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The untold story of Koubru Mountain

by Rinku Khumukcham
0 comment 5 minutes read

By: Diphiu Prinmai 
The Indigenous Liangmai people were the first settlers on the Koubru Mountain. According to historical chronology, the Liangmai indigenous settlement on the Koubru Range after the Exodus of Makuiluangdi Charanam. The Liangmai people were the first to settle around the Koubru Mountain range. According to the indigenous Liangmai folktale, their patriarch, Mr. Nguiba, the king of Makuilongdi (the cradle of the Zeliangrong civilization) had two sons, the elder son born to his second wife and the younger son born to his first wife because of which there was a dispute as to who between his two sons should be made the rightful heir. As per this folklore, Nguiba sought the help of his brother, Makingh/Makieng who was settled at the foothills of Koubru to arbitrate the issue of the rightful heir between his sons. The descendants of Makingh/Makieng became known as Makimai, people of Makingh/Makieng who today are known as Meiteis in the valley. As legend says about two brothers; one who migrated to Valley and Liangmai remained on Koubru Mountain.
During those days Manipur valley was filled with water. In course of time water level decreased and the valley dried up. The first place which dried up was called Kangla (Dry land) and the younger brother (Meitei/Makieng) & his descendants migrated from Koubru mountain and began to settle down at Kangla. According to folktales, Kangla was the first area of settlement for Makieng (Meitei) and his descendants. Hence till today, the Liangmai call valley as Makidi, the land of Makingh/Makieng. Liangmai and the Meiteis still observed this bond of brotherhood known as Mera Houchongba/Mera Waayungba/Mera Thoumei Thaanba as a mark of remembrance which falls every year on the 15th lunar day of Mera Month of the Meitei calendar. 
History tells us that Lord Koubru had the power to breathe flames of fire before he came out his abode.Young children especially boys were restrained from coming out from their homes, fearing from being burnt by the flames breathed out by lord Koubru. There are many stories told about lord Koubru by every Liangmai village located around the Koubru Mountain. 
Many thousand years ago Lord Koubru had taken a maiden name Wimaranliu Abonmai D/O Charangambou Abonmai from Makhan village as his wife. Hence, the Makhan villagers used to invoke the blessings of Wimaranliu who had turned herself into a powerful deity. Wimaranliu is reverently known to the people of Sekmai as Ranu and every year during the Lai-Haraoba festival of Sekmai, phanek ( Mekhela) is offered as a ritual to Wimaranliu. A lady by the name of Ms Namsipiliu who passed away in 2011 at the age of 100, used to weave this special phanek (Mekhela).
Another interesting story of lord Koubru is that he used to come down to Makui village to play Kangdrum (the ball) Sagol kangjei (traditional hockey). Lord Koubru was said to be fascinated by the beauty of the place that he proposed to build a house for himself, but his request was turned down by the village elders of Makui on the ground that, since he had already married a woman from Makhan village it would be better for him to live on the peak of Koubru mountain so that he could watch every activity that took place both at his backyard and front yard from a vantage point, the present sacred site.  
The entire Koubru Mountain Range is important to the Liangmai people not only because of it being our ancestral land but also as our ancestors revered and worshipped the sacred Koubru as the abode of Koubo-Ra, the Lord of Koubru Mountain. The rich history, culture and legends of the indigenous Liangmai are inextricably connected with the Koubru Mountain.
There are over 33 age old original villages of the indigenous Liangmai surrounding the Koubru Mountain. The ancient indigenous Liangmai villages which surround the Koubru Mountain are still intact with clear and distinct boundaries with one another. There is still many monumental evidences to prove the settlement of our forefathers on the Koubru Mountain. The Liangmai villages settled around the Koubru Mountain have well defined and well demarcated village boundaries with one another clearly marked by permanent features such as hills, ridges, rivers, streams and other permanent landmarks. In the territories of Liangmai there is no vacant land or no man’s land; rather every land, rivers, streams, valleys, falls, hillocks, etc. are with names and every land has its owner except the community land.
It is foremost to mention that after the independence of India by means of their aggressive land grabbing policy they vigorously evicted the following Liangmai villages in and around Koubru Mountain Ranges.
The names of old settlements abandoned by Liangmais are now resettled by new communities. Some of the villages are: Puilong (then) – Chalwa (now), Kasanlong (then) – Gelnal (now), Nbumai (then) – Waichong (now), Nongmai (then)- Kotlen (now), Zailong (then) -Changoubung (now), Aling – Songtun Ganong (then) – Mouhing (now), pengjeng (then) – Haipi (now), Karalong (then) P. Moulding (now). At present, the kukis are inhabiting the places once settled by the Liangmais. The displaced people were later accommodated in various Liangmai villages.
It is worth mentioning that the newer communities settling in the Koubru mountain ranges are too aware that the Liangmais have always been the original inhabitants and their history, legal rights documents witness their old age Liangmai ancestral land.
(The Freelancer can be reach at [email protected])


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