IMPHAL, September 26: The 234th Hiekru Hidongba was held amidst much fanfare today at the Bijoy Govinda Thangapat, Sagolband.
This year’s annual Heikru Hidongba was organized by the Bijoy Govinda Sevayet Committee.
The festival started with the traditional “Lai Lengthokpa” (bringing out of dieties) and performing rituals.
The day is performed is performed at the moat of the Bijoy-Govinda every year on the 11th day of the Manipuri Calendar month Langban with elements of religion, custom and other traditional belief of creation.
As in the past, the main attraction of the festival this year was also the Hiyang Tannaba (boat race).
Today’s Hiyang Tannaba had two brothers Sarungbam Taibang Nganba Meitei and Sarungbam Bishnudas as the ‘Tengmaileppa’ of the two boats.
Taibang Nganba manned the ‘Awang boat’ while Bishnudas manned the ‘Makha boat’
Historically, it is one of the several festivals to bring prosperity to the community which was started during the reign of Irengba in 984 A.D. With the passage of time and through the reign of several kings, many changes took place in the religious life of the Meiteis.
The culmination was attained during the time of Maharaja Bhagyachandra. During this time Meidingu Nongpok Leirikhomba (Anantashai) uncle to the king tried hard to preserve the tradition and to effect an adjustment between tile old and the new.
In 1779, Heikru Hidongba was performed at the moat of Bijoy Govinda with Bijoy Gobindaji from the royal palace coming with customary rites and rituals after the completion of which it was installed in the new temple dedicated by Nongpok Leirikhomba at Sagolband, Bijoy Gobinda Leikai.
In the next year it was decided subsequently to have the Heikru Hidongba Festival every, year on the 11 th day of the month of Langban.