Poubi lai is a huge size mythical form of a Python that lives in the core of loktak lake. Python has a dominant place in the Meitei culture. The cult traditionally associated with Python has metaphysical and divine origin. According to a Meitei belief, the godly king Nongda lairen Pakhangba lived as human at night and he could transform himself into a divine form of Python.
These divine forms are available in the form of an illustrated manuscript called Paphal lambuba which contains 364 diagrammatic representations of Pakhangba and they are known as Paphal. These assumptions are attributed as the controlling deity of places. The forms of Pakhangba has a very significant role to play in the socio-religious and political structure of Meitei society.
The relevance of Python is not only associated with religious cult and glorification of the royal lineages but also held important cultural role in the folk life of the people of Manipur. Apart from the Hindu faith of Naag and the Dragon cult of China, the Python cult of Manipur portrays a unique blend of cultural syncretism.
Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya is presenting the story of Poubi lai in a first of its kind Single Object Exhibition entitled as ‘Poubi lai - The Story of a Giant Python’ from January 7 to February 15, 2016. On the occasion of inauguration of exhibition 25 artists from Manipur will present a dance-drama on The Story of a Giant Python ‘Poubi lai’.