TODAY -

Heikru Hidongba : Cultural History Of Manipur

Dr. Ch. Jamini Devi *

A Heikru Pareng (Garland made of heikru) before the start of Heikru hidongba festival
A Heikru Pareng (Garland made of heikru) before the start of Heikru hidongba festival



From the Puya called Lamlen Sakok, it is known that Heikru Hidongba was a traditional Meitei festival that had been around long before Rajarshi Bhagyachandra, since the time of Meiding-u Irengba. This was a celebration pertaining to the worship of Sanamahi Pakhangba. There was no fixed day for the celebration. After the king decided on a day considered being auspicious, the festival was held.

From the time of Meiding-u Irengba up until the time of Meiding-u Maramba (Gourashyam), the Heikru Hidongba ceremony was held sporadically at best. However on the day when Rajarshi Bhagyachandra with his uncle Nongpok Leirikhomba (Anantasai) started the seva of Shri Bijoy Govinda, there was a grand celebration of the Heikru Hidongba to commemorate the occasion.

It was decided that beginning the following year, on the 11th day of Langban of each year, the festival would be held. From then on this festival has been celebrated until this day without a break. There have been changes in the way the festival is celebrated from the time of Meiding-u Irengba till today.

Rajarshi Bhagyachandra combined old Meitei traditional elements with elements of Vashnavism such as puja, fruit-flower offering, sankirtan, blowing of the conch, etc. and after Shri Bijoy Govinda graced the boat, the aarti was performed.

One of the most important elements of the Heikru Hidongba is the spectacular visual drama of the boat race. Before the start of the race, graced in a Khabak Lakpa boat (two boats tied together), Shri Bijoy Govinda goes on a procession along the sides of the moat, and stops at every Hiden. This is known as Lai Lamyengba.

At these stops at each Hiden, spectators make offerings of fruits, flowers and aaarti to Shri Bijoy Govinda. After the procession, the boat carrying Shri Bijoy Govinda heads towards the east. At this point, the leaders of each team come towards the boat with offerings to the deity.

After a brief rest and final preparation, the boats are taken to the race area, and the race begins. This spectacle is what Heikru Hidongba is to those who gather each year at the moat to watch it. However, there are other aspects of this festival that relate deeply faith and worship.

The day before the boat race, in the early morning hours, the two individuals who are going to lead each team, put items made of silver and gold in a container, and offer it to Shri Bijoy Govinda. This is to show that all people acknowledge the presence of the supreme lord of the universe. This comes from the ancient ways of worship in Meitei tradition.

On the day of the race, a garland will be assembled from one hundred and eight Heikru. In between each Heikru, there will be a tip of 'hup' interspersing the strand. Another garland will be made out of one hundred and eight rice grains, each grain picked by fingers from its husk.

The two garlands will be offered to Shri Bijoy Govinda and will then be placed on the deck of the two boats. Which garland will be placed on which boat? This is decided on the day of the race by pundits.

The significance of the Cheng Pareng is that- the food that God has given us, is in return being offered back to him. The Heikru Pareng represents the core inside each individual human being. Along with this, the boat racers are dressed in traditional Meitei grabs.

As an example, the two Tengmai Leppa or the leaders of each team, as well as the two Lourungba are all dressed in Ningkham and Shamjin. The rest of the team on each side wears Kokyet of each team's colour.

When the winner of the race is declared, it is announced that either the Heikru pareng team or the Cheng Pareng team wins. Pundits then calculate the pros and cons of either the Heikru's victory or the Cheng's.

About the tradition of Heikru Hidongba, the festival celebrated each year in honour of Shri Bijoy Govinda. What was agreed by all the citizens of the land was that until the moment the celebration has been carried out, it is forbidden, or a taboo to eat Heikru.

Since the festival is attended by all the public, the crowd is extremely large. It is an occasion and chance for people who have not seen one another for a long time to meet up. There is a quaint saying that goes "Hiyang Yenglingeida Tumbagi Sel Thourak-ee" (Being asked to pay up debt for the purchase of Tumba, while watching the boat race).

The Heikru Hidongba is not simply a traditional festival. It unites religion, caste and creed, and brings people together in a platform of friendship and love.

(Extracted from the book 'Cultural History of Manipur' by Dr. Ch. Jamini Devi)


* Dr. Ch. Jamini Devi wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
This article was posted on July 21, 2014.


* 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
  • Meira Rally protest of MU VC : Gallery
  • Jianthailiu, Paopu :: eMing
  • Role of Bamboo in Social Housing
  • Issues surrounding boundary of Manipur
  • To Adya Prasad Pandey :: Poem
  • Troubles -from Buddhist point of view
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • 13 July Moreh Terror Attack
  • Opposition's stand: A new turning point
  • Waiting for PMP Bill
  • Kangkhui Khullen, Mt Khorung #1 : Gallery
  • Bandh demanding VC removal #2 : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #3: Gallery
  • ILP bill yelhoumee di kanba ngamloi
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Slow Loris: only known venomous primate
  • The mystery of nine :: Poem
  • Student protesters met with police brutality
  • Why MU rejects fact finding committee
  • 48 hrs bandh total : MUSU delivers point
  • Ravi explains basis of framework agreement
  • Bandh demanding VC removal #1 : Gallery
  • Greater Nagaland or Mini Nagaland ? #1
  • We just need a little bit of luck
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Cry of a Dying River - 37 :: Poem
  • Manipur : Context & Structural Violence
  • Procrastinations and protests
  • Protests against MHRD at New Delhi
  • Scientists from NASA during IIT Techniche
  • Mission 'Go to Village'
  • Even Monkey falls from the tree
  • Lim divide : Strong statement from CM
  • DESAM Protest- remove MU VC : Gallery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #2 : Gallery
  • Unbiased Retake Manipur University Issues
  • BoSEM Imbroglio: Educational smuggling
  • Jobs available in NIELIT centers
  • Commanding Officer-i-c must be punished
  • Public official's escorts assault lawyer
  • Is Govt underestimating MU Community
  • MU impasses : Getting uglier
  • Art Exhibit @Imphal Art College #1 : Gallery
  • HSLC students @ Chalwa, KPI : Gallery
  • Arambam Modhu Kalabhusan-Lairik Haiba
  • Interferences in private school affairs
  • Diagnostic Testing Phases -complexities
  • The Kite Runner :: Poem
  • Call for joint mass protest at New Delhi
  • Manipur CM warns of extreme steps
  • Naga civil society playing key role
  • This will be an Acid test for N. Biren
  • Best option : A graceful exit ..for Pandey
  • Kang Khichri chaba @Kwakeithel : Gallery
  • Plastic Surgery Day @RIMS : Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @Keishampat : Gallery
  • Human rights of women in our society
  • AFSPA Gesture and Better Alternative
  • Leisure :: Poem
  • Restore Life After Burns : Plastic Surgery
  • Konung Kang Chingba #1 : Gallery
  • Dont waste searching for word/phrases
  • Hill People & Merger of Manipur
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #5
  • U-Mangra for biofuel for economic devpt
  • Painting competition on environment
  • Condemn Moreh terror attack
  • Climbing Shirui Hills, Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Kang Chingba - Rath Yatra : Book
  • Why the impasse at Manipur University
  • Condolence Message for Tamenglong
  • Maharaj parleys Bizando
  • Opt for fruit/vegetable beauty product
  • DG Assam Rifles meets Governor
  • Recreation - a Serious Business
  • Tuilha Kolt waterfall @Kpi #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Lamjing Meira Ningsing Numit #2 : Gallery
  • Who Created the Border Pillar Conflict ?
  • EEVFAM amidst Numbness and Noise
  • Special Olympics Unified Cup 2018
  • Path for youth's bright future
  • Addressing core issues
  • Students Vs Centre's man : MU
  • Thangjam Manorama Anniversary: Gallery
  • A reflection on POCSO Act, 2012
  • Fear :: Poem
  • War veterans laboured to clean compound
  • Free Career Counselling Program
  • NEFIS writes to University bodies
  • Sit-in-Protest Against House Search
  • 50th World Population Day celebrated
  • Something worrying
  • Congress : 2 days session too short
  • Jadugi Chei :: Funga Wari
  • Tribal protest for MU normalcy : Gallery
  • Framework Agreement: What is it ?
  • Some cairns from the way: Artist's retake #2
  • Cry of a Dying River # 36 :: Poem
  • Overview on Manipur University imbroglio
  • Tribal Students memo to HRD on MU
  • India-Vietnam Film Show 2018 at Delhi
  • Why the CM is helpless ?
  • No end in sight to MU crisis
  • Indo-Myanmar Pillar 81 @Kwatha #1: Gallery
  • Global Bamboo Congress @Beijing : Gallery
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #4
  • Kamesh Salam : Speaker at BARC, Beijing
  • Career in Cooperatives
  • Nagaland CM's speech at NEC
  • NPF Rejoinder to JD (U) of July 9
  • Unfair Game
  • Expecting documentary proof from villagers
  • Lamjing Meira Ningsing Numit #1 : Gallery
  • Woken Youth Clubs in season of World Cup
  • Converting tourism potential into reality
  • Let me live in your heart :: Poem
  • D-Jent.... Djentleman... Anyone ?
  • Socialism or destruction of humanity ?
  • Demand action against KSO activists
  • Ichangi Laidhi #3 :: eRang
  • Modernizing Manipur University Library
  • In the grip of nothingness :: Poem
  • Password protection - I
  • Congenital Heart Defect operated
  • Hill area bandh relaxed temporarily
  • State & central govt must stop conflict
  • Cohesion is sports
  • Explain 'devious purpose'
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur merger agreement 1947
  • Wari Jalsa at New Delhi
  • Congress grass menace in North-East
  • M A Thomas National Human Rights Award
  • What does worry do to us ?
  • Is Manipur a part of India ?
  • Rumours of child lifters : Dangerous
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #3 : Gallery
  • Forest Rights Act 2006 -context of Manipur
  • Supreme Court Hearing on EEVFAM case
  • Cry of a Dying River - 35 :: Poem
  • Terirama Th. met South Korea's first lady
  • Securing security cameras: invisible eye
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland CM's statement
  • Meitei Mayek - are the scales tipped now
  • Patronising non-locals : Nail the insiders
  • Tribal University @ Senapati : Gallery
  • Rally to remove MU VC #2 : Gallery
  • Some cairns from the way: Artist's retake #1
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #3
  • UN experts on 'fake encounter' killings
  • Nagaland CM Rio statement on July 4
  • Condemns inhuman eviction by Govt
  • Trainees Certificate of RPL at Kamrup
  • Minor reunited with mother after 26 days
  • Non-Operative Closure of "hole in the heart"
  • We are for the people, for the society
  • Over 30 days : Centre sleeps, MU 'burns'
  • Thokchom Brindashabi Devi :: Profile
  • Kshetri-bengoon Eviction Protest : Gallery
  • Successive pay commissions: It's impact
  • Research Support @ R-Square Design
  • leingakki thouwong - state terrorism
  • Rebuttal: Interview of Ranju Singh
  • Different forces pulling Manipur : Lim
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #3 : Gallery
  • Some ideas for prevention of flood
  • Satisfaction :: Poem
  • Supreme Court hearing on EEVFAM - 2 July
  • Dark lips .. causes and care
  • Training on Handloom Weaver at Hojai
  • CME on 'Congenital Heart Diseases'
  • Nagaland CM should make his stand clear
  • 2019 LS polls : BJP on the offensive
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #4 : Gallery
  • Naga American conference in California
  • Life of an army officer's daughter
  • The Winter Blues :: Poem
  • 16th Mega Miss North East
  • NDPP on Naga integration
  • Allegations against VC holds no ground
  • Rally to remove MU VC #1 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • A Washed-Out Summer Vacation in MU
  • Manipur State Constitution Act 1947 #2
  • My short interaction with Penna Donna
  • 9th Men Mega Mister North East
  • Memo submitted to Kiren Rijiju
  • India- no interest to protect its boundary
  • Idea of who is a citizen of the land
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #3 : Gallery
  • Dr Thingnam Kishan Memorial : Gallery
  • Black sheep in movement for ILPS #3
  • Our Common Crisis: What are We to Do #2
  • Jackichand Singh signs for FC Goa
  • No co-operation to MU VC
  • Nagaland CM contradicting himself : NPF
  • Career Guidance Workshop at Ukhrul
  • The tales of a forgotten University
  • Pulling at idea of Manipur : Lim, ATC
  • Climbing Shirui Hills, Ukhrul #2 : Gallery
  • Moirangthem Arup: 90 Km Marathon, Africa
  • Pitfalls on land acquisition for Mapithel Dam
  • Chinese dominance in 21st century
  • Caring for the elderly
  • IIT-G's Technothlon prelims at UAE
  • Mass Rally from Manipur University
  • Nagaland CM releases book by teenager
  • Why trying to dictate media time & again
  • MU, border pillar, Citizenship Bill
  • Oinam Dilip's Painting Exhibition
  • Intl Day Against Drug Abuse : Gallery
  • The Manipur Merger Agreement 1949
  • A road to Mandalay
  • Keeping up: medical diagnostics tech
  • The mother of all preventive strategies
  • Relief camps for Flood affected families
  • The dark side of Indian democracy
  • From three time CM to Oppn leader
  • Khumang Pokpa Haraoba #1 : Gallery
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #3 : Gallery
  • Mova Cave, Hungpung, Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #2 : Gallery
  • General Thangal Eco Park : Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS