(Last Updated on : 07/01/2011)
Kang Shanaba is an indigenous Manipuri game played on the day between Manipur's New Year's Day and the Ratha Jatra festival. People in the region believe that gods played Kang and goddesses not long after earth came into existence. Kang means a circular object and throwing it is known as Kang Shanaba. Earlier, Kang was the seed of a creeper, which was later replaced by an object made of lac. According to the people of Manipur, Kang is symbolic of the ' Field of Life '. The game is played with seven players representing one side reminiscent of the seven days of the week. Then, the chekphei and lamtha kangkhul are 15 per side and the two teams together represent the 30 days of a month.
The first chekphei signifies darkness and the second chekphei a day. As and when the play begins, he lamtha has to be thrown by each player in his own area (kangkhul) and in the right direction. Once the kang crosses the last boundary, it means the boundary of life has been crossed. And the player responsible for this is considered dead (shiba). The game is played on a rectangular court, which has an outer and inner line - 42 ft in length & 16 1/2 ft in breadth. Outer line is called lamtha kangkhul has 7 target points whereas the inner line, called chekphei kangkhul, has 8. Kang is played over 4 1/2 hours plus a break of 5 mins. At the end of 2 hrs and 15 mins, the teams interchange sides.
Each player has his individual kang. Players cannot use others kangs, exception is granted if referee decides so. In chekphei, player throws from standing position and in lamtha from sitting position to hit the target. In lamtha, if a player hits the target, he can throw again. This is called Marak Changba. Points are scored when the kangkhul (target point) is hit by two chekpheis and one lamtha continuously. Depending upon the number of throws and the frequency of the players hitting the target, the score is measured and the player with the maximum hits is declared the winner.