Mardani khel is a weapon-based Indian martial art from Maharashtra. It is particularly known for its use of the uniquely Indian pata (sword) and vita (corded lance).
The early history of mardani khel as a distinct system is difficult to trace prior to the 1600s, but it is said to owe its development to the particular geographic conditions of
Maharashtra. A hilly region characterized by valleys and caves, the inhabitants became expert horsemen who favoured light armour and highly mobile cavalry units during war. Whether
they began as kshatriya or shudra is unclear, but the Maratha's reputation was that of a comparatively rustic warrior people, in contrast to the more "boisterous" Panjabis and
Their heavily martial culture and propensity for the spear is mentioned as early as the 7th century by the Chinese monk Xuanzang.
According to Xuanzang, this band of champions was seemingly undefeatable in battle. "No enemy can stand before them", and this allowed their king Pulakeshi II to "treat his neighbours
with contempt". Denied his rightful place on the throne by his uncle Mangalesa, Pulakeshi organised an army of warriors and led them against his relative. Feudatories challenged Pulakeshi
after his coronation, but his army was able to put down all rivals. After further enlarging his fighting force, Pulakeshi embarked on a series of conquests, extending Chalukya reign
across most of the Dakhin plateau. In 630 AD he confidently defied the emperor Harsha Vardhana who sent all his troops and the ablest commanders but failed to impress Pulakeshi's