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Now, Kanglasha can close its mouth, speak, swallow!

The process of removing the rods between the mouth of the Kanglasha

Kaba-Khanba structure (Rods between jaws of Kanglasha statues), which kept Kanglasha’s mouth open as if it could not be closed, was removed after Amaiba-Amaibi performed ritualistic worship following

TFM Report

The Manipur Government on Friday removed the Kaba-Khanba structure (the two rods supporting the jaws) of the Kanglasha statues inside the historical Kangla Fort. Kanglasha is a lion-like “Dragon God ” in Sanamahism (Manipuri religion) as well as Manipuri mythology.

The State Cabinet along with the legislatures approved the removal of Kaba-Khanba structure of Kanglasha in accordance with the views and inputs from various stakeholders such as The Kangla Board, Sanamahi Temple Board, Uttara Shanglen, Women organisations of Ima keithel and general public on various occasions. MP (RS) Leisemba Sanajaoba had also convened a meeting with experts and scholars regarding the matter and the members had unanimously decided that the two rods (Kaba-khanba) structures are not the part of Kanglasha.

On Friday, the rods were removed after Amaiba-Amaibi (local shaman) performed ritualistic worship inside the Kangla fort.

Rajya Sabha member Leisemba Sanajaoba, who was present during the ceremony, said that it is believed that the mythical creature protects the land and people have been worshipping it since time immemorial. Because of the two rods, Kanglasha’s mouth remained open as if it could not be closed. And people worried and felt sad about it. Many approached the state government for the last few years and it has been consulting with experts, he added.

MP Leisemba Sanajaoba also said that the two rods were originally placed due to lack of strong materials or techniques to support the opening of the mouth. So it was decided that there was no harm in removing it, he added. He also expressed happiness that the Kanglasha would be able to (metaphorically) close its mouth, speak and swallow and would be revered.

The first pair of the leogryphs, Kanglasha was constructed by Maharaja Chourjit in 1804. They were Manipuri adaptations of the splendid Burmese mythical beasts called chinthe that guard the entrance of the pagodas of Burma, according to Wangam Somorjit, a writer in historical subjects of Manipur.

On July 24, 1844, Maharaja Narasingh of Manipur inaugurated the two giant leogryphs that stood guard at Kangla Fort in the heart of Imphal. About fifty years later, they were destroyed by British cannon fire.

Known as the KanglaSha, the pair of mythical lionesque beasts was made of brick and stood eighteen feet tall. They guarded the entrance to the fort’s inner citadel called the Uttra. The citadel was the innermost enclosure housing the royal residences in the heart of the Kangla, the double moated palace fort of the kings of Manipur. The Meiteis called these guardian beasts Nongsha, literally Heavenly Beasts, retronymically translated as lions which they resembled. They became known as Kanglasha after the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891, said Somorjit in an article.

In 2007 two replicas of Kanglasha were reconstructed on the original site where they had stood before being destroyed by the British on July 20, 1891.

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