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The Historical, Archaeological, Religious & Cultural Significance Of 'Kangla': The Ancient Citadel Of Manipur

Pandit N.Khelchandra Singh

13. Demolition Of Kangla By Brigadier General Collett:

As soon as the British troops occupied Kangla, the Officer-Commanding of the Field Force, Brigadier-General Collett issued orders, among others, to disarm the population and over 4,000 firearms were surrendered and broken up. Of this number, about 100 were from the hill tribes. As per 'Manipur', Brigadier-General Collett, the leader of the three British columns advancing into Manipur, received order dated 13th April, 1891 to demolish part of the Manipur Palace, whereupon he got many Kangla landmarks demolished. Mention in this connection may be made of the demolition of: Two Kangla Sha, Snathong, Chiraithong, Hogaibithong, Shri Govindaji's Mandap, and gold-plated roof of Govindaji's temple, Jaipur marble slabs earlier acquired by Maharaja Chandrakirti for construction of Shri Govindaji's temple.

On 29th April, 1892, the Britishers formally investitured to the gaddi of Manipur 5-yr. old Churachand Singh, son of Chowbiyaima and great grandson of Raja Nara Singh and afterwards sent him to Mayo College, Ajmer, for formal education and themselves carried on the regency administration till 15th May 1907 when Raja Churachand assumed charge of the British-run Manipur administration. A new Palace (Photoplate:2.6) at Wangkhei Leikai had been built to the southeast of the old Kangla complex. Raja Churachand Singh is credited to have constructed and dedicated the present brick temple of Shri Govindaji (Photoplate:2.7) at the new Palace compound, after inaugurating it on Monday, the 14th November, 1910 A.D. "The opening ceremony of the newly built temple dedicated to Govindaji, the god of the royal family, was made the occasion of a special national ceremony."27 Since then the temple has become a place of pride for Manipuri Hindus in general, and a sacred place of pilgrimage for all Vaishnavas of the entire Eastern India, as also tourist attraction for many other persons, religious-minded or otherwise. The temple is now managed by Shri Govindaji Temple Board constituted under Shri Govindaji Temple Act, 1972, passed by the Manipur State Legislative Assembly. Important annual festivals and celebrations are:

Cheiraoba (Charak Puja); Basant Rasa (held on full moon of first Meitei month, Sajibu); Akshya Trithiya (Shri Krishna Chandan Jatra); Jalakeli (on full moon of 2nd Meitei month, Kalen); Snan Jatra (on full moon day of 3rd Meitei month, Inga or Ashar); Rath Jatra (of Shri Jagannath) (Photoplate:2.8); Kanglen (punar Jatra of Shri Shri Jagannath); Hari Shayan; Jhulan Jatra; Krishna Janmasthami; Baman Janma; Durga Puja; Mera Wakhinba jagoi (Kunja Rasa); Mera Shayan; Govardhan Puja; Gostha Asthami; Shri Govinda Abhisek; Hari Uthan; Hari Shayan; Waphukpa Jagoi (Maha Rasa); Tila Sankranti; Shri Panchami; Shiva Ratri; Yaosang (Phaguwa).


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