo, Shillong, Meghalaya.

    M Jywra
    Khasi Hills Archery Sports Insitute

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