TODAY -

Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple stands alone dying a slow and painful death

Phanjoubam Chingkheingangba *

Existing condition of Samkha Ahan temple : Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple
Existing condition of Samkha Ahan temple : Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple



It is well understood knowledge amongst the Meetei community, particularly those residing in the Wangkhei area, that many of the descendants of Maharaja Bodhchandra, who signed the controversial merger agreement in 1949, had sold several acres of lands due to dire financial necessities and indifferent attitude towards preserving historical monuments and sites which are of archaeological significance.

Having embraced Hinduism in the early decades of the 18th century, both Hinduism and Sanamahism remains an inseparable part of the Meetei community and is undeniable part of Meetei's ethnic identity though the religious belief is up to the choice of the individual themselves.

Even though the first brick temple was constructed during the reign of King Kiyamba in the 15th Century, at Lamangdong (present day Bishnupur) temple, a rise in construction of temples accelerated before and aftermath the tragic Seven Years Devastation.

During the period when a mild and gentle King Chandrakriti was ruling the erstwhile kingdom of Manipur, countable numbers of the Hindu temples were constructed at several places of Imphal locality.

Of such temples, Professor L Kunjeshowri says temples built during the reign of King Chandrakriti reflect the Indo-Islamic style of architecture though the earliest form of temple style assumes much similarity with Bengali hut type structures.

While some of the Hindu temples have been given protection by both the Central and State government under Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1976, some century's old Hindu temples have not been protected making it vulnerable to natural phenomenon and exposing it to extinction as a result of time.

In fact, the temple of Leimapokpam Keirungba, despite being declared a protected, has failed to achieve the provisions in relation with the declaration of being protected, added the well known archaeologist.

On the contrary, the celebrated modern-day ISKON temple, built in terms of crore of INR, bears a fusion of indigenous and other form of foreign architectural designs stands glittering for foreign visitors, the older architectural style witnessed in such temple (Samkha Ahan) which became integral part of Manipuri architecture is being neglected to die a slow death, though the employment of the design of "Kai" is still prevalent and encouraged in many personally owned temples.

Case of Samkha Ahan Temple

While the World Heritage Day was being celebrated on April 18 this year, standing alone quietly, exposed to the destructive forces of natural phenomenon, is the temple of Samkha Ahan located behind Kusum oil pump in Nongmeibung area in Imphal.

The story of Samkha Ahan is one of such temples that requires immediate government attention and the Meetei community themselves to preserve the age long temple which once served as a seat for a former ruler of Manipur (for a period of time-hence it is called Purana Rajbari) before the present day Royal Palace in Palace Compound was constructed in 1910 with the assistance of the colonial British.

Accordingly, the temple of Samkha Ahan is more than 100 years old and is eligible for protection by the government under existing archaeological and historical laws even the country's Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958.

Meanwhile, the Hindu temple is in extremely dilapidated conditions but centuries long customs and rituals are still being pursued by the present day religious caretaker without failure, unfortunately at their own costs while the owner themselves, who are descendants of the Rajah's family, are not in terms for negotiation as regards to the protection and maintenance of the Sanoukha Ahan temple is concerned.

Existing condition of Samkha Ahan temple : Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple
Entrance gate of Samkha Ahan temple : Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple



According to one of the religious caretaker of Samkha Temple structures, the temple dedicated to Lord Radha Govinda (Gopinath) was well planned construction which includes Samkha Macha, Samkha Ton (in Yaiskul) and Samkha Yaima in Moirangkhom area.

Regarding Samkha Ahan temple, a highly respected archaeology professor maintained having built with traditional bricks and mortars, Hindu temples in Imphal, have its own uniqueness with surrounding moats, "mandaps", idols and bells but remains on the verge of collapse less instant protection and maintenance is not given by the concerned authorities.

Unfortunately, the rightful owners of these temples have been astute and have taken a hard stand to divulge the details and take initiative to preserve such a temple of historical importance and make it glaring like the Thangal General temple complex which would have made Imphal town, a small replica of Mandalay city where dozens of Buddhists shrines and monasteries gives a tourist a sight to marvel at.

While the ownership of Samkha Ahan have reportedly been granted to a trust or Committee, which presumably starts with Maharaj Nara Singh, the owners (one of the descendants of Bodhchandra) during the last few decades had already damaged a large portion of one large historical "mandap" to build rental houses at the costs of historical monuments, a standing proof of the height of artistic designs achieved by Manipuri rulers and the artisans.

The mentality to stop further maintenance of Samkha Ahan also implies that the temple be left to natural deterioration thereby making it much easier for the rightful owners to achieve its reportedly self-vested objective.

The entrance gateway as well as that of the roof of Samkha Ahan temple is also decorated with floral designs but the tragedy of the temple is the condition in which it now is.

Existing condition of Samkha Ahan temple : Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple
Deteriorating condition of Samkha temple (Southern side : Dilapidated Samkha Ahan temple



Helpless defender of the temple

L Ibomcha Sharma, an astrologer by profession, has been rendering selfless services of conducting morning rituals in the temple including many Hindu-related festivals which are observed annually.

Having lived in the immediate neighbour of the temple for more than twenty years and emotionally attached to the Samkha Ahan temple, the elderly Meetei Bamon, says it pains his heart to see the ever worsening conditions of Samkha Ahan temple. Nevertheless, he and his family who had been allowed to stay in his present residence have been observing the Hindu-related rituals every single day as per the customs.

However, he opines that having no ownership rights, he is helpless to take the initiative for preservation of the temple and maintain its historical structure less the government and other concerned department intervenes.

He lamented the crumbling portions of the walls, the ever growing green molasses in the surrounding moats and the numerous cracks which had appeared in every side of the temple with thick layers of plaster that previously covered the temple falling apart.

However, Sharma says that he is there to carry on the tradition of conducting rituals for the temple (Lai Senaba) and maintains that he will leave if the religious idol kept at the temple is removed.

The temple also houses several small black "sacred" stones referred to as "sal-grams" and kept alongside the images of the Hindu gods and goddesses.


* Phanjoubam Chingkheingangba wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is Special Correspondent for Assame newspaper Asomiya Pratidin and can be contacted at phanjching(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on June 28 , 2016.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Deteriorating Tumukhong Village road
  • Sangai Fest: Chareng Len : Gallery
  • International Mountain Day, 2018
  • Loudness not ok please
  • A wounded Pine Tree :: Poem
  • Natural remedies for hair growth
  • BEHS office inaugurated at Motbung
  • Tattooed With Taboos :: Review
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Stone Forest @Yunnan, China : Gallery
  • Eerie, Eerier, Eeriest :: Review
  • Sangai Fest: Muay Thai : Gallery
  • ..that made me fall in love with Naga
  • Research Support Officer wanted
  • Condemns arrest of Journalist Wangkhem
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Programs at Public Health Foundation
  • Fixing the broken window
  • Head count of dogs !!
  • Pari Imom (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Matheous Thingbaijam Cycling NE: Gallery
  • Chumthang Nganbi, Ulen :: eMing
  • Chengni Khujai: Insurgency Chronicle #1
  • Gwangju Prize for Human Rights 2019
  • Tests for allergies
  • Cycling across NE: Matheous Thingbaijam
  • Site Officer/ Manager @R-Square Design
  • Armed Forces Flag Day celebrated
  • A lasting legacy
  • 'Stray dogs' as predators
  • Sangai Day 3: Pung Chollom #2: Gallery
  • Thai Princess @Imphal Airport: Gallery
  • Fashion Show @Sangai Fest #1: Gallery
  • Mysterious Animal Attack of Manipur
  • Khelen Thokchom Media Fellowships
  • Career option in Purchase Management
  • Terrorism & Technology - I
  • Intimidation to media person
  • Ban on hunting migratory birds
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #3
  • Sangai Day 3: Pena: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1: Inauguration #3 : Gallery
  • I am a beautiful HIV Virus :: Poem
  • Teacher & Student: Stop eroding education
  • Diaspora unites at Thadou Nampi, USA
  • Deciding Mary's title :: WJ
  • A good man perspective
  • Now people need to extend co-operation
  • Day 3: Kabi Burnan : Gallery
  • Art meets Fashion : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 5: @ BOAT #3: Gallery
  • NAF announces Annual Scholarship
  • Preventing methods to save livestock
  • How Do You Do ? :: Poem
  • Competitiveness of Manipur
  • Shattered dream - "The Smart city"
  • Arrest, release & re-arrest of young man
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #3 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thang Ta #3: Gallery
  • Stalls at Hapta Kangjeibung #1: Gallery
  • How do you see 'disability' today ?
  • I don't exist without polo: Rafael Secco
  • The Road :: Poem
  • Students needed for cultural revolution?
  • Hard stand, hard decision
  • Cong rolling up sleeves ahead of LS polls
  • Day 8 : Arambai Langba : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #3: Gallery
  • The Midnight Hunter : Analysis
  • Art exhibition "Art meets Fashion"
  • The Haipi Lho-lhun Kut
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #3
  • Sangai Day 9: Thadou Dance: Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Cooking Final : Gallery
  • Han Kang's The White Book
  • Sangai Day 4: Yubi Lakpi : Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 Cooking Final
  • Disaster Management Course at NEHU
  • Training on Online Fact Checking
  • Clarify : Impact of Act East Policy
  • On the series of Killing of Livestock..
  • Today is World AIDS Day
  • From entrails to body now
  • NESO : abolish Citizenship Bill
  • NEC building cultural centre at Delhi
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 9: Kabui Dance : Gallery
  • Day 5: Stalls @Keibul Lamjao: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Holi Pala #1: Gallery
  • Importance of TESOL in Government School
  • Farewell to Lt Gen LN Singh, VSM**
  • Waphong Inthan - A failed village
  • On the arrest of Kishorchand
  • Blank Editorial
  • Predator or predators on the prowl
  • Thai Princess visit Kangla #1: Gallery
  • December Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Sangai Day 8: Mukna Kangjei #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #2: Gallery
  • Polo grows on you: Col Tarsem
  • Rediscovery of Gangmumei Kamei: Review
  • For whom does she cry ? :: Poem
  • DG Assam Rifles visits Manipur
  • Detention of TV journalist not fair
  • Arrest of 8 mountaineers from Manipur
  • Sangai Day 4: Lai Haraoba #1: Gallery
  • Bangladesh Manipuri Students : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Pung Chollom #1: Gallery
  • We have a balanced team: George Shelton
  • Cry of a Dying River - 56 :: Poem
  • Sangai with Sumo & Samba ?
  • Morphing : An innocent loses her life
  • Bangladesh Manipuri students at Sylhet
  • Thai princess visits Kangla Fort
  • Olympics gold my dream : Mary Kom
  • Exploring the beaten path
  • Opening up Manipur: Visa office assurance
  • Thai Princess Sirindhorn @Sangai : Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #5: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 6: Pherzawl Dance : Gallery
  • Manipuri Maichou 7 :: Book Review
  • Chandon :: Poem
  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Defers proposed indefinite highway bandh
  • 19th Hornbill Festival at Kisama
  • Sangai stops dancing
  • Mary Kom: Epitome of sporting excellence
  • Sangai Day 5: Evening Prog #1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 5: Thailand Dance : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Imphal Art Camp : Gallery
  • Edward Armstrong - USA Polo Team
  • An abrupt journey to an oasis of blue bull
  • Winter Blues :: Poem
  • Technical Internship Training for Japan
  • NPF on Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister
  • A ditch to Technology
  • Border row: India Myanmar, sacrificial lamb
  • Sangai Day 4: Pena Esei :Gallery
  • Day 5: Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Evening Program #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2018: Turning into a Mela?
  • Sumo Wrestling: popular event in Sangai
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1: Cooking : Day 5
  • Truths in rumours & humours
  • PANE Conference organized at AUDC
  • Sangai Day 2: Dance from Kamjong: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 3: Thang Ta #1: Gallery
  • Can we have the Sangai festival daily?
  • Platonic love :: Poem
  • IGAR(s) congratulates Mary Kom
  • WPW Syndrome operated and cured
  • NSUD clarification on Nagas' Meet
  • National Highway bandh from Nov 27
  • Prospective candidates of Cong, BJP
  • Sangai Day 2: Sumo Wrestling #1: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Myanmar : Gallery
  • Sangai Day 2: Geet Govinda: Gallery
  • 2017- a watershed year for Manipur Polo
  • Faculties (PG) at Gauhati University
  • Biodiversity for economic development #2
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #4: Gallery
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Day 1
  • GC Tongbra's 'Chengni Khujai'
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Thy name :: Poem
  • Bartending as a career option #2
  • Legal Awareness Programme
  • Tribute to Bhupen Hazarika at London
  • Blessing for Manipur
  • Cherry Blossom & Sangai: beyond Imphal
  • Sangai Fest: Inauguration #2 : Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Inauguration #1 : Gallery
  • Natural Resources Management in Manipur
  • Leishemba Takhellambam : Polo Player
  • Robert Naorem at Eco Friendly Australia
  • Cry of a Dying River - 55 :: Poem
  • Jobs at ICERT, MeitY
  • NHPC Raising Day at Loktak Power Station
  • Where have all the city buses gone ?
  • Back to politics: Man from Langthabal AC
  • Mera Wayungba #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @Pune : Gallery
  • State Level Basketball : Gallery
  • Combating drug abuse in Manipur
  • Ningol Chakkouba celebrated at Pune
  • Glamour at 55th Naga's Meet 2018, Delhi
  • Myanmarese greeted at Khudengthabi
  • Rejoinder to PRO IGAR(s) statement
  • Quami Ekta Divas
  • Subsuming a smaller tribe
  • Kwatha Festival #2 : Gallery
  • ChingTam Ningol Chakouba @Goa: Gallery
  • Thoudam Kaoba :: Profile of Polo Player
  • The festival of the Inpui Nagas
  • Hazari/Tombi Polo Tournament : Gallery
  • Ashok Veilou (Purul) award in Kolkata fest
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #2 : Gallery
  • Scaramouche, Fandango, Galileo, Figaro..
  • Laija (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #2 : Gallery
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #2: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Ningol Chakouba :: Poem
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS