Tradition: The Towers of Hanoi Stacking Puzzle

 • to allow this puzzle script by Glenn G. Vergara to work, nothing on this page scales dynamically •

The "Towers of Hanoi" puzzle was first published in 1883 by French mathematician Edouard Lucas. Also called the Tower of Brahma or the End of the World Puzzle, it was apparently inspired by a legend of a Hindu temple where a similar puzzle was used for the mental discipline of young priests and as a devotional exercise. At the dawn of time, the story goes, priests in the temple were given a stack of 64 gold disks, each one smaller than one below it. Their task was to transfer all the disks from one of three piles to another, but with one important rule - a larger disk could never be placed on top of a smaller one. Generations of priests have been working day and night, and when they finish, the myth said, the temple will crumble into dust and the world will vanish.

Number of stones Minimum number of moves   Your number of moves

Note that the fundamental rule of this puzzle is that a larger stone may never be placed upon a smaller one. Much as the stupas of Buddhist temples rise in a direct, diminishing, upward line, the "stacking" of this puzzle must never attempt a true "balance" such as featured on most pages on this site. Natural, found stones are commonly irregular, of course, and to attempt to stack any number of them quickly becomes an exercise (a puzzle) in balance. Also, don't try this with 64 stones -- for both personal and global safety reasons.

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Bill Dan, Sausalito, CA
image courtesy David Yu