Fancy water-travel on Chandra-Nadi inside Manipur University: Potentials and scope

Prof I Tomba Singh
Chandra-Nadi is the name of the channel, constructed, developed during the reign of Rajashri Bhagyachandra during 1780-1798 AD at Langthabal (Canchipur) by joining the Leishang-Hiden with Mera-khong and Lilha-khong leading to the Nambul River.  It was used as river for some time with the diversion of a stream from Imphal river at Lilong. The arrangement was made for making the channel/river navigable for use in  transportation of goods from Wangoo, Sugnu area through Lilong and Moirang, Thanga area through Hiyangthang.
The proposal of introducing small Ferry/motor Boat service in Chandra-Nadi from Hijigang to Langthabal Konung and to Mantrikhong with the reconstruction of the channel, stairs, introduction of Ferry/motor boats and development of requisite infrastructure, ammenities. If implemented, fancy water travel to important units of the University, Museum,Centenary Hall, old palace and cultural sites like Ras-Mandal will be convenient for the young learners, aged persons, visitors apart from the employees and duellers in the Hostels and Staff quarters which will enhance the popularity of this University..
1.    Location:Manipur University
Manipur University came into existence on June 5, 1980 under a State Act  to the then Centre for Post Graduate Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. It became a Central University on Oct 13, 2005 under an Act of the Parliament. The characteristics of the location, historical events are described as follows:
(i)    The University is located in the historic Canchipur where Rajashri Bhagyachandra(1759-1762 AD and 1763-1798 AD) constructed his palace and ruled the kingdom for 18 years.By 1769 AD,Rajashri Bhagyachandra shifted at Lilong (Chajing) with the construction of temporary palace, took up various developmental activities- construction of Chajing Pukhri Achouba (big pond of Chajing), development of Chajing Lakpa Lai-haraobung (worshiping ground of local deity, ChajingLakpa),Chajing Kangjeibung (pologround of Chajing), apart from constructing water channels (Boat-routes) connecting the Nambul River through Lilha-khong canal and Lairam channel (boat-route ) connecting Lilha-khong canal to “Mamang Leikai Pat” ( small Lake at Chajing Mamang Leikai) for transportation of goods to and from Moirang, Thangaarea. Construction of the permanent palace at Lilong was hampered due the flood havoc affecting the area (under water), occurred during the period of Wangkhei Khulling to whom administrative responsibilities were assigned by Rajashri before leaving for war with the Burmese. Steps for constructing the palace, not to be affected by flood were initiated right from 1778 AD at Langthabal.
(ii)    During the reign of Rajashri Bhagyachandra at Canchipur, various development activities were taken up of which construction of Chandra-Nadi,installation and worshiping of deities of Bijay- Govionda, Govinda and others, construction of Ras-Mandal, introduction of the world famous Ras-Lilla, in the Ras-Mandal, organising Boat-races etc. were taken up promptly.
(iii)    Chandra-Nadi;It is the name of the channel connecting the Imphal River and the Nambul River constructed during the reign of the Rajashri Bhagyachandra on the recommendation of Chandramani Selungba (army Chief), known as Chandra + Nadi (river). The objective of constructing the channel and using it as river was to facilitate water transport, the most important transport means in those days. The river was used for transportation of goods from Wangoo and Sugnu area via Lilong and from Moirang, Thanga area via Hiyangthang.
(iv)    The Chandra-Nadiflows northward and therefore treated as holly-water or Tritha by the general people and that is the reason why Maharaja Gambhir Singh took bath
(Snaal) in this river so as to recover from diseases. It was through this River, the big tree Theibong Pambi was transported from Kainato the palace at Langthabal by water.
(v)    Later-on, the river provided artificial heavy flood in the low lying areas particularly in Moirang, Thanga areas and therefore compelled to close the river at Lilong.It is therefore, considered Lilongas Triveni, holly place with the juncture of three rivers –the Imphal River, the Iril River and the current-less legendary river the Chandra-Nadi.
(vi)    Chandra-Nadi includes the portions of Leishang Hiden, channels constructed between Merakhong and Lilhakhong canals. Other developmental activities include the construction of stockyards of boats (Boat ghats) at Hijigang and Langthabal Konung (palace).
(vii)    Leishang Hiden- Legendary history reveals that Chajing Lakpa preserved water by constructing anearthen dam (perhaps in 331AD)- where trapping of wild animals were performed on it. The earthen dam was initially termed as Langthak-pa later-on known as Langthabal. Lilong was named from the legendary history of hitting of Taobunai brother of Taothingmang by an arrow of Phunal-ningthou Telheiba and floated in bloodshed with face upward till it reach the juncture of two rivers, where medical treatment was given at Lilong Awabi. After a long gap of time, Lilong Awabi was renamed as Lilong Kawabi during the reign of Maharaja Chandrakriti.
(viii)    Boat races- Organising Boat-race in Leishang Hiden started during the reign of Meidingu (King) Khagemba(1597-1652 AD).During the reign of Rajashri Bhagyachandra, boat races were held from time to time of which the races between the Ningthoujasalai and Khumansalai, between Ingou (people from Wangoo, Sugnu area) and Imu (people from Moirang, Thanga area) in 1790 AD may be mentioned,
(ix)    Boat race among the tribal groups was held during the reign of Mahajaja Chourjitin 1810 AD.
(x)    Maharaja Gambhir Singhwith its capital at Langthabal reconstructed and developed Leishang Hiden using the prisoners of war and organised Boat-race among the four Pannasin 1827 AD.
(xi)    Many households were affected with flood occurred by damaging river bank of Leishang-Hiden in 1861 AD which is the clear evidence of having current in the Chandra-Nadi.
(xii)    Chandra Nadi portion inside Manipur University:The map indicating the portion of Chandra-Nadi inside Manipur University campus is shown in University map separately. It extends from Thongju(National Highway-102) on the northern side of the University boundary, straight southwards till it reach the old stockyard of boats (Boat Ghat) of Langthabal Konung and then towards the south-west direction to reach the inter-village road of Langthabal Mantrikhong.
2.    Scheme for water travel on Chandra Nadi
(i)    Development of the channel for preserving water to a certain level, reconstruction of Boat-ghats at Thongju and Langthabal Mantrikhong and Bhagyachandra /Central Boat Ghat(Stockyard of boats of Langthabal Konung) will be needed.
(ii)    At least 4 (four) Ferry / motor boats (small size to accommodate 15/20 persons) will be needed for operating fancy tour on water in Manipur University.
(iii)    Ticket counters at Thongju and Central port are to be installed, fitted with computers. To be contd