E-Pao :: Manipur :: Ethnic Races :: KOIRENG


The Koireng are mostly found to be settled in the border foothills surrounding the Imphal valley and is a small scheduled tribe of Manipur. The present geographical distribution of the Koirengs include
Longa Koireng (17 Km),
Sadu Koireng (37 km),
Awang Koireng Longa Koireng (27 Km),
Utonglog (27 Km) and
Kamu Koireng (25 Km)
in Senapati District; Tarung (3 km) and Koireng Colony (3 km) in Imphal district (The distance given are from Imphal). According to 1981 census, the Koireng population in Manipur is 603.

The ethnonym 'Koireng' is derived from two roots 'Kol'=east and 'ren'=men which got corrupted into the present word. At present they want to be recognized as 'Korem' rather than that of the scheduled tribe name. J. Shakespear, Bose, described them as an old Kuki tribe while on the contrary, Hodson, Gangmumei Kabui classed them as a Naga tribe.

From the linguistic point of view, they belong to the Kuki chin group of Tibeto Burmese Language. Their physical characteristics are that males are commonly 5' to 5'-6'' tall whereas female statute is 4'-6" to 5'-3".

They have dark brown skin; slim looking but sturdily built body. Their hair is usually black and straight. An oval shaped face; non prominent cheek bones, small eyes with absence of epicanthic folds; mesorine nose with its root high, piercing of ear lobes and slight prognathous of Chin are also distinctive features.

The Koireng Cosmogony myth exists in different versions namely
(i) Emerging of two heterogemeses human progenitors from non-human beings and
(ii) ancestors emerged out of the cave, Khur.

According to the first version, in the hoary past when there was no evidence of human beings except the divine beings, on Yeisupn (Earth) two fungus like plants, grew up at Yaolkip and Yaolkak. On seeing these two plants, the divine beings were very much struck with fear; the objects could not be cleft thoroughly.

One was cut deeply in middle and it turned into Tulong (woman) and identified as Roltei while the other was cut in a slanting position thereby producing pointed parts and the very being became Tumong (man) who came to be Known as Rolphul. By their union seven sons were born.

They in order of their seniority were
Khonglung and
Meriem (or Merilm Mikan) from whom the seven clans of Koireng were born. But at present the latter five clans are extinct.

The other version revolves within the faith of emergence of their forefathers out of a cave, according to which they are known as Khurmi (Khur=cave, mi=man). But they could not recount reminiscences about the exact location of the legendary cave.

When they came out of the cave, they encountered a tiger at the mouth and ate them. Neirong, a man of Song clan wrapping a shawl Ponthal (Pons=cloth, thals=arrows) having patterns resembling the skin of tiger was spared from being eaten up.

Since then, it's believed that members of Song clan are tabooed to eat cat, tiger and tokapa (an animal of cat family) and on the other hand, tiger does not injure them.

Though the exact site remains unknown, Kolram, the eastern land that is believed by the Koirengs to be the Karen State of eastern Burma is claimed as their original homeland. They moved through different regions of Burma from upper Burma across the Chindwin Basin Hill and then into the Lushai Hills and finally into Manipur.

Out of the two Clans presently in existence viz, Songthu and Yeite, the Songthu Clan is divided into two groups; Chungnung (upper) and Noineng (lower). Chungnung is sub-divided into (a) Rengphamak and (b) Rengkhumak while that of the noirung into (a) Rangsokhet (b) Rongkhotinson (c) Ranglisek and (d) Rongleisong (e) Toltung and (f) Thaiba.

The Yeite clan is divided into (a) Norsel (b) Barreng (c) Ranglihon (d) Leisel (e) Wanbe (f) Tente (g) Tumtin (h) Lunqlai (i) Maite.

Amongst the clans, there is the exogamous rule for marriages but amongst the sub clans certain groups are allowed to inter marry while certain groups are restricted to intermarry. Their material items includes those from the Cultural, Social and economic spheres. They manage to live in thatched houses with earthen plinth and a verandah.

Their important dress and customs are (i) formale onthal (especially for males), Puonwon, Murkisen thaite (turban) and (ii) for females Puonhem (ascribing higher status for being adorn with it), Ponsel, Saipikhup. Lungum Puonkokhoi, Ponlang, Koram (the latter two clothes are waist belts).

The Koireng women use ornaments with Har (armlet), Yakseir (armlet) - all made of bead and Rikarui (necklace of red beads). The Koireng men use feathers of hen and fur of goat to decorate along with turban. Musical instruments they use to rejoice with are Khung (drum) Rushem (Bagpipe), Sekhi (horn) Sum (gong), Serangdar (violin like instrument) etc.

They subsist depending on implements like spear, fishing basket, carrying baskets, hoe, plough yoke etc.

People of Younger generation are nominally Christians, but old pagan practices linger on and only non-Christian elders enjoy privileges for Chieftainship. Traditionally rules to impose fine to wrong doers exists in each village which might be different from village to village.

The supreme God is Pathian and next to Him is In-Pathian (House-god). An individual's life is entwined in the rite-de-passage that runs from nailuwoi (naming ceremony) on the third day of a birth; Theikal, ceremony to strengthen limbs of the child who are 15 day old; Mason, the ceremony performed to recognize the child as human and allowed to wear earrings; marriage that prevails as noiruoi (engagement) or Tan (elopement) or Keitout (capture) to death ceremony. They also believe in the rebirth of soul.

(i) Bedal: It is the genna in the month Tolbol (Jan-Feb) before which the growing of crop is forbidden. Offerings are made to the goddess - who was the daughter of Miriem, taken by Lord Thangjing as his wife when she was a sacred virgin- near a pool/ rivulet.

(ii) Palchoi: It is a religious service to liberate them from disasters. At the village gate, the Khullakpa worship with wine and creepers of costus ap and after the completion he is brought on the back of a Changloi.

(iii) Kangrai Mindai: It is a three days festival in the month of Phurpa (May-June). On the first day, village elders worship (Yupanthaba) Pathian at the gate with wine along with pig, hen and a dog, which the anterior portion is feasted after the rite. Lomnur (leader of boys) and Tamsai (leader of girls) are selected on the second day, they consume cooked remaining meat of the previous day and entertain by cutting jokes and singing song, but there is no dancing. On the third day, youngster fetch flower, firewood and a bundle of firewood is kept in front of each house. In the evening, a tug of war, won compulsorily by Khulenlom is arranged between Khumlon (upper group) and Khulenton (lower group). Afterwards, there is Meiomlam dancing and singing.

(iv) Chaonlei: It is a religious service observed in Inga for prosperous growing of crops. At present, it is combined with Charaikhei ritual for healthy growing of crops.

(v) Tuikuong Khuor: In Jingpi (Aug-Sep) month, water spirit is worshipped at a water hole and waterways are cleared. In addition, use of fishing net on this day is tabooed.

(vi) Lamkir Lei: Megalith erected areas are cleared and there yupanthaba is done.

(vii) Chamer Sier: On the first day of these two days festival, village elders ritualistically offer wine, dog, pig and hen at the village gate and enjoy the flavor of the meat. On this day, village elders throw torches (Meihun) in between houses so as to exorcise evil spirits from the village. On the last day, nisolam dance is performed by 4/5 men holding spears in gala dress and Kalamchei dance by the assistants of newly installed noblemen is held. On this day, a bamboo post is erected by each family.

(viii) Lamthel Lei: In this road/village cleaning festival, at Panthong, the village elders string the gate with creepers and folk song telling the tales of mythical hero Neisong is sung. Khullakpa and a newly installed officer are brought back on the backs ofChanglois.

(ix) Chathar Lei: It is the festival of Koirengs enoying the first taste of harvested product celebrated in the month of Thapal (Nov-Dec).

(x) Lengwai: It is celebrated on the very next day of Chathar Lei. On this day, sisters' sons are feasted by maternal uncles.

(xi) Chalam Kei: This divine service that includes harvested crop as requisite item is officiated by Khullakpa in Birip (Dec-Jan). The village is genna that day going nowhere.

The Koireng economy persists mainly on agriculture which they carry on by both shifting and wet cultivation method. Paddy, potato, ginger, arum etc, are main products. Gathering economy and basket products for commercial goods form trade and market.

Manindra Konsam from Sanathong wrote this article.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #1 : Gallery
  • Premier League coaches train : Gallery
  • Culturals @ Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #4
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #2
  • Prevention of cruelty to trees
  • Premier League coach train NE participant
  • GoI may sign agreement without NSCN(K)
  • Manipur celebrates New Year with gaiety
  • Zeliang denies involvement in terror funding
  • Shopping: Sajibu Nongma Panba #1: Gallery
  • Stall @Science Congress, MU #1: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba (Meitei New Year)
  • Saving Nambul: Convergence of view
  • Job @ PR Enterprises, Khurai
  • National Institute for Locomotor Disabilities
  • Seminar on 'Conflicts in South Asia'
  • Luck matters; but not always
  • On completing one year in office
  • Spectacle distribution at Loktak Station
  • DGAR visits Manipur on his farewell visit
  • PM at Science Congress @MU #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #3: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • A tribute to Stephen Hawking
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #3
  • Effect of a Sleepless Night :: Peom
  • Psychology at MIT School of Vedic Sciences
  • So near yet so far
  • Naga CSOs walking with JCILPS
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Fancy Dress Contest: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #2: Gallery
  • Truth of Life :: Poem
  • Celebration of womanhood
  • HQ IGAR (S) celebrates 15th Raising Day
  • Jet Airways for more flights for NE
  • Publicity doing good, Garbage filth continue
  • Other issue overriding education: Class XII
  • Wortam: The Rising Young Mashangva
  • Eidi Ethantani by Eyoom :: Review
  • OMCT : UA on harassment of Ranjeeta
  • Mass destruction of opium poppy cultivation
  • Career options in printing press
  • IBSD launches hi-tech facility for farmers
  • Bangalore Yaoshang - Cheiraoba Thabal
  • Quality over quantity
  • What will the PM have to say ?
  • Zeliang gets fresh summon from NIA
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #4 : Gallery
  • Nengneingah, Lungkhambou :: eMing
  • Yaoshang Water & color #2: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #2
  • BJP led Govt, not flunk in first year
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Demand handing of Pravish case to CBI
  • PDA Govt claims false credit: NPF
  • Feminism & Path to Women's Liberation
  • Word of caution from Ibobi: BJP to listen
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #4 : Gallery
  • Radhakumar's Atoppa Sansar Amada #1
  • Nigol :: Poem
  • List of Portfolios : Nagaland Govt
  • Clarify: Report of Zeliang summoned by NIA
  • Academic Programs offered by PHFI
  • Cong speaks: Changes expected in future
  • One year under the BJP: Significant but..
  • Students @ Class X Exam #2 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khongman: Gallery
  • Draft Asian Declaration: right to justice #1
  • Cry Of A Dying River...21 :: Peom
  • Manipur-Nagaland border disputes
  • Not a word on beauty on Women's Day
  • Women Religious Tour reaches New Delhi
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira- Nari Puraskar Award: Gallery
  • Human Rights Defender intimidated by Army
  • Rooftop Solar Power Plants: Gallery
  • Home stay for nature tourism in Manipur
  • Moodle: A learning management system
  • You can't stop small newspapers ...
  • BJP show in NE State: The backroom boys
  • Moldhin Chan: A Thado-Kuki Folktale #2
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam, Thoubal River & Tumukhong
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #2 : Gallery
  • Time for "Nokphade" to go global
  • Campaign on International Women's Day
  • War between Left & Right has begun
  • Poppy plantation, destruction & missing link
  • Security beefed up ahead of PM's visit
  • Neroca FC to gear up for Super Cup
  • Yaoshang Halankar #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Water & color #1: Gallery
  • Harassment of Ranjeeta (HRA) by Army
  • Women's positions need to change
  • The Weeds :: Poem
  • We now know gold was created in space
  • Issues of women's rights should be priority
  • Protection of paddy land Act
  • Thabal Chongba @Khurai : Gallery
  • Bor-keina race @Yaoshang Fest : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Tanushree @Elecrama Startup Award: Vote
  • Indian Science Congress in MU: Act East?
  • Fulbright 'pathways' for college leaving class
  • Job @ St. Stone Medical Devices
  • Army jawan martyred in Bongjai IED blast
  • National Integration Tour for Women
  • AR conduct Yaoshang sport festival
  • Condemns rising vendetta politics in NE
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #1: Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #2: Gallery
  • NERIST Director post vacant since 2014
  • Dynamic Startup 3.0 at MIMS, MU
  • NDPP Legislature 1st Meeting at Kohima
  • 8th Theatre Olympics at Guwahati
  • Naga solution in 6 months: Nagaland Gov
  • All villages to be electrified within month: CM
  • IM denies involvement in attack on Army
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport @Keishampat #1: Gallery
  • Sentinel Cup Equestrian #5 : Gallery
  • Translating inclusion into seclusion is..
  • Condemns land acquisition of muslim
  • News erroneously portraying Zeliang
  • Report: Shillong Lajong vs East Bengal
  • Yaoshang Sport @Khagempalli #1: Gallery
  • LGBTQ Yaoshang Sports Meet #1 : Gallery
  • M. Shenbangpu : Akademi Award 2014
  • Tribe: A concept in a state of crisis
  • Neiphiu's NDPP-BJP alliance stakes claim
  • Digital footprints: Blueprints for detection
  • Rio refutes news about 'Naga Peace'
  • Yaoshang Mei Loukhatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang with Governor : Gallery
  • Black holes that are neither holes nor black
  • Lingaraja Temple- Lord of Three Worlds
  • Study helps hill student make up lost day
  • Yaoshang Mei Thaba : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #3 : Gallery
  • Chirom Indira: Highest Civilian Honour
  • Rejoinder to "MCPCR in dire straits"
  • Poppy destruction: The new norm ?
  • Stop harassment of Urikhimbham
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • Understanding the origin & essence
  • Call to reduce Yaoshang days: Make it 3
  • 8th AMWJU Sports Meet : Gallery
  • March Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #2 : Gallery
  • Stop this shaming of menstruation
  • Yaoshang Greetings from BJP Manipur
  • Self-conscious manhood: Find true self
  • Parl Secy: To be or not to be ?
  • Holi colours can cause side-effects
  • Equality matters
  • Creating nuisance on the roads
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #3 : Gallery
  • Cultural @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Nonsense is Sense : Guv's attention invited
  • Protection of Human Rights: Resolution
  • Protection of Human Right Defender: Meet
  • Mapithel dam chapter before NGT
  • GOC 3 corps calls on the Governor
  • Gangnam style is better
  • From boycott call to verbal duel: NPF, BJP
  • Festival of Colours to Sports Festival
  • Food Processing Training @Oinam : Gallery
  • Time to ban malicious Moreh products
  • Cry of a Dying River - 20 : Poem
  • Training prog on Food Processing at Oinam
  • One year - now a doomsday ahead..
  • Thought on full five days of Yaoshang
  • Loree Kaju Luita Phanit #3 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Thabalgi Sen Khaiba #1 : Gallery
  • Death trolls :: Poem
  • Culinary arts as career option
  • Wetlands for a sustainable urban future
  • 12th Annual Damms Sports Meet 2018
  • NPF files complaint with ECI
  • Social Media for Empowerment
  • The perfect leader
  • NPF on the offensive against BJP
  • Lui-Ngai-ni Token Celebration at Chadong
  • Sannaroisingee Numit 2018 : Gallery
  • Reminiscence of career as an aerobiologist
  • Automation in microbiology laboratory
  • India's 'Act East' policy : Unlocking Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • No question of merger with anybody: NDPP
  • SC/ST wants reservation in Private Sector
  • Delhi-da Thabal MSAD na sougatchade
  • Students @ Class X Exam #1 : Gallery
  • AoNna tEnaba :: Seireng
  • Thanga Keithel : Gallery
  • Saroi Khangba #2 : Gallery
  • Konthoujam Kunjo :: Akademi Award
  • Cry of a Dying River - 19 :: Poem
  • Folk Dance @ Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • MaiOn - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • Singcha Wuya Won @Kamjong #5: Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #2 : Gallery
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic