Discussion on Koubru Chinggoirol
- Part 1 -

Dr Mangangcha Thoudam Laiba *

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 - Lamdamba Oinam


Once our religious scholars said, "Koubru is the top of the head, Kangla is the umbilicus, the Loktak is the abode of the soul, Chingnunghut is the rectum". This shows that the Koubru Mountain is like the top of the head of the human body.

Our forefathers believed that we had our origin out of the Koubru mountain range and will return to it at the end of our life. The height of the Koubru is about 2562 metres from the sea level. The Imphal river originates from Polenpat, a lake with a height of 2406 metres from the sea level. Its ten acre area, located around 15 kilometres away from Kangpokpi forms a part of the Koubru mountain range.

The Koubru forms a part of the Barail, Surma and Jayantia hills. It is estimated that the Koubru range is about 70 million years old. It is a part of the Alpine-Himalayan mountain ranges which emerged out of the sea of Tethys. Some ancient manuscripts like Chinglon Laihui, Chinggoirol, Chingsatlon, Nunglon mentioned about Koubru.

A reading of them gives us a depth of the inner values and the holy spots associated with the Koubru mountain range. This mountain range was named after Lainingthou Koubru. Koubru is still regarded as a sacred spot of the Meeteis and the hill tribes.

It is written in Chinggoirol, pages 19-20, "Now let us explain about Koubru. Koubru is located at the top of a mountain. There is a pond (ikom) in it. A Sangaiyumpham is there near it. A bed of stone is there. There are rice pounding blocks of stone that include a winnowing flat basket and a pounding rod. A peepal tree (Khongnang) grows near the pond. Nongthoukongnga chalik mapan grows on the western side.

The stone laid on the eastern side is believed as the spot where the image of the supreme God was received. The cave near it serves as a gateway for the cattle. The big stone erected on the northern part is the gateway of elephants; its name is Pokpi Leisanu. Another stone found on the southern side is called Okpokpi.

The eastern tip is the sacred place of Salailen. Water gushes out of its top. There is a block of stone on the north-eastern side. This stone also gives out water. The name of Salairen is known as Nongkhaklen Nong Ningthou. There is a stone called Khunupok. A tall stone near it creates hen and duck. The name of Koubru is Mihinglen-Mipokpa. Another name is Ngouba.

No one dies if Lainingthou and Lairembi are worshipped with ceremonial accompaniments. The king and queen can enjoy long life. Once the Koubru hill range was known as Malleiching. But after the settlement of the celestial Koubru, it came to be known as Koubru.

An account of how the Koubru mountain range took the name of Malleiching – "the eldest son of Ibudhou Marging Awang yuren Mar Thangmeimar Hanba and mother Khunleima Khunthokhanbi, Tolongkhomba, married the precious daughter of KoubruKounu – known as Nungthel Leima, and he took care of hill and valley areas.

This caretaker who happens to be the sonin-law of Lainingthou Koubru and whose another name Loyalakpa is described as follows –
"ThongnagchingbuTanna khanba, Thongnang Malleiching Lindu Yangteek ching …
Haomarokki Kambi Phanba, Thoudu Nungpak Leppa Ningthou-o

The western face of the Koubru mountain range is known as Thongnang Malleiching. Along with that, there is an account of the Koubru being called Koubaching.

Koubru Lainingthou is the incarnation of Khoiyum Atiya Salailen. Yoibu Khoimom Lairemma Kounu Lairembi is the consort of Lainingthou Koubru. Goddess Erok Leima Taibangngambi or Thoudu Nungthel Leima is the daughter of Lainingthou Koubru.

The son of Marjing–Lainingthou Awang Thangwai Marhanba, Waira Samang Leppa, Huiyel Lanching Thouba, Nahalakpa, Nahalakpa Tolongkhomba, Loyalakpa, besides being a protector of the western side, is the husband of the daughter of Lainingthou Koubru.

Lainingthou Koubru is descried as thus ... "Koubru is a supreme controller; it is the first settlement of the celestial beings, origin of human creation and its spread; the royal white elephant is found there; the annual rain starts there starting from June and continues unabated throughout July; both winter and summer have birth in the Koubru."

In short, Koubru is both the heaven and the head of the sylvan deities. Upto now the festivals of other deities are performed after the festival of Koubru takes place in the first place. The festival of Koubru comes in the first week of Failen (February) and it takes place after the ceremonial rites of Imoinu Ima and the yearly onset of rain of Wakching (January).

The first festival of sylvan deities Lai Haraoba, took place at Haroathel, Koubru. Polo is played by the four sylvan deities in every Lai-Haraoba. Afterwards many sacred sites were established including the holy spot of Koubru, in Sekmai. Koubru is believed to have 61 sarois (evil followers).

The first festival of Koubru was witnessed by Sawangmelongpa Melong Hamengmit when he was hunting deer. The direction of Koubru is called nungsitlam. It is believed that Koubru has nine children. The area covered by Koubru-Kounu is talked of as belonging to Luwang Salai. King Luwang, the head of Luwang Salai, had a brother who turned into an Uningthounachumbi.

This tree was used by Luwang Ningthou Punsiba to carve the first boat. The dead souls of the seven Kkongjomnupis are still taking care of the cycles of time as stars. The youngest of them is believed to exist still as a Chingnung Lairembi at Koubru. Koubru is one of our deities who is responsible for the onset of seasons.

The head priest of this state uses the names of Koubru-Kounu to ceremonially invoke rain whenever a drought takes place. This world will come to an end the moment mother Kounu stops the ekouba (invocation of rain) from Koubru who is her husband. Kouba Eengel hill is the source of water which is symbolically thought to be located at the top of the human body.

Enga kumdam, eengel kumkhai is talked of when mother Kounu prepares the start of the rainy season. This water is shared by Koubru and it is praised as inga kumdam ingel kumkhai. There is such a thing known as Koubru Phingou-Phouba which shows that there will be unrest in the land.

If the divine white elephant known as Koubru Laisha is to move down into the valley area, it indicates that there will be unwanted events. The Koubru mountain range is compared to the human body; there are six gorges in it. They stand for the six enemies of a human being. They are jealousy, envy, pride, anger, enchantment, desire; they represent sadness, happiness, coldness, hotness, a desire to cry, being prone to laughter.

The process of giving them up by going to the sacred place of Koubru is known as a way to know the self. When a person dies he/she is placed at Khangenpham facing the direction of Koubru. Here the head symbolizes Koubru and the feet as that of Lainingthou Thongngarel Khanna Chaoba Wangbren.

The peak of the Koubru known as Sannaching Hanching located at Laimaton Khourumba is the sacred site where both Laingthou and Lairembi are on their thrones along with that it is the origin and location of the seven colours which are fiery, decked with golden clothes with the Koubru serving as a girdle, Thangjing as a throne, Wangbren as a pedestal, Marging as a riding animal with the seven heavenly Lainuras as serving in a circle, the twenty-seven sun, moon and stars serving above as a canopy and a location which serves as the source of rain and clouds.

It is believed that the peak of the Koubru is the first place where living beings settled for the first time; the rays of the morning sun strike it first. The saying of 'nongthrei maou lingliba' comes into being because the Koubru is the perennial source of water which enables human beings to exist. The seven clans have their origin out of the seven Laipungthou and seven Lainuras.

The concept of human fertility is associated with the saying 'Charik mapan thaba'. The heavenly flower is known as nongthrei, and there are seven plants termed as nongthrei mawu; the seven clans are symbolically associated with the seven plants; Lainingthou Koubru is the creator of the said seven clans. The human body is created after the image of the supreme lord.

There are three lotuses in it which are Khoidou thambal and the two khuya thambals. The pollens of this flower are known as the counts of a life. Thus our revered elders describe of this flower. "Is this flower a lotus ? Does it come from your body?"

Besides, it is related that Wangkon Laira Atengbi, the mother of Luwang Ningthou Punsiba, who plucks this flower which it grows at Mairen Lokmai Ahenba of the Koubru keeps it near the Choinou yumbi as it can replace damaged parts of the human body. The following is the version of Luwang Ningthou Pumhiba.

(To be continued)

* Dr Mangangcha Thoudam Laiba wrote this article for The Sangai Express and Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on February 08 2021.

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