Kangla Fort

By Sanjeev Nayyar [email protected] | 2014

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Kangla was the sacred capital of the ancient state of Manipur. The Ningthouja dynasty had unbroken rule from 33 A.D. to the 19th century, must be a record in India. The State fell into the hands of the British on 24/4/1891. Kangla Fort is unlike the forts of Rajasthan, not situated on top of a hill. U see entrance to the fort. Two animals in front are called Kangla Sha - a lion like animal.

Kangla was originally a hill east of Nambul river. It has the abode of the ruling clan, burial places, temples, polo grounds etc along with underground pathways that connected it with various subterranean regions. Till 2004 Kangla was controlled by Assam Rifles after which it was handed over to the people of Manipur.

Kangla has moats on around it just like many forts of Rajasthan. Moats on 3 sides and one side is Imphal river. Board is self-explanatory.

Western Main entrance. This one is a five minute walk from the Polo grounds and Ima market. On either side of entrance is a moat. If u walk straight thru the gate for say five minutes is Kangla Fort.

On left side of western entrance is statue of Maharaja Narasingh 1792-1850. Left of pic is moat. He built the Shri Govindajee Temple. He was expert of Manipuri Martial Art of Satjal, similar to Kungfu of China. ''He would give in, to the British when circumstances were unfavourable. He knew the time when he was to be aggressive and when he should be submissive.''

This is outer moat. On left side straight is western entrance, on right side is car parking entrance. Moat is called MANUNG (inside) THANGAPAT (moat) in local language. To see pics of Junagarh Fort Bikaner which also has a moat Click here

Close to western entrance is the IBUDHOU (deitified forefathers) PAKHANGBA (one who knows the forefathers who is the King) temple that you see. Ibudhou refers to the founder of the Meiti clan. On either side of temple shikhara 7 colors refers to seven clans. Very serene, loved visiting temple.

Adjacent to temple is HIJAGANG (means of Boat of Supreme God ie King and Queen). Centre top is the picture of the legendary PAKHANGBA, the snake with horn.

There are 4 boats. Big on extreme left of pic is King, smaller one is Queen. On either side of them is a small boat presumably for children.

Close up of boats. The boats are called Hiyang Hiren and believed to be invested with spiritual powers. The Meiteis believe that worship of Hiyang Hiren will negate evil omens. During Sangai Festival number of boat races.

U see Slim Cottage. It was constructed in 1901. During World War II was the residence of Field Marshal Slim, Commander of Allied Forces.

The sheer expanse of the roots of this tree near Slim Cottage caught my attention so sharing with you.

This is called NUNGJENG PUKHRI ACHOUBA. It is a sacred pond believed to be abode of Lord Pakhangba - king who ascended throne in 33 A.D. Religious rituals are performed here. To read all about Kangla Click here

Next pic are mortal remains of beloved Maharaja Bodhachandra. Board tells you about next pic.

There is a small garden next to the fort which has the mortal remains of the beloved Maharaja.

Do visit the temple of Shri Shri Govindajee and Beithab. Temple not used as a place of worship currently. New temple is close to where Sangai Festival is held. Missed going there during the day. Went at about 4.30 am on the day when was leaving. Was too early for darshan. A friend said they serve very nice meals at lunch time.

Front view of temple. The monument on either side of temple (two of them) is called Beithab. It was dedicated to Lord Krishna by Maharaja Chandrakirti in 1855 A.D. Wonder why pillars in front. There is a open air theatre, the platform that you see in front is the stage - dance festivals are held here. Lovely set up, very serene.

The temple was built by Maharaja Nara Singh in 1842. It was damaged during the great earthquake of 1868, reconstructed in 1869. On far right of pic is structure Beithab. U can see another on left side of pic.

At entrance to open air theatre you see statue of Maharaja Bheigyachandra,founder and pioneer of Sanatana Dharma. Development of Classical Dance and culture of Meitei Hindus is credited to him. Pranams to Maharajaji.

This large piece of stone is called LUPHOU NUNG. It is something to do with Mongols, can someone help with story.

World famous Ras Leela Dance on day one of Sangai Festival 2014.

U see Shri Shri Govindajee Temple wall. In and around every temple you will see white cloth tied like this. If I remember correctly it is a pre-Vaishnav tradition. Also seen in traditional temple at Moirang. To see pics of temple Click here

U see polo ground that was used by the Royals. Polo is the national game of Manipuris. It was introduced during the time of King Kanga of Manipur. This ground was developed by King Marjit in 1814 a.d.

36 kms from Imphal is the Khongjom War Memorial. It was here that Major General Paona Brajabashi proved his valor against the British Army. The memorial is on top of a hill.

At the base is a statue of Maj Gen Paona. This pic is a tribute to the brave Manipuri.

Image of Maj Gen Paona Brajabashi. What a man.

A tribute to the brave Manipuri.

Minutes away from Kangla and next to polo ground is Shaheed Minar. After the British won the war two brave soldiers were hanged on this site in 1891 in front of 8,000 white-clothed Manipuri women in order to subjugate Manipuri pride and defiance. In 1980 the Government of Manipur made this monument in memory of martyrs.

Shaheed Minar.

Close to Boat where the Sangai Festival was held was a image of another warrior, General Thangal. Board is self explanatory.

Part two of the tribute to General Thangal.

Statue of the brave General Thangal. To see pics of INA Memorial Moirang Click here

Entrance to Kangla Fort. The original Kangla Sha (lion like animals) were destroyed during war with the British. To see pics of Jaswant Garh War Memorial Arunachal Pradesh Click here

Road outside western gate of Kangla Fort. It was all lit up for the Sangai Festival. Took this pic at 5 am. To see pics of Martand Sun Mandir in Anantnag Click here

Lady in IMA Market showcasing Manipuri handmade stuff. She was very sporting. To see pics of Ima Market Click here

In between went to the Government Sports Academy where these boxing matches were in progress. Besides dance and music, Boxers of Manipur have done the State and India proud. To see pics of Royal Citadel Hampi Click here

Inauguration of the 8th Manipur Polo International 2014. There were teams from Poland, Mongolia, U.S. etc. Remember Manipur gave the world the game of Polo. To see pics of Tribal Museum Tripura Click here

‘Traditional dance during inauguration of 8th Manipur Polo International 2014’.