A visit to Manipur would be a waste if you don’t get to witness the colors of faith at the Kang Chingba festival. The 10 day long festival, starting from 25th June till 3rd July, is a wonderful transcription of the hindu rituals and traditions of the Meitei culture. Manipur is synonymous with Vaishnavism. The advent of Krishna specific worship is said to be associated with King Bhagyachandra-the 18th century monarch who ruled manipur for almost 50 years. He gave manipur its indigenous dance form-the Ras Leela. The manipuri people do not worship Krishna alone, they are equally devoted to Radha-Krishna. Every single village in Manipur has a Thakur ghat-a symbol of their devout allegiance to Radha-Krishna.
Manipur is a hot spot of culture and traditions. The list of festivals and celebrations is endless. The Metei people of Manipur have several native celebrations which are an integral part of the Hindu culture in this area. And if we know the Manipur people well, then we can very well claim they have no intent on stopping the celebrations and why shouldn’t they. This jeweled state of the Northeast, has a vibrant history. The legends and myths of Manipuri culture have a unique identity of their own.
Kang Chingba or the Rath Yatra is somewhat similar to the Jagannath Rath Yatra. The Kang or the Chariot-palki carries the idols of Krishna, Subadhra and Baldau. It is a sight to behold to see the Meitei people in pompous merriment of their revered deity. The Sankirtana where they dance and sing is a unique display of their devotion. Pulling the chariot holds a special religious significance in the hearts of the locals.
Manipur has an interesting story associated with its origin. Legend has it that it was Shiva created Manipur. Meitei scriptures mention a curious story of Manipur was formed. The ancient texts mention an incident where Krishna came down to the hills to dance with his eternal beloved Radha. He requested Shiva to stand guard and he obliged. The texts say, Parvati was so enamoured by their dance that she requested Shiva to dance with her. The area was covered with mountains and valleys. To gain a secluded spot with Parvati, Shiva hit the land with his trident and created a depression which is now known as Manipur.
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Kang Chingba is a 10 day affair, starting from 25th June till 3rd July. It is an eclectic sight with a fervent mix of energy and devotion. The high spirited procession has everything a devotee would enjoy. Expect a lot of singing, dancing, playing drums and calling out sacred chants of Radha-Krishna to get you going in the mood.
The Govindajee Temple in Imphal holds the procession every year. Imphal, being the capital city of Manipur, is easily accessible. The nearest airport is about 8 kms from the city and the nearest major railway station is in Kohima-about 135 kms away from the spot.
25 June 2019 - 3 July 2019
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