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Manipur's History


       The earliest references to 'Manipur' date back to the ancient era of Mahabharata, in which several characters, such as Chitrāngadā, Ulupi, Babruvahana, and Iravan, are Manipuri’s. Chitrāngadā (चित्रांगदा) is one of Arjuna's wives. Arjuna traveled the length and breadth of India during his term of exile. His wanderings took him to ancient Manipur in the eastern Himalayas, an almost mystic kingdom renowned for its natural beauty. There, he met Chitrāngadā, the daughter of the king of Manipur, and was moved to seek her hand in marriage. Her father demurred on the plea that, according to the matrilineal customs of his people, the children born of Chitrāngadā were heir to Manipur; he could not allow his heirs to be taken away from Manipur by their father. Arjuna agreed to the stipulation that he would take away neither his wife Chitrāngadā nor any children borne by her from Manipur and wed the princess on this premise. A son, whom they named Babruvahana, was soon born to the couple. Babruvahana would succeed his grandfather as king of Manipur. Babruvahana (or Babhruvahana) is one of the sons of Arjuna, begotten through Chitrangada, the princess of Manipur, during the period of his exile at Manipur.Babruvahana was adopted as the son of his maternal grandfather, and reigned at Manipur as his successor. He dwelt there in a palace of great splendor, surrounded with wealth and signs of power. When Arjuna went to Manipur with the horse intended for the Aswamedha, there was a quarrel between Arjuna and King Babhruvahana, and the latter killed his father with an arrow. Repenting of his deed, he determined to kill himself, but he obtained from his stepmother, the Naga princess Uloopi, a gem which restored Arjuna to life. He returned with his father to Hastinapura. This was on account of a curse by the Vasus, on account of Arjuna's killing Bhishma (who is an incarnation of one of the Vasus) during the Mahabharata war.

Documented history begins with the reign of King Pakhangba when the seven clans of the Manipuri society were unified. The introduction of Vaishnavism brought about a significant change in the history of Manipur. British rule ended the independent status of the Kingdom which was the last kingdom to be capsized by British India. Modern day Manipur is a state of the Republic of India.


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