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World's tallest topiary in Imphal losing its stature fast

Imphal resident and agriculture graduate Moirangthem Okendra shaped an ordinary shrub used in fences into a 61-foot, Guinness record-setting topiary. Its height has reduced to 40 feet due to neglect by authorities, Okendra says.
Hindustan Times | By Sobhapati Samom, Imphal
UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2014 06:59 PM IST

The Guinness World Records holder and tallest topiary in world is likely to vanish from Manipur due to lack of attention from the authorities concerned, said Moirangthem Okendra who shaped the ordinary plant into a record breaking plant in the history.

The tallest topiary in the world, popularly known as Samban-Lei Sekpil in local tongue, has earned an entry into Guinness Book of World Records in 1999 when it was 61 feet tall and became the second entry from Manipur after the game of Polo, which originated in the state.

Samban means fencing, Lei means flower and Sekpil indicates a decorative bamboo post with rounded structure forming a canopy, generally used in worship or festivals in Manipur. Usually, the plant was used for fencing.

"The height of the wonderful plant has been reduced from 61 feet to 40 feet due to lack of attention from the authorities concerned in Manipur," says 54 year old Okendra on the sideline of a calendar releasing function of Samban-Lei Sekpil School, Kumbi, Imphal on Monday.

Okendra, who now lives with his family in Kumbi village in Bishnupur district and had been spending Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 per month for the past three decades to maintain the plant.

He has sought help from the state to revive the dying plant, which has a life span of 200 years, for attracting tourists.

Okendra had also once requested UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to protect and preserve the plant in 2003. He had also received recognition from Limca Book of Records.

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