Khongjom War Memorial – A central place in the history of Manipur

Khongjom War Memorial

Khongjom War Memorial is the living history of war Against British Empire by the erstwhile Kingdom of Manipur and a reminder of bravery to each and every Manipur. It is located in the Kheba Ching in Khongjom which is a part of Thoubal District in Manipur. Today, we will read all the details about the Khongjom War Memorial, its history, current status, development, social impact to all the Manipuris. Please read this article till the end and comment your ideas and thoughts in the comment section.

What led to Khongjom War?

There are many detailed accounts on how the Anglo-Manipuri war erupted in the 19th century. For some it is a question of why only on 19th century. The truth is that since the British colonization of India, Manipur is always under political influence of British Empire. Since, Manipur is a small Kingdom and all the sides were under British rule, there was nothing much Manipur can do to either attack or defend against the British. Both parties knew this and British had no real intention of waging a war to bring Manipur under her empire.

The Anglo-Manipur war was started as a result of royal infighting for the throne. The resulted in the formal request of British to help by one side. During this some British soldiers were killed and a formal war was declared against the Kingdom of Manipur. A more detail account of these events can be found from London Gazette in here and here.

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It is during this war, the battle of Khongjom played a crucial role. The battle of Khongjom is the last battle against the British Empire during the Anglo-Manipuri war. Major Paona Brajabashi was the head of the Manipur troop stationed in Khongjom and his army was surrounded by the three sides.

When is Khongjom Day celebrated and why?

Till this day this battle is remembered as the Khongjom Lan Ningsing Numit on 23th April every year to show the respects to those who sacrificed fighting for the Manipuris during the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891. This also serves as a symbol of bravery, fighting spirit of Manipuris.

I have written a post about why the Northeast India is famous for. You can check other famous places and reason by following the article here.

Three heroes of Manipur who died at Khongjom battle

Many nameless heroes sacrificed their lives to preserve the independence of Manipur against the mighty British. Three heroes of Manipur who died at the khongjom battle are Major Paona Brajabasi, Chinglen Sana, Khumbong Major, etc. To name a few others: Loitongba Jamadar, Keisa Jamadar, Heirang Khongja, and many more rank and files of Manipuri warriors sacrificed their lives at this battlefield.

Where is Khongjom War Memorial Located?

The Khongjom War Memorial is located in the Kheba Ching at Khongjom, Thoubal District of Manipur. The Khongjom is the name of the area where the battle took place. The kheba Ching is the area where Major Paona Brajabashi sacrificed his life for the Kingdom of Manipur.

It is located at a distance of 36.8 km from the capital city Imphal and approximately 35-55 minute drive. You can expect a longer drive time if you are using the public transport.

How to reach Khongjom War Memorial?

You can opt for two choices – private and public transport. For private, it is expensive like 10-15 times than that of the public option. But if you are traveling in the pool, then the private option might offer you flexibility and affordability. You can book private taxis from various local services. (If you own one of such services do let me know). Once booked, tell the driver to go to Khongjom war memorial and s/he will drive up to it. If you are booking a taxi for the return journey also, then you will need to pay a parking fee of about Rs. 10 (~$0.13) when you reach the base of the hill. Please note that you might not be able to book a private taxi from Khongjom for a return journey to Imphal or they will charge a ridiculous amount of money. Don’t think they are ripping you off for being outsiders or foreigners. It is just the way it is.

Now, if you are going for public or shared transportation, you have to go to the parking area of this particular route. The parking area is called the Kangla mamang or the GM hall mamang. There you will find a lot of Tata Magic and see the banner in the front of the Tata Magics and search for these places – Khongjom, Langlathel, Kakching, Tekcham. Any of these vehicles will drop at the Khongjom war memorial. Once you find the vehicle, just ask the driver to drop you at the Khongjom war memorial and they will tell you once you reach the Khongjom war memorial.

What can you do in Khongjom War Memorial as a tourist?

Despite enjoying the greenery and pleasant atmosphere at the Khongjom War Memorial, you can pay tribute and respect to those who died in the war. As a tourist, the place is very peaceful and you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Khongjom region. In the west, you can see Wangjing, east you can see Khongjom town, in the south, you can see Sapam, Samram, Tekcham, Khongjom villages. You can enjoy plenty of paddy fields, brick farms, and full of natural beauties.

Once you reach the top and you are an adventurous person, you can search for fruits on the hill. You can find fruits according to time but don’t expect them to be very abundant. I said if you are adventurous. Don’t get too comfy because locals might think you are destroying the plants.

There are many small local vendors there, you can always buy the local snacks. You can ask them for – Singju, Bora, Paknam, etc. You will find these snacks everywhere in Manipur but the taste is different for different places.

Development of Khongjom War Memorial Complex

Previously, the Khongjom War Memorial Complex was just a simple place with two buildings and a shrine on the top of Kheba Ching or Kheba hill. Ching means hill in Manipur. From the last several years, the development is going on to a new modern tourist spot. Check out the image below to see the difference.

What used to be on the top of Kheba Ching at the Khongjom War Memorial Complex. Photo credit: E-pao.
Khongjom War Memorial
Present shrine at the top of the Khongjom War Memorial Complex.

Check out a long view as seen from the National Highway Number 2.

People paying tribute to martyrs in the Khongjom War Memorial.

You can watch an aerial view of the Khongjom War Memorial Complex below video.

As I heard it, the development is quite not yet complete. By the time it is completed, it will take facilities like boats to wander around the lake, small restaurants, coffee points, and other entertainment areas.

What you need to know before going to Khongjom War Memorial?

If you know the general precautions of Manipur then you are safe. However, I will list some points that you should know particularly before going to Khongjom War Memorial below

  • The Assam Rifles Camp is just on the next hill that you can see with big buildings. So, you might want to be careful of your drones going too far in the wrong direction.
  • Make sure you know about your transportation as by 5 pm in winter or 5:30 pm in summer, you will hardly find any shared vehicle going to Imphal.
  • Don’t disrespect any monuments. Manipuris don’t take any disrespect lightly especially when it is of historical significance.
  • Bring a guide as s/he may explain the things in a more proper manner.

What I don’t like about Khongjom War Memorial?

Personally, I like almost everything in the Khongjom War Memorial but there are certain things I would like to point out to the frequent tourists. You may take the following criticisms with a salty taste.

  • PLEASE! PLEASE! Do not write Tomba + Chaoba, Ibomcha loves Ibemcha on the beautiful walls of the place. This is so bad and please keep your love story between you two. If you want much publicity, then there is Facebook, google, youtube, you can always record a video or click a photo and upload it at any time you want. But, I have to honest with you, even Paris can not get rid of this problem. In the famous lock bridges in Paris, many people write their couple names as you can see below. So, we can beat Paris at this by simply not writing your love names on the wall.
    The best thing we can do is to start a rumor that those who wrote their couple love names on the Khongjom War Memorial tends to break up later. I think this will stop people from writing their lover’s name on the wall.
  • Please, do not litter the plastics in and around the place. Throw them in the dustbin. If you can’t find them, put them in a large carry-bin and throw to a dustbin when available.
  • Please repair the road near the main entrance and exit towards the NH2.
  • There seem to be no proper maintenance of the water fountains and other things. So, if possible please maintain it properly.

If you have anything other than I have listed above, please comment down below and I will add in the list.

What are other nearby famous tourist spots near Khongjom War Memorial?

As we all know that Manipur is full of famous tourist places, you can bet that within a 10 km range you can always find a famous tourist place. Some of the famous tourist places near Khongjom War Memorial are: Kakching garden in Kakching, Langol View, etc. I have shared the details about the Langol View in my other blog posts here where I have written about how to reach, when is the best time to go to Langol Peak, precautions to be taken, etc. You can find the article here.

If you want to know more details about Manipur, you can follow this link here where everything is about Manipur.

Have you traveled to Khongjom war memorial? Do you want your photo posted here in this post with proper credit? Or do you want to share your experience? Send me all of it in the contact email.

I hope you will find this helpful and wish you have a wonderful time visiting Manipur and Khongjom war memorial. See you in next post.

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