Kalum Kai (House of worship) : Its origin and significance

Dr Budha Kamei
A place of worship is a specially designed structure where individual persons or a group of people such as a congregation come to perform acts of devotion, veneration or religious study. A building used for this purpose is sometimes called a house of worship. Temples, Mosques, Churches, etc. are examples of structures created for worship. A monastery of Buddhists may serve both to house for those belonging to religious orders and as a place of worship for visitors. Joshua J Mark wrote, “A temple is a structure usually built for the purpose of, and always dedicated to, religious or spiritual activities including prayer, meditation, sacrifice and worship. The word temple dates to around the 6th century BCE in reference to Roman places of worship. Usually, Roman temples faced east or towards the rising sun, though a notable exception is the great pantheon which faces north (only preserved after the rise of Christianity because it was made into a Church instead of being destroyed and built over, which was the fate of most ‘native’ temples). In ancient Rome, only the deities of the Roman pantheon had a templum; any building honoring a foreign deity was called a fanum. Visitors to Rome were welcomed to worship at the fanum of their native Gods but were required to worship the Gods of Rome in the temples. After the rise of Christianity the word ‘temple’, with its native connotations, was rejected by most Christian congregations in favor of designations such as ‘Church’ or ‘Cathedral’, though the word is still used by the Eastern Orthodox Church to refer to their places of worship.” In 447-432 BC, the Parthenon was built in Athens, Greece for the Goddess Athena; and remained devoted to her cult for nearly a thousand years, later on serving as a Christian Church and then as an Islamic Mosque under the Ottoman Empire.
Kalum Kai literally means house of worship of Tingkao Ragwang (Supreme God); (Kalum means worship and Kai, house). It was not a feature of Kabui (Rongmei) culture to have a structure for worship/religious purpose except abodes of deities. It was during the time of Haipou Jadonang temple culture appeared in Kabui (Rongmei) society. He built two temples in his village, Kambiron with the assistance of his followers. It was possibly done by him at the influence of other religions but he claimed that it was revealed in his dream. He said, “I built temples because Lord Bisnu told me in a dream that there would be prosperity and good health for every one if I do so, although it is not our custom to build temples.” The first temple was built in 1929 and the second temple was six months before his arrest in the year 1931. These temples are known as Kao Kai, high house; (Kao means high and Kai, house).
 “Next to the house of Jadonang was a temple built on high wooden piles, and entered by steps out in a long log. The temple was a building of bamboo matting, thatched, with a small verandah in front and behind.
(To be contd)