religious or philosophical tradition of Meetei origin

Sanamahism or Sanamahi religion (Meitei: ꯁꯅꯥꯃꯍꯤ ꯂꯥꯏꯅꯤꯡ), also known as Kangleism (Kanglei religion) or Lainingthouism (Lainingthou religion) or Meitei religion or Meetei religion or ancient Manipuri religion, is an ancient ancestor worshipping religion. It is the indigenous religion of the Meitei people and the tribal people of Manipur.[2][3] It is a polytheistic religion. In Sanamahism, thousands of Gods are worshipped in several pantheons.[4][5] It is a pre-Vaishnavite faith of the Meiteis[6] and the pre-Hinduism religion of Manipur.[7] This minority religion is a legally as well as socially recognized religion.[8]

Sanamahism (ꯁꯅꯥꯃꯍꯤꯖꯝ)
The Symbol of Sanamahism (Source: Wakoklon Heelel Thilen Salai Amailon Pukok Puya)
The Symbol of Sanamahism (Source: Wakoklon Heelel Thilen Salai Amailon Pukok Puya)
Total population
approx. 235,000[1]
Regions with significant populations
Manipur, Assam and Tripura in India
PuYa (Manipuri)
Classical Meitei

Sanamahism is a 3800 years old religion and has its roots mainly in Southeast Asia. During its revivalism process, Sanamahism has some conflicts with Hinduism.[9]



The term Sanamahism is derived from the word Sanamahi, who is an important deity in the religion.[2]



  1. 2001 Census
  2. 2.0 2.1 Devy, G. N.; Davis, Geoffrey V.; Chakravarty, K. K. (2015-08-12). Knowing Differently: The Challenge of the Indigenous. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-317-32568-0.
  3. "Sanamahism, the pre-Hindu religion of Manipur". Archived from the original on 2021-10-27. Retrieved 2022-03-22.
  4. Bertil Lintner (2015). Great Game East: India, China, and the Struggle for Asia's Most Volatile Frontier. Yale University Press. p. 113. ISBN 978-0-300-19567-5.
  5. "The Revivalism of Sanamahism". Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  6. McDuie-Ra, Duncan (2012). Northeast Migrants in Delhi: Race, Refuge and Retail. Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 978-90-8964-422-0.
  7. Rastogi, Priyanka (2019-05-13). Early Sunrise, Early Sunset: Tales of a Solo Woman Traveler Across North East and East India. Partridge Publishing. ISBN 978-1-5437-0523-2.
  8. Devi, Nunglekpam Premi (2018-04-14). A Glimpse of Manipuri Literary Works. FSP Media Publications.
  9. Calaway, Bernie L. (2019-10-22). History and Mystery: The Complete Eschatological Encyclopedia of Prophecy, Apocalypticism, Mythos, and Worldwide Dynamic Theology Vol 5. ISBN 978-1-387-73779-6.