Indigneous Games of Manipur

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2014

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Starting of Manipuri Polo game. It is called Sagol Kangjei in Manipuri language. Sagol literally means a pony language while Kangjei stands for a game played with sticks. To see pics of Manipur Polo International Sangai Festival 2014 Click here

This collection starts with Boxing a highly popular sport in Manipur whose people have won international recognition for their talent. I happened to visit the Government run Sports Academy in Imphal and was lucky to see saw some boxing matches.

It was the semi-final round for the team to be selected for the North-Eastern Games that was to be held at Itanagar later.

Look at the eyes of the boxer in blue.

U see me at entrance to the world''s oldest polo grounds. From now on we cover the opening ceremony of Manipur Polo International 2014 and indigenous games of Manipur which believe me are great fun to watch.

After arrival of Chief Guest the inaugural function starts. 4 in front wearing white Kurta Dhotis blowing Shankh - blowing of shell signifes the beginning of an event. Centre of pic ladies that you see carrying locally made box contains sweets, fruits, clothes etc for guests of honor.

Close up of ladies - this is the traditional way of honoring somebody important with gifts that may contains sweets, fruits, clothes, vegetables. Manipuris call it ATHEM POT KABA. Once ladies gave sweets to the honored guests they were distributed to visitors in stadium. Loved the sweets, very tasty.

It is called MOIBUNG KHONGBA. It is a traditional way of showing the sign of beginning and end of a formal event. Blowing the shell or Shankh called MOIBUNG. Note the style of wearing turbans.

Chief Minister dozing - happens with the long hours required to run the Government. Even former Prime Minister Deve Gowda was found snoozing.

Smartly dressed Manipuri girls, who also wore some exquisite jewellery, celebrating inauguration with balloons. Festive atmosphere.

At the inauguration of the 8th Manipur Polo International 2014, a very popular Manipuri dancer performing. Her name is MANGKA, dances very well and popular on FB. Visit her impressive face book page Click here

Post giving of sweets started the dance performance. This was post lunch so part of the ground was covered by shadow.

Local musicians. Manipur has a rich culture of music and dance. Loved both. Am lucky to visit Manipur.

It is the traditional Khamba Thoibi Dance of the the Meitei community. Very graceful as you shall see in the next few pics.

Khamba Thoibi Dance. Ladies lower garment is called PHANEK.

Ladies dance with so much of grace - watch the hand movement. The red thing which girls tied round their heads is called KAJENG LEI. Saw number of ladies in Ima Market make this.

Men dance very well too.

Both in perfect sync.

Lucky to have bright sun shine.

Just loved this part of the dance. To see pics of Textiles and Handlooms of Manipur Click here

This is towards the close of the dance.

Another local dance. Please help with name.

This is THANG TA, the traditional martial art of Manipur that have been carried on for generations. The State has a rich martial art tradition which Manipuris are proud of. Besides this there are other games like Lamjel (foot race) and Mangjong (Broad Jump) which could not see.

Dancers on way back to dressing room. Note their colorful dress. To see pictures of Manipur Dance Academy where girls like whom you see are taught dancing Click here

Local games. Focus is on being fit and athletic with a fighting spirit.

Local game - action oriented, great fun to watch. Missed seeing ''Woolaobi, an outdoor game mainly played by Women. Meitei tradition believe that Umang Lai Heloi Taret (Seven deities seven sisters) play this game on the Courtyard of the temple of UMANG LAI LAIREMBI.''

Start of a game of traditional hockey of Manipur ie called "MUKNA KANGJEI" which means wrestling and hockey. Players have hockey sticks like elsewhere.

Here men have a cloth round their waist. Opponent can hold it and prevent you from moving as you see in pic. U see a player who is trying to pick up the ball.

U see two players in embrace whilst ones in front are trying to pick up the hall. Manipuri Hockey is hockey plus rugby.

Having got control of the ball the player is now running towards the opponents goal. Missed seeing the game of KANG. It is played on the mud floor of a big out-house, fixed targets hit with KANG which is a flat and oblong instrument made of either ivory or lac. Normally each team has 7 male partners, the game is also played as a mixed doubles contest.

There is traditional style hockey as well. Note the hockey sticks are different from usually seen hockey. Great fun to watch.

Player will ball in hand running towards opponent goal, player behind trying to catch hold of him. Missed seeing boat race called HIYANG TANABA. The boats called Hiyang Hiren are regarded to posses spiritual powers. Meiteis believe that worship of Hiyang Hiren negates evil omens. It is generally held in the month of November at Thangapat. To see pics of boat in Kangla Fort Click here

Next game is YUBI LAKPI. Here coconut is drenched in oil as you see. Players in two teams try to get hold of the coconut and run towards opponents goal. Challenges are many. One is that coconut is so slippery, keeps slipping out of your hands. Two opponents are always at you trying to snatch away the coconut.

Game starts with coconut being thrown in the air. YUBI is the Manipuri word for coconut and LAKPI is snatching. It is played on the beautiful green turf of the palace ground or at the Bijoy Govinda Temple ground.

Opponents trying to snatch away the coconut. Each team has 7 players. U need to be fit and athletic.

Coconut in hand racing towards the goal. To score a goal one has take the oiled coconut and pass the goal line to be offered to the King or Judges who sit beyond the goal line.

Player in centre of crowd, being mobbed from all sides. A bit like rugby - great fun to watch. To know more about Indigenous Games Manipur Click here

This MUKNA (Manipuri Wrestling). It is played between two men for trial of strength and skill. Those having the same or near same physical built, weight and age are made rivals. The game is a must during the closing ceremony of the Lai Haraoba Festival.

Wrestlers in action. MUKNA is a highly popular and prestigious game. In the olden days the game enjoyed royal patronage. To read about indigenous games from another site Click here

Action!! Great fun to watch. Loved the indigenous games of Manipur. Crowd are engaged and super fun to watch. I missed seeing some of the games at the Government Stadium since I went to village to see how local textiles are made. If you have pics please mail me at [email protected] In case of any errors in captions, mail me will correct.

Player who won the YUBI LAKPI ie coconut game paying respects to his Guru. All thru the Sangai Festival and my stay in Manipur noted the respect that students paid to their Gurus - must say the Guru Shishya Parampara very strong. To see pics of Loktak Lake Click here

This collection ends with the traditional Khamba Thoibi Dance of the the Meitei community. Loved watching it. Friends do make it a point to visit Manipur Sangai Festival ie held from 21-30th November every year. If spending 10 days is difficult spend see first 4 days of festival. If no events during day time visit Loktak Lake, Moreh Border etc. To see pics of Moreh Border Click here