Gardhaney Bhir, Motay Mangar and his Jhyampal (original title)
Couple of years back, I was on a visit to place called Mangsari Mangarzong in West Sikkim looking on the legend of Mangarzong. I then had heard several fascinating stories now more of a folk tales from old folks of the village.
Those oral traditions are now part of history that has been passed since generations. It was during those days, when the Mangars were repeatedly attacked by their enemies, the Mangar King was forced to hide his royal treasure on the nearby hills. The opposing enemies of the Mangars never found the treasure but the story of hidden treasure transformed from one generation to another gave birth to the name ‘Gardhaney Bhir’ that means ‘Valley of Hidden treasure’ to the place where people do believe of the Mangar King’s hidden wealth.
The battle field narration of Mangar Queen riding on horse with his baby tied on his back is still popular to this date and much loved fable story. Although her story coincides with that of Jhansi ki rani, but the Mangar Queen does share her fame of bravery, where she died fighting her enemies. It is said she was surrounded by enemies on the battlefield and there was no space for her to escape. She took her life jumping on the river nearby. The story tries to speak of sentiments and I too was caught hold of this narration when heard it for the first time.
The History of Sikkim (1908) compiled by Chogyal Thotob Namgyal and Gyamo Yeshay Dolma records the meeting of Phuntsog Namgyal, the first Chogyal of Sikkim with the Mangars and Limboos while on the way to Yoksum for his coronation. Interestingly, despite oral documentation of a supposed Palace at Mangsari Mangarzong, very little had been done to discover the prime time of the Mangars community in Sikkim. I had personally visited the place with Rajen Upadhaya, History Lecturer, Namchi Government College and his students; we had noticed some hollowness on the land while trekking through the area. We never knew more about it but people say that they had been hearing their foot-step sound on the mud since long time back.
Coming back to Gardhaney Bhir’, another fascinating incident is attached to it. Just between Budang and Mangsari Mangarzong from a road side, we were shown a small iron rod; a part of Jhyampal (digging bar) struck on the rock some 100 metres. Villagers say this particular digging bar was put into the rock by a man named Motay Mangar, a labourer by profession but known more for his power lifting ability. It was during the digging of the Jorethang – Soreng Road in the 60s, Motay Mangar wanted to make a name for him to be remembered for a long time so he had strucked the Jhyampal into the rock to show his muscle supremacy. He was more like a Hercules, remembers an old folk. I feel the digging bar must be around 5ft long and more than 4 ft of the bar had been struck inside the rock. Definitely, he must have been a big name then. People had tried numerous instances to pull it off but the iron rod could not be pulled. Old folk does remember Motay Mangar to this day with pride and say…..’Water and weather of those days were different”.
By Shital Pradhan originally in Proud to Be Sikkimese Blog
Shital Pradhan is a celebrated blogger from Sikkim. He is from Singtam, East Sikkim and by profession he is a teacher at a government school. He started the blog ‘Proud to be Sikkimese’ in 2007. He can be reached via email@example.com