Kangla Fort – A Historical Gem of Manipur.
Kangla Fort, also known as the Palace of Kangla, is a magnificent historic fortification situated on the banks of the Imphal River in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur in Northeast India. The fort has been witness to many historical events, cultural traditions, and legends that date back to the 15th century. Kangla Fort is an essential part of Manipur’s cultural heritage and has played a crucial role in shaping the region’s history. This article aims to delve into the history, architecture, and significance of Kangla Fort.
History of Kangla Fort:
Kangla Fort was built in the 15th century by King Khagemba of the Meitei dynasty, who ruled Manipur from 1597 to 1652 AD. The fort served as the royal palace of the Meitei kings and was the political and cultural center of Manipur for many centuries. Kangla Fort witnessed many significant events, including battles, coronations, and royal ceremonies.
In the early 18th century, Kangla Fort was destroyed by the Burmese invaders, who looted and plundered the fort’s wealth and treasures. Later, the British colonial rulers took control of Manipur and made Kangla Fort their headquarters, which continued until India’s independence in 1947.
In 2004, Kangla Fort was handed over to the people of Manipur, and the state government undertook extensive restoration and renovation work to preserve the fort’s heritage and cultural legacy.
Architecture and Design:
Kangla Fort is a perfect example of ancient Meitei architecture and design. The fort covers an area of 35 acres and comprises many historic buildings, temples, and royal residences. The fort is surrounded by a moat, and the main entrance is through a massive gate called “Kangla Sha,” which leads to the central courtyard.
Inside the fort, visitors can see the remnants of the royal palace, the Durbar Hall, the coronation hall, and the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Hindu goddess Sanamahi. The fort’s architecture reflects the rich cultural heritage of Manipur, with its intricate carvings, colorful paintings, and traditional motifs.
Significance of Kangla Fort:
Kangla Fort is more than just a historic site. It holds immense cultural and emotional significance for the people of Manipur, who regard it as a symbol of their identity and pride. The fort is an essential part of Manipuri folklore and legends, and many stories and myths are associated with it.
The fort has played a significant role in shaping Manipur’s history and culture, from being the seat of the Meitei kings to the site of many battles and conflicts. It is a testament to Manipur’s resilience and determination to preserve its heritage and traditions.
Facts about Kangla Fort
11 Facts about kangla fort-
 Historical background of Kangla Fort:
Kangla Fort has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 1st century AD. According to legends, the fort was built by Lord Pakhangba, the first king of Manipur. The fort has been the center of power for the Meitei rulers for over 2000 years.
 Location of Kangla Fort:
Kangla Fort is situated on the banks of the Imphal River in the heart of Imphal city. The fort covers an area of 283 acres and is surrounded by a moat. It is located about 8 kilometers away from the Imphal International Airport.
 Construction of Kangla Fort:
The fort has been constructed over a period of centuries and has undergone several renovations and expansions. The fort is a beautiful example of traditional Meitei architecture, which is a unique blend of Hindu and Buddhist styles.
 Significance of Kangla Fort:
Kangla Fort is a symbol of Manipur’s rich cultural heritage and is considered to be the holiest place in the state. It was the seat of power for the Meitei rulers and witnessed many important events, including the coronation of kings and the signing of treaties.
 The layout of Kangla Fort:
The fort is divided into three parts: the Inner Fort, the Outer Fort, and the Moat.
a. The Inner Fort:- The Inner Fort is the most important part of the fort and was the seat of power for the Meitei rulers. It houses several temples, shrines, and royal palaces. The Inner Fort is surrounded by a wall and has four entrances, each guarded by a lion.
b. The Outer Fort:- The Outer Fort was built during the British period and surrounds the Inner Fort. It has several barracks and buildings that were used by the British army.
c. The Moat:- The fort is surrounded by a moat that is 11 meters wide and 2 meters deep. The moat was filled with water from the Imphal River and was used to protect the fort from invaders.
 The architecture of Kangla Fort
The fort is a beautiful example of traditional Meitei architecture and has several unique features.
a. Kangla Sha:- Kangla Sha is a gatehouse that was built during the reign of King Garib Niwaz in the 18th century. It is decorated with intricate carvings and has a beautiful archway.
b. Temples and Shrines
c. Stone Bridges:- The fort has several stone bridges that connect the different parts of the fort. These bridges are decorated with carvings and sculptures and are a beautiful example of traditional Meitei architecture.
d. Tera Shang:- Tera Shang is a beautiful temple located inside the Inner Fort. It is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is considered to be one of the oldest temples in Manipur.
 Kangla Fort during the British Raj:
During the British Raj, Kangla Fort was used as a military base by the British army. Several buildings were constructed in the Outer Fort to accommodate the soldiers.
 The restoration of Kangla Fort:
In the 21st century, the government of Manipur undertook a massive restoration project to restore the fort to its former glory. The project involved repairing the walls, renovating the temples, and restoring the stone bridges.
 Festivals and Events at Kangla Fort:
Kangla Fort is the site of several festivals and events throughout the year. The most important festival is the Yaoshang Festival, which is celebrated in March. Other festivals celebrated at Kangla Fort include the Lai Haraoba Festival, the Kang Chingba Festival, and the Cheiraoba Festival.
 Visitors information for Kangla Fort:
If you are planning to visit Kangla Fort, here is some important information that you should know:
a. Entry fee:- There is an entry fee of Rs. 20 per person for Indian nationals and Rs. 200 per person for foreign nationals.
b. Timings:- The fort is open to visitors from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day except Monday.
c. Accessibility:- The fort is easily accessible by road and is located about 8 kilometers away from the Imphal International Airport.
 Places to visit near Kangla Fort:
If you are visiting Kangla Fort, there are several other places nearby that you can visit, including the Imphal War Cemetery, the Manipur State Museum, and the Khwairamband Bazar.
Kangla Fort is a symbol of Manipur’s rich cultural heritage and is an important tourist attraction in India. Its beautiful architecture and fascinating history make it a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Manipur. Kangla Fort is a treasure trove of history, culture, and art that showcases the best of Manipur.
Q1. What is the historical significance of Kangla Fort?
Answer- Kangla Fort has a long and fascinating history dating back to the 1st century AD. It was the seat of power for the Meitei rulers and has witnessed many important events, including the coronation of kings and the signing of treaties.
Q2. What is the entry fee for Kangla Fort?
Answer- The entry fee for Kangla Fort is Rs. 20 per person for Indian nationals and Rs. 200 per person for foreign nationals.
Q3. What are the timings for Kangla Fort?
Answer- Kangla Fort is open to visitors from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day except Monday.
Q4. What are some other places to visit near Kangla Fort?
Answer- Some other places to visit near Kangla Fort include the Imphal War Cemetery, the Manipur State Museum, and the Khwairamband Bazar.
Q5. Can Kangla Fort be accessed by road?
Answer- Yes, Kangla Fort is easily accessible by road and is located about 8 kilometers away from the Imphal International Airport.
Q6. What is the best time to visit Kangla Fort?
Answer- The best time to visit Kangla Fort is from October to March when the weather is pleasant and comfortable.
Q7. What are the entry fees for Kangla Fort?
Answer- The entry fees for Kangla Fort are INR 20 for Indian visitors and INR 200 for foreign visitors.
Q8. Can visitors take photographs inside the fort?
Answer- Yes, visitors can take photographs inside the fort, but photography is prohibited in some areas.
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