Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba

An 18th century Meitei Manipuri literary work based on the 4th century adventurous love story of a royal couple of Ancient Keke Moirang kingdom

Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba is a Meitei language literary work of the first half of the eighteenth century AD. It is one of the rarest instances of the conjugal love set in the region of Ancient Moirang kingdom.[1][2][3] The first page of the text mentions that the book was written during the period of King Garib Niwaj (Pamheiba) of Medieval Manipur. The story reflects the then society of Ancient Moirang.[1] It is, in a sense, the reverse of the Nongban Pombi Luwaoba (Nungpan Ponpi Luwaopa).

Thangwai Koting Ahanpa (Thangwai Koding Ahanba) (337 AD-387 AD) was the ruler of Ancient Moirang and Leima Thamoilembi (Thamoilengpi), his queen. For sometime, the latter felt quite happy as she was with child, but suffered a shock as it disappeared through a natural abortion. However, Salailen (Soraren), the God of Heaven, sent the child back to her womb with the instruction that he should be born to the Queen as her son, but should not live long with her to attain the age of any rite of passage. Five months went by. Salailen (Soraren) appeared in her dream and told her that the child she was carrying was His own and that when born he should not be brought up on any propane food or drink. After she was delivered of the child, the God again appeared in her dream, reminded her of His relation with the child and expressed His desire to call him "Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba".[1] Then the boy grew up and soon attained the grace and vigor of a youth. As human memory, by nature, is short, his parents had completely forgotten the divine dictates. Meanwhile, Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba, one day, chanced to see Sunulembi, the daughter of Thongnang Loikemba (of Cachari origin) and was instantly head over heels in love with her. Through a formal engagement, the two were married in a grand manner. But God's will is irrevocable and the young man had overstepped what was set for him. So, Salailen came in person and reminded during his sleep of what was enjoined on his parents. While awake, Sunulembi, his lady found him in tears enquired whether he had any secret love. At last, he came out with what to take place within five days and the same was conveyed in the early morning to his parents, friends and relatives. On the appointed day, Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba, prinked up in his best clothes with the help of his wife, and was now prepared for the heavenly journey. But Sunulembi, his lady too offered herself to keep her husband company to the land of the leal. None could restrain her and leaving all the near and dear ones thrown into an abyss of sorrow, the young couple ascended towards the sky, the progress of which was being watched by all on the ground with bated breath and by shading the eyes with their palms.[1]

Soon afterwards, they were on the threshold of another sphere which was under deep waters of flood. The gate of heaven was thrown open and the guard posted there instantly prepared a bridge to which only the husband was granted entry. But on the earnest insistence of Sunulembi, both were allowed to cross. They went up to another hemisphere where their passage was blocked by a swarm of snakes. This time, on the request of her husband to the poisonous creatures, Sunulembi was allowed to proceed. On reaching the precincts of Salailen's abode, they were forbidden access as no couple could lead a worldly life in heaven. At last, the all-powerful God directed Sunulembi to return to earth and feed the man only with heavily victuals. But Sunulembi resisted it with all her might and with eyes bathed with tears, kept her husband tightly held in her arms. She also threatened of ending her life there from thirst and starvation. Hearing this, Salailen was flummoxed and immediately sent a ferocious wild boar as big as a bull to cause harm to the bewailing woman. But Sunulembi was the least awed by it and unflinchingly was ready to die the painful death. Next, a dreadful tiger was sent on her which too could not terrify her. Thirdly, she could easily withstand the surging waves of a devastating flood. Fourthly, the scorching flames of a wild fire left her untouched. Lastly, the god engaged a hill kite to snatch her away, which too miserably failed.[1]

At long last, being moved her irrepressible spirit and devoted love, the God gave her husband back and over and above that the sceptre of the kingdom of Ancient Moirang was bestowed on Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba with a blessing of long and plentiful reign with his wife. As they descended straight alive and with radiant joy from heaven in broad daylight, the people of the kingdom were taken by surprise. But they were overjoyed at seeing the couple and instantly made Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba (387 AD-447 AD) the king.[1]



Presently, Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba is also venerated as a serpentine dragon deity in Meitei mythology and religion.[4][5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Devi, Nunglekpam Premi (2018-04-14). A Glimpse of Manipuri Literary Works. FSP Media Publications.
  2. Singh, Lamabam Damodar (2000). L. Kamal Singh. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-0856-8.
  3. Ahluwalia, B. K. (1984). Social Change in Manipur. Cultural Publishing House.
  4. Bihari Singh, Huirem (2012). Chothe Thangwai Pakhangba.
  5. Yuhlung, Charles C. (2017). "The Identity of Pakhangpa: The Mytical Dragon – Python God of Chothe of Manipur". Asian Man (The) - an International Journal. 11 (1): 1. doi:10.5958/0975-6884.2017.00001.9.

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