by Dr. Venugopal Menon


This state in north-eastern India has about 3 million inhabitants, including the Meitei, Meitei Pangals, Naga tribes, Kuki/Zo tribes, and other communities. Manipur connects India to Central and Southeast Asia, China, Siberia, and such cultures, practicing a variety of religions, has an agrarian economy, and is home to the famous Manipuri dance. The secular theater is mostly confined to non-religious themes, Shumang Lila and Phampak Lila being the popular themes, performed in the center of the arena on a simple stage.




This is a five-day festival in the spring (February-March), starting on a full moon day. It is an indigenous tradition of the Meitei people. Considered the most important festival in Manipur, it has some similarities to Holi, another festival with stress on colors. The event starts after sunset, the children visiting homes asking for money (like Halloween), bands playing kirtans in temples, people splashing water at each other and sports competitions organized.