Chingkham, Manipur: Chingkham is a small Kabui Village with a small population. It is the southern most Kabui village in the Imphal valley.
The village is not very developed in its infrastructure but has immense potential for tourism due to its extreme scenic beauty. The view from the hillock is absolutely refreshing and the virgin natural beauty of the place retains its traditional charm.
There are no noted tourist spots here, and this makes it an unexplored paradise with untouched beauty. Visitors can spend a relaxed holiday by enjoying the refreshing air. Camping can be a great option that one can choose to stay back amidst the hills to get a true feel of traditional culture.
Chingkham is located in the Thoubal district of Manipur. It is located at 24°40'59"N 93°56'41"E and is about 15km from the state capital Imphal. The village is made up of a hillock and plains spread around.
The Thoubal district is bounded by Senapati district on the north, Ukhrul and Chandel districts on the east, Churchandpur and Bishnupur districts on the south and Imphal West and Imphal East districts on the west. The Imphal and the Thoubal Rivers flow through the district. The district consists of a few hillocks and hills of low heights. The ranges of the district are the Khekman range, Mantak, Kwarok and Thongam Mondum-Punam range.
The name of the village is derived from its location Chingkham which means the "last hill".
People in Chingkham:
Chingkham is mainly inhabited by the Kabui Naga Tribe who belong to the Tibeto-Burman family of the Mongolian race. It is believed that a number of Mongoloid groups, including the Kabui tribes inhabitedin the upper regionnear the Chinese rivers (Yangtze and Hwang Ho). They then migrated to the neighboring areas and a few of them settled down in Chingkham about two centuries ago.
The tribes live in close harmony with nature and the environment. Each village has a headman called Khulakpa who administers the village. Agriculture, hunting, fishing and weaving are the main occupations of the locals.
They worship Ting Gwang and Lagang who is their local deity. After the spread of Chritianity about 150 years ago in the region a number of tribes got converted into Christianity, which they still follow.
Festivals in Chingkham:
Gan Ngai festival – This is a post-harvest season festival celebrated in December-January for five days. The festival begins with the blowing of the traditional horn and making of a fire in the ancient style of stone friction. This fire is then distributed to all the villagers. Traditional songs, dance and feasting mark the celebration.
Rih Ngai(Chaga Ngai) festival – This is like a war festival, celebrated only by men. During the festival men lead the life of celibacy. Strangers are not allowed to enter the village during this time.
Gudui-Ngai festival – It is celebrated during the sowing season in April. People celebrate the festival by drinking the juice of ginger, after clearing the fields for sowing. A tug-of-war is held between the men and the women depicting competition between the Gods and Goddesses. If the war is won by the girls, it is a good omen, symbolic of a good harvest.
Nearest Big Town:
The nearest big town is Imphal which is about 15 km from Chingkham. Imphal is the state capital.