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
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Day 1 : Culturals #1 :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #5 :: Gallery
  • Best ever Bond film for children
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #2
  • Hard on the hexagon of beehives, Meiteilon..
  • NPF Resolutions of Nov 22, 2017
  • Inaugural Day Sangai Festival :: Gallery
  • Featured Photo for 2017 #5 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #2 :: Gallery
  • Seitinmang, Laljangam, Parihal: eMing
  • Khamba Thoibi & Poems on Manipur : Rvw
  • Significance of learning Chinese language
  • JFA condemns Tripura scribe's murder
  • Zeliang calls for NE Tourist Circuit creation
  • Shillong Lajong I-League Squad 2017/18
  • Tourism Potential of Manipur
  • Sangai Run-Marathon @Sendra #1 :: Gallery
  • On Peace Deal & Framework Agreement #1
  • 22nd Winners' Cup (Football) #1 :: Gallery
  • The charge of sisters :: Poem
  • Reorganisation of North Eastern Council #2
  • DAMMS Freshers / Literary Meet 2017
  • (Blank Editorial)
  • Culturals @Mera Houchongba #2 :: Gallery
  • Kang Chingba @ Wangkhei :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #2 :: Gallery
  • Know The Meetei
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • Not just the Gateway
  • Use milk for silky smooth skin
  • Mobile Application for Sangai Festival
  • Manipuri Mega Photo Contest Finalist
  • 5 point resolution on Naga Political Issue
  • NE is least favoured tourist destination
  • Final: Hazari/Tombi Polo #1 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Events Schedule
  • #TB hotspot cannot be on blindspot
  • United Metal 3.0 @Imphal
  • My name is Kom, Mary Kom
  • Swachch Bharath Swasth Bharath
  • Sangai Festival 2017- Online booking site
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mary set on Olympic gold
  • For every causes, there is a reason
  • Moibung Khunou -near khurkhul :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #4 :: Gallery
  • On the Naga Framework Agreement
  • Media Challenge: Glance from hills #1
  • GIS day at NIT Manipur
  • Pangal Leader Mohammed Hanif Shah
  • NPF questions Speaker convening meet
  • Painting Exhibition by Babli Das (Tripura)
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Looking out for possible measures
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Cultural Program @ MCA :: Gallery
  • Ningol ChakKouba @MBC #3 :: Gallery
  • Oh dear Daddy, see I a Native Proud: Poem
  • Buddha's metta and karuna #3
  • Narendra Modi will never play Nehru
  • Photo Caption Contest by Whakal.com
  • General Call to All Former NPF Leaders
  • Penguin Readathon & Book Gifting
  • ENNG opposes inclusion of TCL..
  • Report alarm for Arunachal
  • Loktak witness drastic fall in migratory birds
  • Lecture on 'Rohingya Resettlement'
  • 'Weaves of Ching-tam' @London :: Gallery
  • Opening: Jadonang Football #1 :: Gallery
  • Robert's Weaves of valley & hills at London
  • Remembering boy..felled by fake encounter
  • Sangai Photo Awards 2017 : Contest
  • Meeyam meekup nahum singna leibiyu
  • HighWays : Govt. needs seriousness
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #4 :: Gallery
  • SDG Consultation: NE :: Gallery
  • North East Fashion Week #1 :: Gallery
  • Distribution Patterns of the Asian Eye
  • Sustainable Development Goal Consultation
  • Wrangle in Mapithel dam: Legal perspective
  • In the Slums of Heaven :: Poem
  • Wreath Laying Ceremony for AR Martyrs
  • Time to take a bow, Robert
  • Create jobs for NE to stop trafficking
  • March: Mera Houchongba #4:: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Ideas for a change
  • A shadowy dreamer :: Poem
  • Winter - A blessing in disguise for us ...
  • Course in Nanotechnology at NEHU
  • Pamel : Serene Natural Hub, near Lamlai
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial Services, Thoubal
  • System Operators @PR Enterprise, Khurai
  • Just by showing concern will not change..
  • Food Stall @Phayeng #2 :: Gallery
  • The moment :: Poem
  • Board exams decoded
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 2
  • Conference : North East in Globalized Era
  • NE-IAS launched to support Startup India
  • Painting Competition on Conservation
  • Ramkung Pamei is new MHJU Chief
  • Priyogopal (Senior Artist)- Photo :: eRang
  • Kabui Dance @Jadonang Football:: Gallery
  • Fashion @NE Festival, Delhi :: Gallery
  • Deviance and Corruption in Kangleipak
  • Applied health research is vital to #endTB
  • 3rd NE Fashion at Itanagar: Day 1
  • Tri-nation Motorcycle Rally reach Imphal
  • Traffic woes continues
  • Kwatha festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Kokkhum Festival #1 :: Gallery
  • Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
  • The threat to balkanize Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 6 :: Poem
  • Biological based integrated Congress grass
  • 3rd Audition of Fagi Unplugged
  • Sadar Hills District Demand: News Timeline
  • Of clean environment
  • Paonam Lily (Archery) Reception :: Gallery
  • North East Fest @ Delhi :: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #2 :: Gallery
  • IBSD, India & VITO, Belgium signed MOU
  • First angioplasty for in-stent restenosis
  • RIST Popular Talk-33: Quantum Hall states
  • Commonwealth alumni event of NE
  • Lecture on The Rohingya Conundrum
  • Tri-National Motorcycle Rally
  • 3rd North East Fashion Week at Itanagar
  • ILP Nov 30 deadline: Why not only for valley
  • Expected changes, do we see ?
  • Festival of Raas Leela #2 :: Gallery
  • Sin-Lang Fest @DM College #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #2 :: Gallery
  • Code of silence: Concealing gender justice
  • God Rules Over All :: Poem
  • Five day 'Flower Show' at Ukhrul
  • Go birding to honour Bird Man of India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Uphul Waiphul and Leikhom Leinang
  • A reminder to Central Govt.
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Pune :: Gallery
  • Miss Kut #2 :: Gallery
  • Meitei Pictographic Writings :: Book Review
  • Careers related to mental health
  • Beauty & Money for a purpose
  • Human rights infractions in Mapithel Dam
  • AMAND Ningol Chakouba at Pune : Report
  • Chef Required at Kakching
  • NHPC Raising day at Loktak Power Station
  • Of ST demand, ILP, peace talk
  • For elderly people
  • Prof. Nongmaithem Tombi Singh : A Profile
  • Hazari/ Tombi Polo Tournament #2:: Gallery
  • U-17 Footballer honored by Guv :: Gallery
  • Just in favour of nocturnal life
  • Dance of Fire Flies at Autumn :: Poem
  • North East Festival bids farewell
  • Agenda of Govt spelt out at DBC, Maram
  • Nurturing the future
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #2:: Gallery
  • NE Fashion Weekend @Delhi #1 :: Gallery
  • History will not forgive us
  • A girl :: Poem
  • Pre-merger political party struggle
  • JRF wanted at NIT Silchar
  • March: Mera Houchongba #3:: Gallery
  • Girls Football- Nov 4 #1:: Gallery
  • Taxi- raising Air Pollution in Ukhrul
  • Skill development training with MUDA
  • Pui Thangamliu -Photos #1 :: eRang
  • NH7 Weekender [28 October] :: Gallery
  • Surjalal: Fellow of American Physical Society
  • Salesian College Grabs UK Project
  • Prime focus
  • Miss Kut #1 :: Gallery
  • Hari Uthan- Kang Chingba #1 :: Gallery
  • Kangujam Chinglensana (Hockey) feted
  • Chavang Kut @Tengnoupal :: Gallery
  • Sub-Junior Girls Football #2:: Gallery
  • Namsai gets Buddha relic from Thailand
  • Ningol Chak-Kouba @Delhi #1:: Gallery
  • 3rd Ningol Chakouba, Delhi : A Report
  • Dr. Rahejuddin Sheikh : Best Director Award
  • Chothe: Shabu Hong Rein :: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Candle light for Belinda Morse :: Gallery
  • Exhibition of Pottery Crafts #2 :: Gallery
  • Phayeng Cultural programme :: Gallery
  • Khongjom War Memorial #3 :: 360 ° View
  • Ichangi Laidhi #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakkouba by Paomee:: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @Kolkata :: Gallery
  • Ningol to her mapam lamdam :: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Mera Men Tongba :: Gallery
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Kh Ninthoinganba
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thounaojam Jeakson
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Nongdamba Naorem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Dheeraj Moirangthem
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Amarjit Kiyam (Captain)
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Thangjam Boris
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Wangjam Suresh
  • FIFA U-17 Profile :: Md Shahjahan
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • Landscape of Manipur #7: Wallpaper
  • SPONSORED ADS