Ching-Thang Khomba

Ching-Thang Khomba
King of Manipur
Ching-Thang Khomba 2000 stamp of India.jpg
King of Manipur
1763 – 1798
Coronation7th Sajibu, 1759
SuccessorLabeinya Chandra
Born13th Poinu 1748
Janmasthan Moirangkhom, Imphal
Murshidabad, West Bengal
SpouseAkham Chanu Bhanumati
IssueLabeinya Chandra
Chinglen Nongdrenkhomba
HouseHouse of Karta
DynastyNingthouja dynasty
FatherShyamjai Khurailakpa
MotherWahengbam Chanu Chakha Loikhombi
Kingdom of Manipur
Part of History of Manipur
Kings of Manipur
Ching-Thang Khomba1769–1798
Maduchandra Singh1801–1806
Chourjit Singh1806–1812
Marjit Singh1812–1819
Gambhir Singh1825–1834
Raja Nara Singh1844–1850
Debindro Singh1850
Chandrakirti Singh1850–1886
Raja Surchandra1886–1890
Kulachandra Singh1890–1891
Churachandra Singh1891–1941
Bodhchandra Singh1941–1949
Manipur monarchy data
Ningthouja dynasty (Royal family)
Pakhangba (Symbol of the kingdom)
Cheitharol Kumbaba (Royal chronicle)
Imphal (Capital of the kingdom)
Kangla Palace (Royal residence)

Ningthou Ching-Thang Khomba (also Rajarshi Bhagya Chandra, Jai Singh Maharaja) (1748–1799) was a Meitei monarch of the 18th century CE. The inventor of the Ras Lila dance, he is a legendary figure in Manipur,[1] and much of his actions as King had been mythologized. He is also credited with spreading Vaishnavism in Manipur State after his grandfather Pamheiba made Hinduism the official religion and for creating a unified Manipur.[2]

Early years

Maharaja Bhagya Chandra ascended to the throne of Manipur in 1759, a few years after the death of his grandfather Pamheiba and his father Samjai Khurai-Lakpa at the hands of his uncle Chitsai.[3] In 1762, Manipur was attacked by the Burmese, assisted by the Chitsai. He, along with the Rani and a few loyal attendants fled to Ahom (modern-day Assam), where they lived under the protection of the Ahom ruler, Rajeswar Singha.

Life in Assam

Bhagya Chandra’s crafty uncle wrote a letter to the Ahom king Rajeswar Singha saying that the person taking refuge at his court was not the true Bhagya Chandra. The uncle advised Rajeswar Singha to get rid of him. King Rajeswar Singha was somewhat persuaded by this letter and began treating Bhagya Chandra with suspicion.[4]

In Meitei legends, the real Bhagya Chandra was said to have supernatural powers. To see whether the usurper was correct, King Rajeswar Singha designed a test at the behest of his court. In a public arena, Bhagya Chandra, while unarmed, was to catch and tame a wild elephant.

First epiphany

Confronted with insurmountable odds, King Bhagyachandra prayed to Lord Govinda (Krishna) for guidance. Govinda appeared to him in a dream and instructed him to enter the arena donning a garland while holding japa beads. At the end of the instructions, Govinda assured him of victory.[4]

The dream also stated that Bhagya Chandra would be the sole king of Manipur. Upon regaining the kingdom, he should install a Krishna murti. The Deity, Govinda, should be carved from a certain old jackfruit tree growing on the slopes of Kaina hill.

After installing the Deity, Govinda said the king should arrange for the performance of a Rasa-Lila, in which Krishna would be worshipped with song and dance. Bhagya Chandra also received in this vision a complete plan on how to execute the Ras Lila.[4]

The test of power

Bhagya Chandra entered the arena, donning the garland and japa he was instructed to in the vision. In the ensuing fight, the spectators noted that the elephant seemed to recoil as if struck by a ghost. King Bhagya Chandra said that he saw "Lord Krishna as the mahout".[4]

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