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

Pandit N.Khelchandra Singh

8. Desertion of Kangla During The Burmese Assault:

However, since the reign of Bhagyachandra (1763-1798 A.D.) due to repeated invasions by the Burmese the Kangla was deserted time and again when the capital was shifted somewhere else. The Kangla declined as a result of repeated foreign invasions during this period. After the first Anglo-Burmese War, which brought to a close the Chahi Taret Khuntakpa or (Seven Years Devastation), Maharaja Gambhir Singh did not locate his capital at Kangla, having reestablished his capital at Langthabal, also known as Canchipur. During the reign of Nara Singh, the capital was shifted back to Kangla in 1844. Thus since the middle of the 19th century Kangla was again made the capital fort of Manipur till 1891 when Kangla was occupied by the British, both the Maharaja's palace and Shri Govindaji's temple shifted to the present site.

Near the royal Palace in the strategic Kangla compound itself there was the residence of the Political Agent since 1835. The Residency was a thatched one, built of wattle and daub (mud-plastered network of rods and twigs). Gurdon was the first occupant of the post. To the west of the Kangla lies the Sanakeithel, or the main marketplace of the capital where produces of both valley and hill Manipur used to be marketed mostly by women vendors. When Britishers became interested in sending out cheap rice from Manipur for provisioning the Kohima garrison as well as the railway construction workers for the upcoming rail network in the tea-growing lower Assam area, they brought in some merchant traders who have also thronged nearabout the main marketplace (cf. Chapter 11: Sec 8).


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