Khongjom , Manipur: Khongjom is a small historical village with a small population located near the Indo-Burma Road.
Khongjom is the site where the last war was fought against the British by India, after which the princely state of Manipur (Kangleipak) came under the British Empire.
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 and honoring the historical heroes. Camping can be a great option that one can choose to stay back amidst the hills to get a true feel of traditional culture.
Khongjom is located in the Thoubal district of Manipur. The geographical coordinates are 24°33'55"N and 94°2'33"E. The village is located on the Kheba hill and is about 36 km from the state capital Imphal and is about 13 km from the district headquarters Thoubal city. The Khongjom River passes near the village. 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, Churachandpur 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.
Khongjom is named after the Khongjom River that flows near the village.
People in Khongjom:
The village is mainly inhabited by the Meitei tribe. The residents belong to the Hindu, Meitei, and Christian religion.
Agriculture and animal husbandry is their prime occupation. Cattle, buffalo, pig and goats are the main animals reared here.
The tribes live in small houses that generally have thatched roofs, bamboo splits and mud plastered walls. They have a village headman who administers the village day to day activities.
Festivals in Khongjom:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. Khongjom day - This is a State Function held every year on April 23. The state pays its tribute to the heroes who lost theirlives in the Anglo-Manipur war of 1891. The function is attended by the renowned ministers and politicians of the state. Manipur Rifles pay the guard of honor with a general salute. Reverse Arms, sounding of last two minutes silence, slope arms and order arms are the tributes of the celebration. The Paona Brajabashi statue is saluted and religious offering are made at the Khongjom River.
5. Lai Haraoba - This 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 grand way for 10 to 15 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.
The nearest big town is Imphal which is about 36 km from Khongjom. Imphal is the state capital.