Religion:Yumjao Leima

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Yumjao Leima
(Old Manipuri: Yumchao Leima)
All time reigning queen mother
Goddess of house, household, royalty, rule and power
Member of Lairembis
"Yumchao Leima", the Ancient Meitei (Old Manipuri) name of Goddess Yumjao Leima, written in archaic Meetei Mayek abugida
Other names
AffiliationMeitei mythology (Manipuri mythology) and Meitei religion (Sanamahism)
Major cult centerKangla and Sana Konung
RegionAncient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur)
Ethnic groupMeitei ethnicity
FestivalsLai Haraoba
Personal information
ChildrenAll the Meitei Kings (in spiritual sense)
Chinese equivalentQueen Mother of the West
EnglishYumjao Leima
Ancient Meiteiꯌꯨꯝꯆꯥꯎ ꯂꯩꯃ
(yoom-chau lei-ma)
Modern Meiteiꯌꯨꯝꯖꯥꯎ ꯂꯩꯃ
(yoom-jau lei-ma)
Assameseয়ুমজাও লৈমা / য়ুমজাউ লৈমা
(yoom-jao lei-ma)
Bengaliয়ুমজাও লৈমা / য়ুমজাউ লৈমা
(yoom-jao lei-ma)
Hindiयूमजाउ लैमा
(yoom-jau lei-ma)

Yumjao Leima (Old Manipuri: Yumchao Leima) or Yumjao Lairembi (Old Manipuri: Yumchao Lailempi) or Yumjao Lairemma (Old Manipuri: Yumchao Lailemma) is the mother goddess of house, household, royalty, rule and power in Meitei mythology and religion.[1][2][3][4] She is designated as the all time ruling Queen Mother.[5] Legend says she assumes a human form in white clothes and blesses kings.[6] She is one of the divine incarnations of Leimarel Sidabi.[7]


In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Yumjao" (Old Manipuri: Yumchao) means "large house" or "big house".[8][9][10] "Yumjao" (Old Manipuri: Yumchao) or "Yimjao" (Old Manipuri: Yimchao) may also refer to "Royal House". In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Leima" means "Queen".[3][11] In Meitei language (Manipuri language), "Lairembi" (Old Manipuri: Lailempi) means "goddess".[12] The Meitei language (Manipuri language) word "Lairemma" (Old Manipuri: Lailemma) is also another term for "goddess".[13]


An illustration of a temple dedicated to goddess Yumjao Leima (Old Manipuri: Yumchao Leima) built in Meitei architecture.

Meitei King Naothingkhong (c. 7th century) of Ancient Kangleipak (Antique Manipur) built a temple dedicated to goddess Yumjao Lairembi (Old Manipuri: Yumchao Lailempi).[14]


Goddess Yumjao Leima appears in a human form in white clothes to come to bless her son, the King of the kingdom.[6] Even during the death of a king, she came to the place in the form of a mortal being. She controls the life and the death of the kings. She is the chief of the household and the guidance of the kings.[5]

Relationship with the Queen Mother

According to beliefs, Goddess Yumjao Leima is the divine representation of the Queen Mother (Royal Mother) of the kingdom. All the powerful queen mothers were integrated into goddess Yumjao Leima after their death. Goddess Yumjao Leima herself was the all-time ruling Queen Mother. The most powerful person in a kingdom was always the Queen Mother - representation of Goddess Yumjao Leima. In ancient Kangleipak, cut off heads of the enemies from the war were offered to the goddess. The Meitei kings ruled the kingdom in the name of their Queen Mothers. Battles and wars were conducted in the name of the Queen Mothers.[3][5] One example is that of an event recorded in the Cheitharol Kumbaba:


Goddess Yumjao Leima is prayed for the longevity of life of the King. The final rites and rituals dedicated to Her are generally performed by the maibas.[1] Goddess Yumjao Lairemma (Old Manipuri: Yumchao Lailemma) is mainly worshipped by the Thaopicham family of Meitei ethnicity.[15] According to Meitei culture, the "Nongmai" class is in the middle position of the society of the maibis (priestesses). They used to take care of the cult of goddess Yumjao Lairembi.[16]

Maibis Latin transliterations (Romanisation) Hierarchy Salai Latin transliterations (Romanisation) Deities to be worshipped Latin transliterations (Romanisation)
ꯁꯪꯂꯦꯟ Shanglen Top position ꯃꯉꯥꯡ Mangang ꯄꯥꯈꯪꯕ Pakhangba
ꯅꯣꯡꯃꯥꯢ Nongmai Middle position ꯂꯨꯋꯥꯡ Luwang ꯌꯨꯝꯖꯥꯎ ꯂꯩꯃ Yumjao Leima
ꯐꯨꯔꯥ (ꯐꯨꯂꯥ) Phura (Phula) Lowest position ꯈꯨꯃꯟ Khuman ꯅꯣꯡꯁꯥꯕ Nongshaba


Temple of Yumjao Lairembi, Kangla

The "Temple of Yumjao Lairembi" inside the Kangla is at the left side of the Temple of Pakhangba. Structurally, both the temples are of the same architectural styles. The southern wall of the temple is well decorated. The remaining three walls of the temple are of little decorations. A door with the lancite arch is in the southern wall of the temple. Two false doors surround the two sides of the one real door. All the doors (real and false) are framed with pilasters. The ground plan of the temple is in square shape. Its area covered is 2.43 square meters.[17]

Ima Ibemma Yumjao Lairembi Shanglen

In October 2011, a temple named "Ima Ibemma Yumjao Lairembi Shanglen" was built in honor of goddess Yumjao Lairembi in Thangmeiband town in Imphal.[18]


  • A temple dedicated to Yumjao Lairembi of Arambam region is in Imphal West district in Manipur.[19]
  • "Yumjao Lairembi Temple" is in Meino Leirak, Sagolband, Imphal, Manipur.
  • "Thaoroijam Yumjao Lairembi Temple" is in Thaoroijam Mamang Leikai, Nambol, Manipur.


Yumjao Lairembi Dramatic and Cultural Union

The "Yumjao Lairembi Dramatic and Cultural Union" is a nonprofit dramatic union. It was established in Khagempali Huidrom Leikai, Imphal in the year 2011.[20][21][22]

Related pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 Muthukumaraswamy, M. D.; Kaushal, Molly (2004) (in en). Folklore, Public Sphere, and Civil Society. NFSC ISBN 978-81-901481-4-6. 
  2. Chaki-Sircar, Manjusri (1984) (in en). Feminism in a Traditional Society: Women of the Manipur Valley. Shakti Books. ISBN 978-0-7069-1967-7. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Birajit, Soibam (2014-12-01) (in en). Meeyamgi Kholao: Sprout of Consciousness. ARECOM ( Advanced Research Consortium, Manipur). pp. 135. 
  4. Rao, Nitya; Rürup, Luise (1997) (in en). A Just Right: Women's Ownership of Natural Resources and Livelihood Security. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. ISBN 978-81-7440-044-4. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Birajit, Soibam (2014-12-01) (in en). Meeyamgi Kholao: Sprout of Consciousness. ARECOM ( Advanced Research Consortium, Manipur). pp. 136. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 George, K. M. (1992) (in en). Modern Indian Literature, an Anthology: Plays and prose. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-7201-783-5. 
  7. Folk Culture of Manipur - Page 200 - Moirangthem Kirti Singh · 1993
  8. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Yumjao". 
  9. Brara, N. Vijaylakshmi (1998). Politics, society, and cosmology in India's North East. Internet Archive. Delhi ; New York : Oxford University Press. pp. 74. ISBN 978-0-19-564331-2. 
  10. Dance-rituals of Manipur, India: An Introduction to "Meitei ... - Page 50 - Louise Lightfoot · 1958
  11. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Leima". 
  12. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Lairembi". 
  13. Sharma, H. Surmangol (2006). "Learners' Manipuri-English dictionary.Lairemma". 
  14. Delhi, All India Radio (AIR), New (1968-03-17) (in en). AKASHVANI: Vol. XXXIII, No.12 ( 17 MARCH, 1968 ). All India Radio (AIR), New Delhi. 
  15. Sanajaoba, Naorem (1993) (in en). Manipur: Treatise & Documents. Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-81-7099-399-5. 
  16. Brara, N. Vijaylakshmi (1998). Politics, society, and cosmology in India's North East. Internet Archive. Delhi ; New York : Oxford University Press. pp. 138. ISBN 978-0-19-564331-2. 
  17. Sanajaoba, Naorem (1988) (in en). Manipur, Past and Present: The Heritage and Ordeals of a Civilization. Mittal Publications. ISBN 978-81-7099-853-2. 
  18. "Ima Ibemma Yumjao Lairembi Shanglen Inaugurated : 13th oct11 ~ E-Pao! Headlines". 
  19. "Yumjao Lairembi, Arambam" (in en). 
  20. "Yumjao Lairembi Dramatic And Cultural Union - Saathi Re". 
  21. "SocialPrimes". 
  22. "Yumjao Lairembi's play wins best production : 03rd feb22 ~ E-Pao! Headlines". 


  • Archaeology in Manipur - Page 149 - L. Kunjeswori Devi · 2003
  • Proceedings of North East India History Association - North East India History Association. Session · 1988
  • Recent Researches in Oriental Indological Studies: Including Meiteilogy - Page 188 - Moirangthem Kirti Singh · 1998
  • The History of Manipur: An early period - Page 263 - Wahengbam Ibohal Singh · 1986
  • Bhogeshwor, Oinam (1971) (in mni). Yumjao Leima. 

External links