A visit to Manipur would be a waste if you don’t get to witness the colours of faith at the Kang Festival. The 10-day long festival, starting from July 1 to 10, is a wonderful Hindu ritual and tradition of the Meitei culture. This festival is devoted to Lord Jagannath. This is also a major Hindu festival celebrated in the state.
Manipur is also 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, Ras Leela.
Kang festival, despite catering to a single religion, is still a potpourri of cultures and traditions. The Metei people of Manipur have several native celebrations which are also an integral part of the Hindu culture in this area. However, the Manipuri people do not worship Krishna alone, they are devoted to Radha-Krishna in general. Every single village in Manipur has a Thakur ghat - a symbol of their devout allegiance to Radha-Krishna.
1. A 10-day Affair. It is an eclectic sight with a fervent mix of energy and devotion. The high-spirited procession has everything a devotee would enjoy. The Govindajee Temple in Imphal holds the procession every year.
2. Rath Yatra. This 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, too, holds a special religious significance in the hearts of the locals.
3. Lots of Merrymaking. Expect a lot of singing, dancing, playing the drums and recitation of sacred chants of Radha-Krishna all over the place during Kang festival.
The Govindajee Temple, where the Kang festival comes to life in a real sense, is located in Imphal. Being the capital city of Manipur, it is fairly easy to access the destination. The city once used to be the royal seat of the Manipur’s former kingdom, now it houses several relics from the old times. It is located at a distance of 2,372, 3,442, 3,215, 1,496 km from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata respectively. Here’s how you can get there.
By Air. Imphal has its own airport of the same name – Imphal Airport. Located about 7 km south of Imphal, it is the third busiest airport in the country’s northeastern region. It is under the AAI (Airport Authority of India). After deboarding, you can directly take a taxi/cab to the temple.
By Train. The nearest major railway station is in Kohima - Dimapur Railway Station - about 135 km away from the spot. The station operates frequent trains from major cities in India, making the northeastern state fairly accessible. Here is how you can reach there by the train network to attend Kang Festival.
By Road. The road connectivity of Imphal with nearby cities is quite good. The roads are well-maintained too, so if you have your own vehicle or wish to travel by a hired cab/taxi, then here is your road route information.