and awesomely tall, a shrub growing 61 feet (18.59 m.), it is amazing.
When Moirangthem Okendra Kumbi of Manipur returned home after getting
his degree of B.Sc. Agri. (Hons.) from Meerut University, in 1983,
he found a small plant on a mustard oil tin planted by his sister.
The plant was a kind of shrub Manipuris use to grow as fencing to
their gardens, so they called it Samban-Lei (Samban means fencing
and Lei means flower), its Hindi name is Nilakantha (Sky flower)
and Botanical Name is Duranta repens Linn.
He started an experiment with the plant to grow it upright and
cutting its branches in round forming the shape of umbrellas and
discs. Experts told him it wouldn't grow past 20 feet, but he never
gave up. While it was growing, Moirangthem would display it at local
exhibitions. Once it became too big to move, however, he decided
to plant it permanently. In 1991, the then governor of Manipur saw
it and recommended him for a position in the State Horticulture
Department as Assistant Horticultural Officer.
This topiary duranta is given the name "Samban-Lei Sekpil"
by its owner Moirangthem as the Samban-Lei is forming the shape
of a Sekpil. The word Sekpil is derived from ancient Manipuri word
for a decorative bamboo post with rounded structured cloths forming
canopy in many stages. These sekpil at present also called as "Shattra"
is generally used in worship and festivals of Manipuris.
He climb the supporting ladder at least two times in a day to check
the shape of his record plant, till now he had spent more than Rupees
sixteen lakhs on maintenance. His untired efford earned a place
in the Indian Records of Topiary Art, the Limca Book of Records,
and the Guinness Book of World Records.
||Duranta Repens Linn
||Samban-lei Mana Arangba
|Experiment Started Year:
|National Record (Limca Book of Records):
||18th Nobember 1992 (at the height of 20 ft. with 11 steps)
|World Record (Guinness Book of Records):
||26 November 1999 (at the height of 50 ft. 35 steps)
Why is it called "Samban-lei Sekpil"?
The word: "Sambanlei Sekpil" is drived from ancient Manipuri words:
Samban=fencing, Lei=flower(Duranta in English) and Sekpil=a bamboo
axis forming canopy with odd numbers of rounded shape of clothed
structures with an interval, one above the other, generally used
in front of Umang Lai ( God of Forests). In modern age 'Sekpil'
is also known as 'Satra'. The creative knowledge of this living
legend "Sambanlei Sekpil" is converted from the non-living religious
Who is the father of the top topiary "sambanlei sekpil"?
The left-handed with long hair and brave-hearted hedge plant specialist
is named Moirangthem Okendra Kumbi alias Moirangningthou is the first
son of Moirangthem Mangi, a retired National Awardee Teacher besides
energetic social worker and prize winner in the state paddy crop competitions,
and Moirangthem Ongbi Angoubi, a hard working and religious housewife.
He has one sister and two brothers. Born and brought up in a historic
place called Kumbi (Kum-Tambi). It is situated in the
south east corner of Loktak Lake and about 60kms away from the capital
city Imphal. Presently, the gardener is working as an Assistant Agriculture
Officer in the State Horticulture Department, Manipur.
A sincere word from the owner
"From time immemorial, Duranta plant is used as a hedge plant,
just as forces barricade border for security and protection. The queen
of garden (rose) is protected by Duranta plant.
"It is my sincere opinion that today the hedge plant-Duranta
has the proven evidence to be used as a majestic decoration piece
in the heart of the modern garden as it can work wonderfully. Paradoxically,
the queen of garden is recommended by many visitors for a decorative
fence of the Top Topiary.
"Naturally, mankind and plant go together all the time. In
this regard, it is my sincere hope that such an output of my humble
work is amply awarded in case it can attune to the loving accord
of plant and mankind and can fill a vacuum in modern garden.
"Once again, I hope that anybody can create such a Top Topiary
"Sambanlei Sekpil" with the help of my technique of cultivation
and it will high up to the sky as long as there is a love for plant."