TODAY -

My Recent Visit To Kangla : The Symbol of Manipur Nationhood

Halley Sharma Gurumayum *

View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur in May 2012
View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur in May 2012 :: Pix by Tiken Thockchom



It was fine summer day with few clouds in the sky when I entered the sacred Capital of our ancestors, the ancient state of Manipur, The KANGLA.

It is situated at the heart of Imphal almost intersected by 24 o 48' N latitude and 93 o 56' E longitude. It is around 2580 feet above sea level. It is the cradle of civilization for the people of Manipur.

It was not only the seat of the royal power but also deeply venerated sacred site which was associated with the indigenous beliefs of the people. The name Kangla itself signifies the first dry land in the valley when indigenous people living in the hills since time immemorial came down for settlement as at that time the valley area was covered by water.

SLIM COTTAGE:

"This cottage was constructed in 1901 A.D. and initially was the residence of C.O. 4 Assam Rifles. During World War II this was the residence of Field Marshal W.S.Slim, KG, GCB, BC, MG, GEVO, DCO, MC Commander of Allied forces and later it was the residence of IGAR(north) and there after it housed GOC Mike Sector presently it houses the officers club of HQ Manipur Range(9 Sector)".

My grandfather who was a British officer during WWII told me that it was due to the presence of the Commander, Allied Forces, that the bombardment in Manipur by the Japanese forces took place.

In front of the General Slim Cottage, there is an inscription called "Marjit's Inscription" in Bengali/ Assamese script which was erected by Marjit in 1815 AD. It records the construction of a brick wall on the outer perimeter of Kangla.

BRINDABAND CHANDRA TEMPLE:

"This historical monument is known as the temple of Bir.Tikendrajit and it belongs to the later 19 century A.D. This temple was constructed more as a fort and it has a tunnel inside it. This temple is declared as protected under the Manipur Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1976".

At one time, the occupation of Kangla was considered among the various ethnic groups as the supreme controlling power. The political character of Kangla was, however, completely changed with the emergence of the Ningthouja Dynasty under the leadership of Nongda Lairen Pakhangba in the year 33 A.D. His dynasty had an unbroken rule till the 19th century.

Topographically, "Kangla is encircled by the traditional four panas (divisions) of the state, namely
Laipham,
Khapham,
Ahallup, and
Naharup".

It included the ancestral abode of the ruling clan, their burial places, and areas of worship with a host of sacred shrines and thatched roof houses spread over its territory. There were megalithic structures of rituals importance and also underground vault or pathways that connected the centre of Kangla with various subterranean regions.

Several rivulets
Khakhong,
Laikhong,
Marongkhong,
Lichakhong,
Charoikhong,
Yumbikhong, and
Phisikhong
served as nerves and veins of the body of Kangla.

"The Evolution of Kangla as a well-fortified Capital of Manipur was started together along with nation building process ".

The construction of five solid rings of successive walls, building of important gateways facing the four directions and digging of moat done through indigenous engineering architectural principles have given a new image of Kangla. There are a number of important historical monuments which gives insights into the historical process of the people.

View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur in May 2012
View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur in May 2012 :: Pix by Tiken Thockchom



This important historical monuments like
the Citadel Wall,
The Kanglasha(Dragon),
Temple Shri Shri Govindaji,
Brindaband Chandra popularly known as Bir Tikendrajit temple ,
General Slim's Cottage etc ,
gave a new light of memory about the events which took place in a particular historical moment and stands as a narrative evidence of many historical events.

From the religious and cultural point of view, Kangla is a highly important place. Traditions, superstitions, folktales, and historical accounts of Manipur, all the relics, imprints and traces left behind by Manipuri history have attained spiritual on account of the glories of Kangla.

There was a belief that the cosmogony of the Universe was centred on Kangla. "Ancestral stories of the creation of the world were believed to have been reveal in the acts of the supernatural forces whose actions were manifested in the sacred sites, the rivulets, and the nature's treasure of stones, gems, and other precious metals which lay underneath the surface of the sacred sites. Stories are told of "God Aseeba in the form of "Taoreinai" coiled underneath the sacred complex on whose head the coronation was placed for the rite of the kings".

Those kings who had not held these rites are were not included in the official list of the kings recorded in the Royal Chronicle- Ningthourol Lambuba. This are a few minute facts which I have came across while visiting Kangla and I believe that our people our people especially the younger generations are more conscious of our ancestral history they will definitely visit Kangla and our unity will surely solidify.

We must always keep in our heart and mind that Kangla is the heart of Manipuri people and is a proud symbol of our Manipuri Nationhood.

View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur
View of Kangla - The sacred place of Manipur :: Pix by Robert Lourembam Ningthouja



See a Photo Gallery page dedicated to Kangla here


* Halley Sharma Gurumayum wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on July 05, 2012.



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