Ukhrul Distt :: Ukhrul District, the land of the colourful Tangkhuls was marked out first a a Sub-Division in 1919 during the British Raj. Then in November 1969 it was upgraded to a full-fledged district, bearing the nomenclature of Manipur East District. The area of the district was 8,200 Sq.Km. according to the CSI Publication 1976. Later Tengnoupal District, now called Chandel District was carved out from this district on 15th July, 1983 and the area of the then Manipur East District was sliced down to 4,544 Sq.Km. and the title of the district was changed into Ukhrul District in 1983. Ukhrul is the District HQ. which, now, is extended down to Hundung.
TOPOGRAPHY :: Ukhrul District is bounded by Myanmar in the East, Chandel District in the South, Imphal East and Senapati Districts in the West and Nagaland State in the North. The terrain of the district is hilly with a varying heights of 913 m to 3114 m (MSL). The district HQ. Ukhrul is linked with Imphal, the state capital by a NH 150about 84 Km. By ordinary passenger bus it takes about 3 hours.The climate of the district is of temperate nature with a minimum and maximum degrees of 3 C to 33 C. The average annual rainfall is 1,763.7 mm (1991). The exact location of the district in the globe is 24N - 25.41 N and 94 E - 94.47 E. The rainy season in the district is from May to beginning of October broadly but Winter is chilly.The highest peak is the Khayang peak-3114 m (MSL), though the more popularly know peak is the Shirui Kashung Peak - 2,835 m (MSL). Ukhrul, the District HQ, is 2,020 m (MSL). Most of the major rivers originate from the crevices and slopes of this Shirui Peak.The terrain of the district is rippled with small ranges and striped by few rivers. 1. Somrah - Angkoching range, striped by Sanalok and Namba Lok; Shangshak - Phungyar range adjacent to which is the Shokvao - Mapithel - Kasom range striped by Tuyungbi and Taret Lok in the middle and Thoubal river in the West and Kachai - Hoome - Tampak Ngashan (Mahadev) range, striped by the tributaries of Thoubal river n Eastern side and Iril River in the Western side.
ADMINISTRATIVE SET-UP :: Ukhrul District was first marked out as a Sub-Division in 1919 by the then British-India. Later it was upgraded to a District in the year 1969 by the Govt. of India. The District now has 5(five) Sub-Divisions which are co-terminus with the 5(five) Development Blocks. In addition to these administrative units the District has 4(four) Sub-Deputy Collectors Offices.
ECONOMY :: Till about the middle of the 20th century the business transactions of the people were almost nil albeit occasional market days on festival days, but that too was on barter system and within the limit of the village only. We can, therefore, say that there was no commendable trade and commerce. Some stray animal ,salt,handloom materials, pottery products, wood and bamboo craft works, balcksmithy etc. were there, even as we still them today. But till then, the people could maintain and afford to meet their requirements for their day to day subsistences and livelihood. This way, one can conclude that they were self-reliant and self-sufficient. But with the advent of modern civilization, they were suddenly exposed to capitalistic trend of fierce market competitions and urbanization. Their limited sources of income and resources could not meet both ends and sooner they were reduced to a people living below poverty line. Even to this day, they have yet to pick-up with the trends of modern economy.The main sources of income of the people can be broadly divided into 5 (five) divisions: Agriculture, Industries, Forest Wealth, Riverine wealth and animal husbandry (primitive method).
PEOPLE :: Tangkhul Nagas constitute the major bulk of the population. Others are some small percentage of Kukis, Nepalese and other Non-tribals. The Tangkhuls are fair in complexion and more akin to the Mongolians in facial appearance and stature.
The population of the district is 1,09,275 (1991 Census) with a population density of 24 per Sq. Km. the male to female ratio is 1000 : 878 with a decennial growth rate of 32 %. The total population of the district constitutes 6.02 % of the total population of the state , spread over about 230 villages. Literacy percentage is 62.54 (1996).
RELIGION :: The Tangkhul Religion, known to some as Hao Religion, is a monotheistic religion with a little blend of animism and they worship with reverential owe the “KAZING NGALEI KASA AKHAVA” - The God, creator of Heaven and Earth. To this God, they have different titles of addressed like “VARIVARA” “KAZINGWUNG” NGALEIWUNG” “LUIPHILAVA” KASHONGWUNG” “ONGSORWO” ETC. CORRESPONDING TO THE THEME AND OBJECT/PLACE OF ACTIVITIES. The reason why the people could not address the God directly is that the “HE” was so great that it was incomprehensible to the mind of the ancestors. Hence, they are monotheists with a slight mingling of pantheism. This religious background makes them receptive to Christian Faith, and hence its ready acceptance.This district is the birthplace of Christianity and Western education in Manipur State, brought as early as 1896 by a Baptist Massionery called Rev. Pettigrew. The district, now, has one college after his name, the William Pettigrew College at Somsai, Ukhrul. Now, almost 99 % of the population have embraced Christianity. The main Christian sects are: Baptist Church, Catholic Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Church of Christ etc. There are also some small groups of Hindus, Muslims, and others from among those who come from outside.
ART AND CULTURE :: The life and art of the Tangkhul are attractive and captivating. Their different costumes and wears, utensils,architecture, monumental erections and memorial set-ups depict their dexterity in art, which also speak of their sense of beauty and finesse. Though there are common costumes and wears, both for male and female, there are also some costumes and wears exclusively meant for male and female.MUSIC & DANCESTangkhuls are music lovers and their songs are soft and melodious. Apart from encoding into the music the varied seasonal and cultural ideas and philosophies, music is a medium wherein historical events are also related in the lyrics. In as much as religious fervor is incorporated and composed in the songs, the romantic nature of the people also finds its expressions in the music. There are various varieties of songs, some are mood special, some are festival/seasonal specials. These folksongs and folklores can be taught and sang by anybody , anytime, but there are also some specific musical expressive melodies of every region or area.These folksongs and folklores can be played or accompanied by musical instruments. Some of the musical instruments are: 1. Tingteila (Violin), 2. Tala (Trumpet), 3. Phung (Drum), 4. Mazo (Woman’s mouth-piece), 5. Sipa (Flute), 6. Kaha Ngashingkhon (Bamboo pipe) etc.Corresponding to the rhythmic composition of the songs, the dances of the Tangkhuls are also rhythmic and these are eventful and vigorous. Thrilling as they are, there are also some special occasional dances, like the Kathi Mahon - dance for the dead, Laa Khanganui - virgin dance during Luira Festival, Rain Pheichak - war Dance etc.
The ancestors were agriculturists and the year cycle festivals are associated with the year-round seasonal agricultural activities. All these festivals associated with sacred religious rituals and there were strict codes of conduct for all these feasts. The major year cycle festivals are :
LUIRA :: The seed sowing festival which falls around the month s of January to March. This feast is celebrated with great fervor at Longpi and Hundung. Longpi, befitting their generosity, entertain their guests with lavish eats and drinks, whilest in Hundung one can see the maiden virgin dance performance.
YARRA :: This is ante-cultivation festival and it falls around the months of April and May. Thought it celebrated by all, it is a youth festival.
MANGKHAP :: post-trans-plantation festival. This festival falls around the month of July. During this festival the people pray for luxurious growth the crops after thanksgiving prayer for the timely rain.
DARREO :: This is a pre-harvest festival. Dharreo means the plucking of the new crop. On this day the first crops, fishes, live-stocks and other items are brought out for sale in the village market. It is fete day for the village. This day specially observed in Hundung village.
CHUMPHA :: This is a festival of thanksgiving for rich harvest, now gathered in the granary. The mother performs special offerings to the God of harvest and the keeper of the granary. While the mother performs her rituals all males are not allowed to enter the house, hence they outside the house for the nightbut with lavish supplies of eats and drinks. Because of the nature of its celebration, it is sometimes known as the Feast of the mother or the Feast of the granary. It falls around the months November and December.
LONGRA KHAMANG :: This festival is not general in nature but the family which had a rich harvest celebrates this festival inviting the group of the son’s or daughter’s party who had worked in groups rotation-wise. This is a festival for giving special treatments to the sons and daughters.
THISHAM :: Thisham is a festival in commemoration of the dead. It is on this occasion that the dance of the Dead is performed. This is the final rite performed by the family for the dead. It falls around the month of January.
FLORA AND FAUNA :: Ukhrul District is best introduced by its beautiful Shirui Lily, Lilium Mackleanae Sealy, grown only on the peak of Shirui Kashung, some 18 Km. East of the district HQ. Ukhrul. This world famous Shirui Lily, which belongs to the lilium family was discovered by Frank Kingdon Ward in 1946 when he came to Manipur Hills for botanical collection on behalf of the New York Botanical Garden. The rareness and the uniqueness of this Lily is that, it has seven colours when examined through a microscope. Later, Frank won the prestigious prize of the Royal Horticulture Society Award, Landon in 1948. This Lily plant is 2ft. to 3ft. tall, consisting of a hard stem around which lanceolate leaves are spirally arranged.Shirui Lily was declared the State Flower in 1989 on March 21. Native to Tangkhul Hills and grown only on Shirui Peak, it is endemic to the region and considered as the most fabulous wealth of the Tangkhuls.The District is gifted with rich flora and fauna. There are hundreds of varieties of trees , barderian flowering plants, orchids of enumerable hues and kinds, Epiphetic ferns, varied species of plants and shrubs. Some of the known species of plants and trees are : Alder (Alnus nepalensis), Prunus cirosirdes, Symingtonia, Acacia auriculifornis, Parkia javanica, Paraserrianthes falcotaria, Michelia oblanga, Cmilina arborea, pinus kerya, robinea psedudoacacia, besides various iris species, wild roses, red and white rhododendrons etc.This tropical forest is also the habitat of many valued species of birds and animals. Many threatened species like, the tragopan blythii, pangolin (ant eater), salamander, tiger, porcubine, hooting monkey, leopard, big-small and medium size black bears, elephant, wild buffalo, wild boars, deers and stags, wild goats and many unidentified species are found in this region. Birds of various colours and sizes are also found here including some migratory birds.An area of 100 Sq. Km. around Shirui Peak has been declared as the National Park in 1998 by the Government of Manipur.
Some of the important species of fish are :: Golden Mhaseer (Tore Putitora) locally known as Ngara, Snow trout (schizothorax), locally know as khainguila, Barilius guteltus, locally called ngapaila, Mastcembelus, locally known as chipang, Botia species, locally known as masengla, Naemecheilus species, locally known as hangkorkhai,Chana species, locally known as khaiva, Pontius species, locally known as khaiwonla and khaipukla, Esomus species, locally know as wonsangla, Gara species, cyprinio semiplotus, glyptothorax plailigopanoide, botisdorio, xenden cacila etc.
UKHRUL DISTRICT AT A GLANCE
Area :: 4544 sq. km.
A. (i) Total - 1,09,275
(ii) Male - 56,997
(iii) Female - 51,278
(iv) ST - 1,01,878
(v) SC - 221
(vi) Others - 7,178
(vii) Literacy rate - 62.54%(approx.)
(viii) Density - 24 per sq. km.
(ix) Growth rate - 32 Decennial
B. Sub :: Division wise population distribution
(ii)Ukhrul - 61,444
(iii)Phungyar - 10,830
Altitude :: 913 m - 3114m (MSL)
Temperature :: 3 Degrees Celsius to 33 degrees celsius
Rainfall :: 1600 mm to 2100mm
Location :: 24 N to 25.41 N, 94 E to 94.47 E
TOURIST SPOTS PLACES TO VISIT
1. Shirui Kashung ( Shiroi Peak ), the floral garden of Shirui Lily.
2. Khankhui Cave
3. Hundung Mangva Cave.
4. Dilily Water Fall near Khayang Phungtha.
5. Azoa Jenephiu Magi Lake near Kachouphung.
6. Cold Water Fishery Project near zero point Phangrei, Shirui.
7. Saline Springs at Rajai Kl. And Kn., Marem,Maramphung, Kalhang, Luireishimphung.
8. Longpi Pottery at Longpi.
9. Khayang Peak
10. Chingjui Matza.
11. Phangrei Picnic Spot
12. Nillai Tea Estate on the way to Tolloi
13. MATA Industrial Complex, Lungpha
(iv) Kamjong - 12,124
(v) Kasom khullen - 6,341