People of Manipur participating in the Mera Houchongba festival on Wednesday

Imphal: The Royal Palace (Sana Konung) in Imphal came to life with the celebration of the Mera Houchongba festival on Wednesday in the presence of titular monarch Leishemba Sanajaoba. A festival meant to promote brotherhood and unity among indigenous communities, the festival is organised by the Mera Houchongba Thoushil Lup every year.

The royal palace, which is usually deserted, was filled with a riot of colours as hundreds of people, both from the hills and the valley, took part in the festivities dressed in their traditional attire.

Apart from folk dances, the event also saw an exchange of gifts such as traditional fabrics, vegetables and fruits among the hill and valley people settled in the state.

The annual festival also seeks to strengthen to the process of ‘consolidation of the idea of Manipuri nationalism’.

Among a host of activities lined up throughout the day, the inhabitants of the hill regions also indulged in war dances and sham fights in a show of strength, and the day of festivity finally concluded with a grand feast.

The festival dates back to the first century C.E, with it being observed before 1891, in Lampak, which is located to the west of Kanglasa and southwest of Nungoibi. The festival is traditionally celebrated in the month of Mera, which falls between September and October.

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