Thursday, February 9, 2023

Arts and Architecture


Shri Govindjee temple of New Palace 

This is the main temple of Manipur. It enshrines the royal deity Shri Govindjee. The temple is situated near the present palace. It was built by king Churachand. The royal deities were shifted from the old Govindjee temple of Kangla palace to this temple on its completion. The surroundings are very suitable for the site of temple. There is a beautiful Vatica (the temple garden), a lake and a big ground with lofty trees in the periphery.

The temple structure has been constructed in a palatial form raised on a square and on sufficiently high pedestal. It is the most magnificent and biggest temple of Manipur. In front, it has the portico. It can be considered two celled type, the internal sanctum and the outer jacket with pradakshna path. The internal cell is partitioned by two septica walls. The outer cube and the portico cube are constructed in the form of massive pillars raised at intervals in the arcade system. Above the arch, the walls goes up to the cornice. Above the cornice is the first railing covering the terrace above the circumambulatory path. The first railing is having mini-shrines called salas, one each at the corners. There is no other superstructure over the portico roof after the first railing. The sanctum cube are raised up the terrace of the first railing, right up to the cornice, then the second railing which surrounds the two domes. Externally the sanctum wall does not show any partition but internally the partition walls divide it in to three chambers. Then the two multi-arched domes are raised fro the cornice level /the arches of each dome converge at the base of the crown. The crown carries the Amalika-sila and then the kalasa with long pinnacle with the temple flag. Both the dome surfaces from above are covered with gold plate sheets. The facade is to the east.

The main deity of Govindjee with his consort is placed in the central chamber. Jagannath, Subhadra and Balarama  in the northern chamber and Balarama and Krishna in the southern chamber. The chambers are nicely spick and span. The front arcades are provided with curtains. The temple is in Nagra style of Hindu temples. The architectural maturity and richness is reflected through the temple structure.

The idol of Lord Govindjee and his consort are made of the special wood and from the left out wood were made the idols of Jagannath, Subhadra and Balarama. The idols are decorated  with Muktas on special occasions. Krishna and Balarama idols are made pf plaster and given charming combination of colours. The temple is the centre of religious activities of Manipur. It is now controlled by committee in which some important  priests and persons of the town are members. The morning are punctually performed in strict discipline and in ritualistic manner. A music party is permanently engaged to perform music during the prayers. Several special festivals are celebrated in this temple with particular display of Manipuri dances. This temple maintain the social order in Manipur valley.