Kakching , Manipur: Kakching is a municipality in the Thoubal district of Manipur. Kakching is an agricultural town and due to its output of paddy it is also known as the granary of Manipur. In terms of population, development and education, Kakching is the second biggest town in Manipur next only to Imphal.
The locals mainly practice the traditional method of agriculture. They cultivate two to three crops in a small piece of land. This practice in fact results in the increase in the production.
The town has a number of small scale industries that are financed by the state and central government. It is also the proud owner of the highest literacy rate in Manipur. The town has a number of good schools and colleges that are state famous. The residents are very efficient workers and also very hospitable.There are local clubs and NGOs that are focusing on sports and other social causes.
The Divine Life Society (headquartered at Rishikesh, UP) has its oldest branch at Kakching which was established way back in 1954. The president of the society Holy Swami Chidananda Saraswatiinaugurated the Viswanath Mandir here in 1976.
An area of around 100 acres in Kakching is occupied by the Kakching Airfield, called as the Pallet Airfield, during World War II. The Indo-Myanmar border being very close, the airfield is essential as a commercial base for trade.
Kakching is located in the Thoubal district of Manipur. It is located at 24.48°N 93.98°E at an average elevation of 776 meters (2545 feet).The Sekmal River flows through the town which is one of the most important rivers in Manipur as it runs northwards and gives water in and around Kakching town and makes the paddy fields fertile. The best part about Kakching geographically that calamities like floods, drought and hailstorms do not occur here.
It is located about 45 km from the state capital Imphal and about 25 km from the district headquarters Thoubal.
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.
Kakching bazaar is one of the largest trading centers in Manipur for the trade of a variety of vegetables, fishes, rice and handicrafts. Traders across the state come here for business.
The citizens of Kakching are known as Kakchingites and they speak is slightly different from the main Manipuri language in terms of the tone and style.They are very well manners, responsible and helpful. The town is inhabited by various ethnic groups and the Meitei tribe dominates the population. The residents belong to the Hindu, Meitei, and Christian religion. The Khullen Khamlangba and the Wairi Khamlangba are the greatest traditional deities of Kakching.The population of the town is increasing rapidly and people are getting into business, government job other many fields.
Kakching has its cultural expertise in various fields such as Nat Sankritan, Meitei Pung Cholom, Martial Arts, Thang-Ta, Satjal, Mukna, and Kangjei.
Kakching leads in sports also. A number of National players origin from here including the Mr. India and Mr. Jr. India in body building. The District Sports Association (DSA) is a major center that encourages and promotes sports in the youth.
Festivals in Kakching:
1. Kakching Haraoba - This is one of the six Lai Haraoba of Manipur. The festival is a recollection of the stories of the deities who created the universe, plants and animals. Lai Haroba means "merry making of the Gods". This festival is dedicated to the ancient deity of the tribe. There are six major types of Lai Haraoba which means the festival is celebrated in six cultural manners that are slightly different from each other. They are Kanglei (Imphal) Haraoba, Chakpa Haraoba, Andro Haraoba, Sekmai Haraoba, Moirang Haraoba, Kakching Haraoba. The festival is celebrated in a huge ground with the audience participants seated all around. The festival is generally celebrated for 10 to 15 days and at times even 30 days. Offering prayers, songs, dance, traditional sport competitions etc. mark the festival. Lai Haraoba Ishei is a famous folk song played mainly during the festival.
2. Ningol Chakouba - This festival is celebrated by the Meitei community where the married women (Ningol) are invited for a feast at their parental house along with their children. Gifts are given to the women and her children. This is a family bonding festival that falls in the month of November. "Ningol" means a family's woman or a girl child and is not necessarily married.
3. Yaoshang festival - This is the most popular festival of Manipur celebrated in the month of February / March for five days. It is a colorful festival alike the Holi festival of the Hindus. The interesting feature of this festival is the moonlight dance. Boys and girls sing and dance holding hand in hand. It is a festival of joy and harmony.
4. Christmas - The tribes of the area who have converted into Christianity celebrate Christmas with great joy and grandeur. The tribes who celebrate this festival are mainly the Paite, Kuki, Naga and Hmar tribes. Offering prayers, reading of gospels, eating, dance, feasting, singing of hymns, lectures on Christ, sports etc. mark the festival. It is celebrated on 24th and 25th December.
5. Kut festival - This is a Post-Harvest festival celebrated in the month of November by the Kuki tribe. It is a state holiday on this festival. The festival is marked by various cultural events such as traditional dances, folk dances, songs, sports and the most popular Miss Kut contest. It is a festival of peace and thanksgiving to the Almighty for the harvests.
6. Gan-Ngai festival- This is celebrated by the Kabui Nagas for five days in December-January. It is a colorful blend of rituals, feasts and dances.
7. Cheiraoba festival- This festival is celebrated in the month of April by almost all the tribes. It is a festival of joy. Houses are decorated and offerings are made to deities. It is also a New Year for the Meitei tribe. The typical feature of this festival is that the villagers climb the nearby hilltops and believe that it enables them to rise to heights in their worldly life.
8. Ramzan - The Manipuri Muslims celebrate the festival with great joy and festivities. During this month the Muslims fast for 40 days and restrain smoke and drink from pre-dawn till sunset. They offer prayers in the evening and break their fast. On the grand day they offer prayers at the mosques, have delicious dishes, exchange greetings and call on the friends and relatives.
9. Rath Yatra (or Kang festival) - This is an important festival celebrated in the month of July for seven days. On the first and the seventh day a grand procession of chariots (Rath) carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabadra and Subedra moves around in the town. Flowers and offerings are offered by devotees. Cultural programs are organized in the night and songs are sung in praise of the almighty.
The other festivals celebrated here are Durga Puja (in Oct), Diwali (in Nov), New Year, Holi, Heikru Hidongba, Janmashtmi, Christmas, Kanglel, Baruni, Ramzan, Idul Zuha ( Bakrid ), Maharram and Milad-Un-Nabi etc.
Nearest Big Town:
The nearest big town is Thoubal which is about 25 km from Kakching. Thoubal is the district headquarters.