presents a mosaic of traditions and cultural patterns. Particularly,
it is world famous for the Manipuri style of classical dance, very
much distinct from other Indian dance forms. The Manipuri school of
dancing whether folk, classical or modern, is devotional in nature.
The rich culture and tradition of Manipur is also depicted in its
handloom clothes and handicrafts. The Manipuri handloom and handicraft
are world famous for its craftsmanship as well as ingenuity, colourful,
colourfulness and usefulness.
Khamba Thoibi Dance:
Khamba Thoibi dance is a duet of male and female partners, a dance of
dedication to the sylvan deity, Thangjing of Moirang. Khamba and
Thoibi are actually two mythological characters who
have become immortal in Manipuri folklore. This, with the "Maibi"
dance (Priestess dance) , the "Leima Jagoi" etc. form the "Laiharaoba"
dance. The "Laiharaoba" dance , in many ways, is the fountainhead of
the modern Manipuri dance form.This dance is a part and parcel of
Moirang Lai-Haraoba. It is believed that the legendary hero - Khamba
and heroine - Thoibi danced together before the Lord Thangjing, a
celebrated deity of Moirang for peace and prosperity of the land.
Pung or Manipuri Mridanga is the soul of Manipuri Sankritana music and
Classical Manipuri Dance. It assumes an important ritual character, an
indispensable part of all social and devotional ceremonies in Manipur,
- the instrument itself becoming an object of veneration. Pung Cholom
is performed as an invocatory number preceding the Sankirtana and Ras
Lila. It is a highly refined classical dance number characterised by
the modulation of sound from a soft whisper to a thunderous climax.
There is the interplay of intricate rhythms and cross rhythms with
varying markings of time from the slow to the quick with graceful and
vigorous body movements leading to ecstatic heights.
During the festival of Lai-Haraoba which is an annual ritual festival
of the Meiteis, the inhabitants of the valley of Manipur, the Maibis,
the priestesses considered to be spritural mediums, trace through
their dances the whole concept of cosmogony of the Meitei people and
describe their way of life. Beginning with the process of creation,
they show the construction of houses and various occupations of the
people to sustain themselves. It is a kind of re-living of the way of
life of the past.
The Ras Leela, the epitome of Manipuri classical dance is inter-woven
through the celestial and eternal love of Radha and Krishna as has
been described in the Hindu scriptures and reveals the sublime and
transcendental love of Krishna and Radha and the Gopies' devotion to
the Lord. It is generally performed in an enclosure in front of the
temple throughout the night and watched with a deep sense of devotion.
Ras performances are seasonal and varied and performed at the temple
of Shree Shree Govindajee in Imphal on the nights of Basanta Purnima,
Sarada Purnima and Kartik Purnima and at local temples later. As to
the composition, the performance is a combination of solo, duet and
group dances. This highly stylised form of dance has sublimity,
subtlety and grace. The richness of the costumes gives lustre to
the beauty of the art.