Revisiting Phungcham Shimreishang And Maitonphi
By Tenno Pheiray
The cherry trees were in full bloom, the melodic sound of cuckoos echoed through out the green and lofty hills, it’s spring season. A time for romance for the new and old lovers.
Long time ago, in a village called Phungcham, Shimreishang was visiting his beloved Maitonphi who was weaving clothes and house sitting. Her parents were away attending the field.
Shimreishang: Aton, let us spend the whole day together. This is a precious day for us.
Maitonphi: Ameishang, if only you want to, let us, the whole day is for us.
They spend the day making “Hansho” a bread made from sticky rice and sesame. They exchanged pleasantaries and smiles stealing glances and parted only at dusk. Shimreishang was known for his good physique and looks and so was Maitonphi. They were much talked about in their village and neighbouring villages. But more well known and talked about was their love story. A love story that is heard far and wide.
Shimreishang and Maitonphi were forbidden to marry owing to their different social status. Shimreishang belonged to a family of higher social status whereas Maitonphi was from an ordinary family. Due to difference in social status, Maitonphi was secretly married off to Pansa of Halang village in haste. They continued to meet even after Maitonphi’s marriage.
Maitonphi died from illness, which broke Shimreishang’s heart. He pined for his early death so that he can be with Maitonphi at ‘Kazeiram’ (hades). He died soon after. To assuage their sorrow, the families of the two lovers hired a shaman to perform rituals for their lives at hades. They were told by the shaman that they were married and happily living in the land of hades.
The real love story and life of Shimreishang from Zimik clan and the beautiful Maitonphi from Longleng clan of Phungcham, was first published in 1974 and it was written by former chairman of Board of Secondary Education Manipur (BOSEM), P. R. Yangkahao when he was serving as principal of Pettigrew College, Ukhrul. To this day, their love story is told again and again and it has inspired many writers and musicians.
As a tribute to their love, a love that is beautiful, yet so tragic, Shimreishang and Maitonphi Park at Tenglon was dedicated to tourists and visitors on 11 May 2018. Just 45 minute drive from Ukhrul Headquarter lies the Shimreishang and Maitonphi Park. Today, it has become an ideal picnic spot for locals and tourists. Yangreiram Beautification Society has constructed two kitchen and a hall for the visitors. The vast space available for camping is a great attraction especially for nature and adventure lovers. The scenic view is also an ideal spot for those interested in photography where they can capture beautiful moments.
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