Sunday, December 4, 2022

Arts and Architecture


Shri Govindajee Temple of Old Palace Kangla 

The temple is situated in the old Kangla palace area, now occupied by the Assam Rifles. It was built during the time of king Narasingh in 1847 AD. As a result of the earthquake of March 1868 the structure collapsed. It was then reconstructed by king Chandra Kirti Singh in 1869 AD. At present  the Pakhangba, the deity connected with the royal family clan of Ningthauja is worshipped in this temple.

It is built in bricks and is on a raised pedestal. It is two celled, facing east. The facade carries a Verandah with a sturdy system of pillars which support the beam of brick-made cornice. Above the cornice is the first railing  just above the Verandah having mini-shrines, salas on each of the corner. The outer jacket wall on all sides is raised up to the cornice and the second railing having mini-shrines, salas one each, at the corner and two arch door openings in the railing connect the Verandah and pradakshna path terrace. The sanctum cube wall is raised right up to the cornice and then the third railings is made, which is the replica of the first and second railings. It also contain salas one each at the corner. From the base of the railings starts the dome, the arches of which converge at the base of the rectangular flat corner on the top.

The sanctum hall is rectangular. There are three holes in the hall floor which are believed to be the caves. The hole on the northern side is called the Laung cave, on the southern side is called the Mangang cave and that on the southern side of western wall is called the Khuman cave. It is believed that the deity appears through these caves. The pradakshna path is on all three sides of south, west and north, between the sanctum cube wall and the outer jacket wall and opens to the Verandah through north and south doors. Architecturally it shows parabolic structure of the dome in Bengal style and the Salas are in atypical Hindu style. The temple has a rectangular base and on the top it culminates with a rectangular crown over the dome. The railing decoration is in Islamic style. It can be considered as an amalgamation of Hindu and Islamic archetypes. The artistic designs are available as floral motifs on the walls which are now worn out. The temple is the  monumental  evidence of the royal patronage of Vaishnav temple in Manipur.