The Festival of Heikru Hitongba is an annual Festival held in the state of Manipur. The festival is always celebrated on the canal in Bijoy Govinda area on eleventh Langban. This festival has a multidimensional significance as apart from being a source of fun and entertainment it also has an associated religious significance to it.
Heikru Hitongba is largely a boat race festival, with the boat race being the most important part and ingredient of the Festival. The race is closely related to the Govindajee Temple. The deities from the temple and the palace are made to supervise the race. The festival is hugely awaited by the localites of the area and is celebrated with great pride and fervor.
The festival is a single day event with the main event being the boat race. Narrow boats are used for this purpose. These boats are able to accommodate a large number of rowers. Not any person wanting to participate can do so, as it requires expertise in rowing the boat. The canal in Bijoy Govinda area is 16 metre wide canal and witnesses maddening rush during the festival time.
The race normally involves teams with huge number of participants, with each team trying to put their level best to win the competition and get good news for their communities. One very famous and widely followed ritual involves installing the idol of Lord Vishnu who is then supposed to preside over the race and smooth running of the festival. The Brahmins give offerings of gold and silver before the presiding deities and idols. Overall the atmosphere is extremely spirited and charged with positivity. All participants and spectators enjoy the race fully and cheer with full gusto.
Time of celebration:
The festival of Heikru Hitongba is celebrated every year in the month of September, ideal to enjoy the boat race.