TODAY -

Mount Koubru: The lifeline of the Saitu-Gamphazol natives

Thangminlun Haokip *

 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 2015 :: Pix - Mobi Hijam



Mount Koubru, one of the most glorious and popularly known mountain because of its splendorous beauty and as a site of pilgrimage for the Meiteis of Manipur, has been a tourists attraction and a dream-to-trek for many.

This mountain has been equally important and highly significant and a source of livelihood for the tribals of the Kukis (the Gamphazol natives) residing at its foothills and far and wide the mountain ranges, mainly because of its rich vegetation, rich in wildlife, fruits, and a source of foods and incomes for the people settling at its foothills.

Mount Koubru has been and is still a lifeline of the Saitu-Gamphazol natives. Not long ago, few decades back then, this mountain was richly covered with huge and high trees, shrubs and grasses of varied species and a large number of wild animals were found deep inside the forest.

Often these animals would be hunted by the people of these ranges and other tribals that a significant number of these wild animals could now be hardly found amidst the forest.

Mt. Koubru, apart from being rich in vegetation and wildlife, it is also of great religious and cultural significance mainly to the people of Manipur. The Manipuris believed that this mountain is the abode of Lainingthou Koubru and other deities too.

It thus becomes a very holistic and a significant pilgrimage site for the Meiteis of the Manipur and some Hindus, making it a challenge for people to climb this mountain, at least once in a lifetime.

Nature is the art of God. Look deep into nature and then you would understand everything better.

As Bicky Chhetri beautifully quoted, " Life is like a mountain, hard to climb, but worth the amazing view from the top".

The view one gets as we trek this once glorious mountain is beautiful and indeed splendorous. The valley as well as villages at its foothills, both far and wide could be clearly seen as one stand at the top of the mountain, leaving the trekkers speechless and high-spirited because of its glamorizing beauty and splendid nature.

But what is hurting most to see as we trek this glorious mountain is that it has become deserted and devastated and it's glamorous beauty is degrading each day and each year. This could be mainly due to human destruction caused by the natives residing at its foothills and along the mountain ranges.

Jhumming cultivation or Kang-lei or Thinglhaang-lei, could be one primary cause for the deterioration of this mountain. Also some people have started the cultivation of opium poppy or poppy plants along the mountain ranges, making it barren and leaving it devastated and deforestated, driving away wild animals and birds, destroying their homes or habitat, thus risking their survival.

And one such primary cause for the degradation of the beauty of this mountain could be due to the leftovers and wastes left by the trekkers at the peak of the mountain or along the way ascending to the peak.

Every year, all round the years and seasons, from January till December, hundreds of people, even from the heart of the city of Imphal, and from various places across the state climbed this mountain either for the joy of adventure or for a pilgrimage to offer worship to their God's at the top of this mountain.

Trekkers would spend at least two three days and even to a week, make tents and reside somewhere just before reaching the top of the mountain, packing with them enough foods and basic necessities during their trip.

As a result, these campers or trekkers would often leave behind them wastes of plastics and food remains, where some that are non-biodegradable would contribute to the degradation and pollution of the beautiful mountain.

The dying glory of Mount Koubru could be seen as one treks and wanders around this glamorizing mountain. Thus, it's protection and conservation from further degradation and pollution has become a must not only for the people residing at its foothills, but for the people of Manipur.

Afforestation and reforestation are therefore a requisite to restore its beauty. Moreover, efforts and vigilance to restore and safeguard the vegetation should be a must-to- do to bring back the glory of this once glorious mountain.

The youths in particular, has a big role to play for the protection and conservation of this dying mountain. And not only Mount Koubru, but the environmental issues about the degradation and pollution in the world in a larger aspects, has to be addressed and immediate actions for its renewal and restoration of its beauty has to be taken, sustaining our resources for our future generations as well.


* Thangminlun Haokip wrote this article for Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on October 11 2020.



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