BEST MOMENTS AT SHREE SHREE GOVINDAJEE TEMPLE

Yes, I have been eagerly waiting to share you about my favourite temple in Manipur- “The Shree Shree Govindajee Mandir”.  I have already mentioned in my earlier post, that I was brought up at Assam and had no much idea of the important sites in Manipur. But ever since I came here I gradually began storing good moments with some of the important places here. Among the best holy sites in Manipur, the “Shree Shree Govindajee Temple” is my best. And there are many reasons why I love the temple. I really love spending times inside the Temple, apart from the worshipping games.

So every time I visit the Temple, I always insist my mom to hold on and watch the beauty of the temple. I do not know but somehow, I feel so calm inside the temple, as if the place is a tension free zone. Right from the beginning when I leave my shoes near the main gate and enter the wonderful temple with my bare foot, I feel something, yes something I can’t even expressed myself. All I know is the marble floored pavements, stings me with immense pleasure leading my feet towards the main front view of the temple. And once I touch the temple and bow myself in front of the Gods, I say, it’s a tremendous joy in heart when you speak to God. So, every time I visit on the way to the temple side, because I have some friends nearby, I make up my mind unconditionally to visit the temple and anyhow spare times inside. It is not like every-time I prepare all the stuffs, ready myself, carry the flowers bowl and dress in white to worship the temple. The temple not only is a place of worship but it has the healing power to heal your stress with the calmness and the enchanting tunes of the birds chirping on the temple trees. Yes, it’s beautiful indeed. And you must definitely make some of your good moments there at the temple.

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Shree Shree Govindajee Temple (Front View)

Well, let me now, in brief write about the history and features of Shree Shree Govindajee Temple. The Shree Govindajee Temple is considered as the largest Hindu temple in Imphal city in Manipur. It is also regarded as a temple for the Vaisnavites. The temple is located about a kilometre from the main city Imphal, at Palace Compound. It is commonly known by the name “Konung” meaning the ‘Palace’. The temple was built originally in 1846 by Maharaja Nara Singh and then it was rebuilt by “Maharaja Chandrakirti” in 1876.

The temple has a large welcoming gate with tall pillars, about a metre or two away from the main temple. Designed in simple gold plated domes, the temple gives a magnificent look with the white coloured ‘paved court’ and a ‘Mantapa’(congregation hall). So, the chamber of the temple called as the “sanctum” has three separate doors, where resides the different idols. The central chamber consists of the main deity of Govindaji-the incarnation of “Lord Krishna” and his consort “Radha”. On the other two sides the idols of “Balabhadra” and “Krishna” are installed on the adjoining southern chamber and “Lord Jaganath”, “Subhadra” and “Balaabhadra” on the northern side. There are also other mini statues within the main idols in the chamber. The front view of the sanctum is usually curtained and the doors closed. The images are made of ‘special woods’ and ‘plaster of Paris’. The idols are worshipped during the arati times in morning and evening hours by the priests after opening the curtains with ringing of the large temple bell. The bell is actually fixed differently a little further from the chamber.

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The daily worshipping practise is performed in a ritualistic manner and is also attended by devotees, dressed in white dhoti or Pyjama (male) and white Inaphi, Salwar-Kameez, Sarees, Pungou Phanek and white shawls (females). The devotees also carry flowers and other stuffs like fruits and agarbatis to the deities in a brass plate. Several mantras and holy music’s are played or sung by the permanent priests residing in the temple. Usually the devotees, both men and women line up separately to worship their shares. Though the temple was managed by the former kings, it is now under the management of the “Temple Board” comprised of the priest community and some important people of the city.

The daily worshipping practise is performed in a ritualistic manner and is also attended by devotees, dressed in white dhoti or Pyjama (male) and white Inaphi, Salwar-Kameez, Sarees, Pungou Phanek and white shawls (females). The devotees also carry flowers and other stuffs like fruits and agarbatis to the deities in a brass plate. Several mantras and holy music’s are played or sung by the permanent priests residing in the temple. Usually the devotees, both men and women line up separately to worship their shares. Though the temple was managed by the former kings, it is now under the management of the “Temple Board” comprised of the priest community and some important people of the city.

The temple wears a very charming look with different monuments inside. It is built in an idyllic location with a mini garden comprising of tall trees along the boundary. The temple entrance faces the east and is built over a square plan on a high platform like a residence for the royal people. The sanctorum or the main worshipping temple is surrounded by a large passage, with the congregation hall or the ‘Mantapa’ just in front of the sanctum. There is a white flag which is hoisted above the gold plated domes of the temple. There is also a small pond inside which is considered holy and many devotees offer flowers and even purify themselves by touching the holy water with their hands.

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The Mantapa
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Inside the Mantapa

The congregation hall or the ‘Mantapa’ is built for performing the dance and other holy activities. The sitting arrangements are also built within the ‘Mantapa’ on its eastern and the southern sides to accommodate the many devotees who come to witness the cultural and the religious programs held in the ‘Mantapa’. The hall is designed beautifully with flower prints carved in the external walls. It has been recently renovated with marbled floorings with sophisticated designs.

As the temple is dedicated to ‘Shree Govindajee’, most of the devotees are Hindus. However, different people of varied religion come and participate during the various festivals held in the temple. Manipur has a numerous festivals marking the important events of the ethnic communities. Some of the festivals celebrated in the temple are:

RATH YATRA: The “Rath Yatra” or the “Car Festival” or the “Chariot Festival” is one of the most significant festivals for the Hindu Community. It is organised by the “Shree Shree GovindajeeTemple Board” in Manipur. It is organised for 10 days by dedicating to ‘Lord Jaganatha’ when he leaves his temple in a chariot with his sister ‘Subhadra’ and brother  ‘Balabhadra’.  The chariots are pulled over by many devotees along the streets and road sides. One important thing to note out is no other ‘Raths’ at other parts of the state are pulled over until the ‘Rath’ at the Govindajee temple is wheeled on.

SANSENBA (Gosta Astami): It is also performed every year in the temple court yard-  ‘Konung Lampak’. It is a traditional and customary paly-dance enacted by kids depicting the life of Lord Krishna in his younger days, playing around with demons and also the stealing of milk.

RAS LEELA: And, the ‘Govindajee Temple’ is also an important venue for performing the famous Manipuru dance  “Ras Leela”. It is organised on the night of ‘Basanta Purnima’ and ‘Kartika Purnima’. The Ras Leela – a classical dance based on the love story of ‘Lord Krishna’ and ‘Radha’ and devotion of the ‘Gopis’ to the Krishna, super heads other performances in the city.

YAOSHANG: During the festival of ‘yaoshang’ or ‘holy’, several devotees performed holy pala (song), dance and other activities in the temple campus or the ‘mantapa’.

JANMASTHAMI: It marks the birthday of Lord Krishna and the festival is celebrated with merry makings in the temple attended by many devotees. At midnight after 12 o’ clock, there is a grand feast as a symbol of happiness after the birth of Lord Krishna.

The temple is also under renovation since 2012. The ground of the temple is now floored with tiles which are even more fascinating. What is even more beautiful is the reflected view of the “Mantapa” or the congregation hall on the surface of the tiled floors. The new main entrance gate is also under construction towards the south eastern side of the temple. And yes, the temple also has a “Kei” for cooking and storing the food stuffs. During other times the temple offers food to the idols and then a grand feast which is actually organised on account of the concerned families on their request.

So, finally what I suggest is just go and visit the beautiful temple. You will feel a change. Just touch the clean and holy water there and carry some exciting moments from the temple. And yes, do wish something by going around the chamber for five or seven times which I never forget to do. It’s an amazing feeling ever. Moments to cherish yourself at the ‘Govindajee Temple’.

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