Nungthel Leima

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Nungthel Leima
Goddess of the First Citizen
Member of Lairembis
NUNGTHEL LEIMA.jpg
"Nungthel Leima", the Ancient Meitei name of the goddess, written in archaic Meetei Mayek abugida
Other names
AffiliationMeitei mythology (Manipuri mythology) and Meitei religion (Sanamahism)
TextsPuYas
GenderFemale
RegionAncient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur)
Ethnic groupMeitei ethnicity
FestivalsLai Haraoba
Personal information
ConsortLoyalakpa (alias Tollomkhomba or Tollongkhomba)
Parents

Nungthel Leima is a goddess in Meitei mythology and religion. She is an adopted daughter of God Koupalu (Koubru) and Goddess Kounu.[1] She is a wife of God Loyalakpa.[2][3] She is regarded as the deity of the Khunjahanba.[4] She is one of the incarnations of Leimarel Sidabi.

Etymology[change | change source]

The name "Thoudu Nungthel Leima" (ꯊꯧꯗꯨ ꯅꯨꯡꯊꯦꯜ ꯂꯩꯃ, /tʰəu.du núŋ.tʰel lə́i.ma/) or "Thoudu Nungthen Leima" (ꯊꯧꯗꯨ ꯅꯨꯡꯊꯦꯟ ꯂꯩꯃ, /tʰəu.du núŋ.tʰen lə́i.ma/) is made up of three Meitei language words, "Thoudu Nung" (ꯊꯧꯗꯨ ꯅꯨꯡ, /tʰəu.du núŋ/), "Thel" (ꯊꯦꯜ, /tʰel/) or "Then" (ꯊꯦꯟ, /tʰen/) and "Leima" (ꯂꯩꯃ). In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Thoudu Nung" (ꯊꯧꯗꯨ ꯅꯨꯡ, /tʰəu.du núŋ/) means stone. This term is typically used in poems and verses.[5] In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Thel" (ꯊꯦꯜ, /tʰel/) or "Then" (ꯊꯦꯟ, /tʰen/) means "to display" or "to show".[6] In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Leima" (ꯂꯩꯃ, /lə́i.ma/) means queen. The word "Leima" (ꯂꯩꯃ, /lə́i.ma/) itself is made up of two words, "Lei" (ꯂꯩ, /lə́i/) and "Ma" (ꯃ, /ma/). "Lei" (ꯂꯩ, /lə́i/) means land and "Ma" (ꯃ, /ma/) means mother.[7]

Description[change | change source]

Goddess Thoudu Nungthel Leima is described as the deity of the Khunjahanba.[4] "Khunjahanba" means "the first villager" or "the first citizen of a place". In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "khunja" (ꯈꯨꯟꯖꯥ, /kʰun.ja/) means "a villager". Morphologically, "khunja" (ꯈꯨꯟꯖꯥ, /kʰun.ja/) is divided into "khun" (ꯈꯨꯟ, /kʰun/) and "-ja" (ꯖꯥ, /ja/). "Khun" (ꯈꯨꯟ, /kʰun/) means "village" and "-ja" (ꯖꯥ, /ja/) literally means "offspring".[8] In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Ahanba" (ꯑꯍꯥꯟꯕ, /ə.han.bə/) means "the first" or "the initial".[9]

Mythology[change | change source]

Birth, adoption and naming[change | change source]

Goddess Leimarel Sidabi incarnated herself as a little girl and laid herself on a stone slab in the riverbed. On the very day, God Koubru and Goddess Kounu were walking on a nearby place. God Koubru got very thirsty. So, he went down the riverside to drink water. He found the girl on the river bed. Koubru shouted three times asking if there was anyone for the baby girl. Since no one responded, Koubru and Kounu brought the girl to their divine home.[10] The girl was adopted as their own daughter. She was given three names. She was named "Ipok Leima" ("Eepok Leima") because she was found in the stream. She was also named "Thoudu Nungthel Leima" because she was found lying on the stone slab. She was given her final name as "Taipang Nganpi" ("Taibang Nganbi") because she was beautiful as well as bright.[11]

Husband and suitor[change | change source]

Nungthel Leima is married to God Loyalakpa. However, she was once admired by God Khoriphaba. Once Khoriphaba was offered a chance by God Koubru to choose any lady of his own desire from the latter's place. Unfortunately, Goddess Nungthel Leima was chosen by Khoriphaba. But since Nungthel Leima was already married, God Koubru could not give Khoriphaba the chosen lady. Koubru did not want to take back his own words. So, he asked Khoriphaba to choose a lady once again but he should do it blindfolded. Blindfolded Khoiriphaba tried to choose but could not get Goddess Nungthel Leima. This event is enacted by the maibis in the Lai Haraoba festival till present times.[12][1]

Festival[change | change source]

The sacred Lai Haraoba festival is annually celebrated in honor of goddess Thoudu Nungthel Leima, besides other deities.[4]

Cults and Pantheons[change | change source]

On the 19th of January, 2018, a newly built temple to Ema Nungthel Leima was opened at Top Siphai by Oinam Lukhoi, the then MLA of Wangoi Assembly Constituency. During the ceremony, Oinam Lukhoi made a proposal to Manipur State Government to re-develop the existing sacred temples in the Wangoi AC, including other temples of goddess Nungthel Leima.[13]

In popular culture[change | change source]

Nungthel Leima Tollomkhombada Thajaba is a book written by Naoroibam Khamba. It was released on the 17th of January, 2021.[14][15][16]

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Session, North East India History Association (1995). Proceedings of North East India History Association. The Association. p. 96.
  2. Session, North East India History Association (1982). Proceedings of the North East India History Association. The Association.
  3. Devi, Lairenlakpam Bino (2002). The Lois of Manipur: Andro, Khurkhul, Phayeng and Sekmai. Mittal Publications. p. 55. ISBN 978-81-7099-849-5.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Devi, Lairenlakpam Bino (2002). The Lois of Manipur: Andro, Khurkhul, Phayeng and Sekmai. Mittal Publications. p. 54. ISBN 978-81-7099-849-5.
  5. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Thoudu Nung". dsal.uchicago.edu.
  6. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.then". dsal.uchicago.edu.
  7. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Leima". dsal.uchicago.edu.
  8. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Khunja". dsal.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  9. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Ahanba". dsal.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2022-03-31.
  10. Neelabi, sairem (2006). Laiyingthou Lairemmasinggee Waree Seengbul (in Manipuri). p. 43.
  11. Neelabi, sairem (2006). Laiyingthou Lairemmasinggee Waree Seengbul (in Manipuri). p. 44.
  12. "Maibi's, Kanglei Thokpa / Lai Nupi Thiba. Trance Dance of Lai Haroaba". sevensistersmusic.com.
  13. "MLA Lukhoi bats for renovation of religious sites : 20th jan18 ~ E-Pao! Headlines". e-pao.net.
  14. "'Nungthel Leima Tollomkhombada Thajaba' released : 18th jan21 ~ E-Pao! Headlines". e-pao.net.
  15. "'Nungthel Leima Tollomkhombada Thajaba' to be released". www.thesangaiexpress.com.
  16. "'Nungthel Leima Tollomkhombada Thajaba' to be released : 15th jan21 ~ E-Pao! Headlines". e-pao.net.

Other websites[change | change source]