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Indigenous Games of Manipur

Sagol Kangjei (Manipuri Polo):- The Sagol Kangjei has been adapted and adopted by the international enthusiasts of the game as Polo and now it’s now being played worldwide. Today, the world has accepted that the game of Polo originated from Manipur. The Manipuri Polo is played with seven players (in each side) who mount and ride ponies, which are usually 4/5 feet in height. Each player is fitted with Polo-stick made of bamboo root. The mounted player gallop after the ball to hit it straight into the goal. Extremely masculine and vigour-taxing, the exhilarating game is now played in two styles –the pana or original Manipur style and the international style and the international style i.e. Polo. It is heart- cheering to see Manipuri players in their sixties and even seventies riding ponies at full gallop playing Sagol Kangjei (polo) with gusto. The ponies are also decorated fully with various guards of protecting the eyes, forehead, flanks etc.
The Britishers learnt the nuances of the game of Sagol Kangjei in the 19th century from Manipur and after that clever refinement, the erstwhile indigenous game was renamed Polo and played in other parts of the globe.

Yubi Lakpi(Manipuri Rugby):- “Yubi” in Manipur means coconut and “Lakpi” means snatching. The oriental game is played on the lush green turf of the palace ground or at the Bijoy Govinda Temple ground. Each side has 7 players in a field that is about 45x18 metres in area one side of which forms the central portion of the goal line. The coconut serves the purpose of a ball and is offered to the king or the judges who sit just beyond the goal line.

Hiyang Tannaba (Boat Race):- It is generally held in the month of November at Thangapat(Moat). The boats called Hiyang Hiren are regarded to be invested with spiritual powers and the game is associated with religious rites. The Meiteis believe that worship of the Hiyang Hiren will prevent one from evil omens. The rowers wear traditional dresses and head-gears. The game is also conducted during spells of natural calamity.
Mukna(Manipuri Wrestling): The game is the Manipuri style of wrestling played between two male rivals for trial of strength by sheer physical strength and skill. Athletes of the same or approximately the same physical built, weight or ages are made to fight with each other. Mukna is a highly popular and prestigious game. In the olden days, the game enjoyed royal patronage.
Kang: Played on the mud floor of a big out house fixed targets hit with “Kang” which is a flat and oblong instrument made of either ivory or lac. Normally each team has 7 male partners. The game is also played as a mixed doubles contest. Played strictly during the period between ‘Cheiraoba’ (Manipuri New Year’s day) and the Rath Yatra festival. Manipuri religiously adhere to its time-frame as popular belief holds that if the game is played beyond its given limit, evil spirits invadebthe mind of players and spectators.

Thang-Ta & Sarit Sarat:- These are the forms of Manipuri Martial Arts, the traditions of which had been passed down over the centuries. They are energy-consuming and skill demanding atrs of fighting. The indigenous martial art-forms were meant to hone one’s battle-craft during peace times in the olden days when Manipuri wasa warrior required to serve his country at War-times. A martial-artist has to undergo strenuous pratice sessions. Only the brave and the athletic could excel. The art, as seen today, observes elaborate rituals and rules, which are strictly followed by the participants.
           Besides, these are other game like Lamjel(foot-race), Mangjong (broadjump) etc.

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Room-79, Ministrial Block, Imphal - 795001, Manipur, India