Heikru Hidongba of Manipur
Heikru Hidongba is the traditional boat race festival celebrated in Manipur. The festival has a great heritage and celebrated with a ritualistic approach. Heikru Hidongba usually falls in the month of September.
Heikru Hidongba is a festival of religious and cultural importance. The main highlight of the festival is the boat race in which two long narrow boats are used to race at Thangapat in Sagolband Bijoy Gobinda. The boats are operated by rowers and each boat has a leader or captain called the ‘Tengmai Lappa’. As a religious ritual, the race commences after offering prayers and installing the idol of Lord Vishnu. Heikru or gooseberry is offered to the lord.
Intoduced in the year of 1779, the Heikru Hidongba has been a festive celebration of great cultural and religious significance where prayers and rituals are performed for prosperity and sanctity. The race is an amazing sight as crowds stand and cheer on the banks of the moat, Thangapat.
Photo credit: Mongyamba