Koubru: A precious hill in Manipur

Henna Vaiphei *

Beautiful scenic view from top of Mount Koubru as seen on April 5-6 2015
Beautiful scenic view from top of Mount Koubru as seen on April 5-6 2015 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

Koubru hill is the highest peak in Manipur. It is located in Senapati district just twenty five Km away from Imphal. National High Way No. 39, the main life line of the state is running through the foot hill of Koubru. Ngun River, the biggest river in the region is running down from Kangpokpi till Motbung through its foot hill.

The hill is decorated by varieties of plants, bamboos and trees. The type of bamboo on the hill top is petite, but very unique and good-looking. There are two ponds on the hill top located in opposite direction. The water of the ponds is fresh and used for drinking, cooking and bathing by the sightseers. The two ponds are believed to be the abode of python/Lairenbi. So, the Hindu mountaineers used to worship the ponds. Just before reaching the top, there is a hole called Kulung in Kuki which is believed to be the road leading to the home of sprites. The Hindu visitors used to throw coins inside the hole as a sign of offering to the sprites.

A remarkable feature of the hill top is the natural seats formed by plaited hairy grasses. The seats are so cute, appealing and appeared like armless round chairs or moras. The grassy seats are sprouted in round and the seat in the middle is bigger in size alleged to be the throne of the king demon. Besides, the roof of the peak is covered by glittering lawns and beautiful white flowers throughout the seasons. Every year, many people mainly from the valley used to visit the hill top. It takes almost a day to climb up the hill top from the main road. Those who had visited the hill top really enjoyed and had many stories and experiences to tell.

A number of races or communities such as Kukis, Nepalis and Nagas are found inhabiting the foot hill of Koubru. The Kukis are the dominant community of the area mostly found in the main land and road sides of the High way stretching from Leimakhong to Kangpokpi. Nepalis are found at the upper side of the hill slope with some sections residing at the road sides of the High way and the Nagas are found in less number at Leimakhong side and Zaikongpau area located in between Kalaphar and Kangpopi.

Among the Kuki villages in the area, Haipi and S.Molnom are known to be the most fine-looking and purest villages. The two villages had pucca drainage system with some modern designed gorgeous buildings. The roads inside the villages are all blacktopped. Haipi is known to be the most advanced Kuki village in Sadar hills and the highest producer of civil services Kuki village in the entire state of Manipur.

The unretiring nature of the land for jhuming and bountiful forest products shaped another exceptionality of the hill. In spite of repeated farming, the land is still resourceful and able to produce a huge amount of food items especially vegetable items interminably for the people of Manipur.

Most of the forest product food items found at woman market in Imphal is coming from Koubru hill. The valley people generally preferred the food items such as Laphu, Laiva, Allu, Havaithrak, Chakhavai, Uzen etc transported from Kubru hill, as they felt more delicious than those from other places. These food items are found in the woman market at any time throughout the year.

Farming is the occupation for some people in the region and the main source of their income. Besides, collecting forest food items is a part time occupation for such people to supplement their income. With this income, they are able to send their wards to school and maintain their day to day needs. Farming is done every year mostly in the same places, but the crops are still better than those from other places. It is said that a farmer is able to get thousands of rupees in a year by selling the vegetables and grains from his farm. The yearly income differed among the farmers depending on the size of the farm. If the size of the farm is big, the income increased.

Another unbelievable feature of the hill is the availability of forest product food items throughout all seasons. The present forest area is very small as farming is done in the major areas of the hill. Besides, there is inaccessible area in the forest where people cannot enter. It is interesting to know that such small forest land is able to produce a huge quantity of natural food items throughout the year. People of the locality said that tens and hundreds climb the hill every day for collecting such food items and returned home with each basket full. The collected food items are first taken to the local markets and then to the capital, Imphal.

Koubru is not only the life line for the local people, but for the vegetable vendors of Imphal as well. Every early morning, these vendors rushed to the bus terminals and bought the food items with low price and make good profit by selling at higher rate in the market. Sometimes, these vendors travelled till Motbung, Saparmeina, Kangpokpi etc and obtained fresh food items directly from the owners and make more profit.

There is a famous Hindu temple Koubru Mandil at a village called Koubru Laikha. The village is located on the road side of the High way in between Saparmeina and Gunphaijang just below S. Molnom village. In the middle of the village, a tiny brook is running down unhurriedly from the hill top to Ngun River. Every year, many Hindus from far and near used to visit this Mandil for worshipping. During Puja festival, a large number of crowds gathered at this Mandil to worship and present offering to lord Krishna and mother goddess.

At the eastern side of the Mandil, Ngun River is running down towards Imphal. The river bank adjacent to the temple is decorated with green plants and varieties of dazzling flowers. A number people, especially from the valley used to come to this river bank as excursion and picnic every year. And the excursion teams or picnic parties had to worship in the Mandil by making various offerings to god.

All the cited above points make Koubru hill so precious for the people of Manipur. To make the hill more precious one should restrain from unwanted activities which directly or indirectly can destroy the exceptionality gifted by nature. For the better preservation of the hill, the following points are suggested.

(1) Not to damage the green meadows, petite bamboos, white flowers and grassy seats like armless chairs or moras decorating the hill top.

(2) Not to uproot any peculiar plants on the hill top for transplanting at home by the visitors.

(3) Not to perform any activities that can ruin the natural beauty of the hill top.

(4) Collectors of forest products should abstain from cutting down trees, plants, bamboos etc purposelessly.

(5) Farmers should not cultivate beyond the present farming lands and cultivation should be done within limited areas.

(6) Hunters should not kill small species and birds which added the beauty of nature.

(7) Water of the ponds on the top and rivers at the foot hill should not be polluted.

(8) State government should upgrade the trekking road leading to the hill top by setting up rest houses at various places for the convenience of the travellers and constructing tourist homes on the hill top and Koubru Laikha to transform into an important tourist centre for the entire state of Manipur.

* Henna Vaiphei wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on November 24, 2015.

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