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

Pandit N.Khelchandra Singh

1.Tracing Origin Of Kangla In Pre-Pakhangba Or Khaba Era:

The legendary `Kangla' complex had been the capital of Manipur from the very ancient times down to 1891. Its present remains would show that it used to enclose the old royal palace-cum-citadel right since the reign of the legendary Pakhangba who ascended the throne in 33 A.D according to Cheitharol Kumbaba, the royal chronicle of Manipur. However as per archaic Manipuri language records like Panthoibi Khongun etc even in pre-Pakhangba period a petty clan, named Khaba, ruled from Kangla by constructing their palace in some part of the Kangla before the reign of Pakhangba of the Ningthouja clan (see Notes 1 & 2 below).

However much it might prove an ideal site for excavation it could not so far be undertaken. Its significance lies thus not only in its 19-century long sway as seat of monarchy and political power but also having in its periphery some very important archaeological remains, spots, ponds, insignias and icons for various traditional functions, cultural ceremonies and religious worships. There are a number of ancient treatises specially Sakok-lamlen, Chinglon Laihui, Nunglon, Kanglei Layat, Kangla Lon (Kangla Houba), written by Ashangbam Laiba in the 5th century A.D., specifying even the thumb rules for construction of Kangla. As per historical accounts, those rulers of Manipur belonging to Ningthouja clan strictly followed such prescriptions of ancient text for construction of the Old Palace and Kangla.


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