Amongst the important archeological sites in Manipur Kamngla fort is perhaps the most important. Situated on the west bank of Imphal river the fort has a long history with references in almost all important manuscripts and text specially "Sakoklamlen" "Chinglon Laihui", "Nunglon" etc., which gives description of various expansions by kings, religious ceremonies and festivals celebrations. It remained the capital of Kangleipak from the ancient times down to the year 1891 AD.
Historian refers to King Khagemba (1597–1652 AD) and his successor Khunjaoba (1632–1666 AD), as the two kings who improved the fortification of the fort along with beautifying it. TDuringh their reign the Kingdom of Manipur was at its peak. During the reign of Maharaja Bhagyachandra (1762–1798 AD), the fort was abandoned due to Burmese invasions. Maharaj Gambhir Singh librated the fort by defeating the Burmese, but kept the capital at Langthabal, It was in 1844 during the reign of Nara Singh the capital was shifted back to Kangla. During the reign of King Surchandra Singh the British intervened in the internal affairs of Manipur which resulted in Anglo Manipur War of 1891 Churachand Singh was enthroned by the British after the war
Besides the being the centre of political power Kangla was also a religious place, it is considered as one of the holiest places by the Meitei’s . They believe that the supreme Lord Pakhangba, resides under the Kangla fort from where he rules the kingdom of Manipur. Besides this the Kangla fort has some sacred places like the Ebudhou Pakhangba Temple dedicated to Lord Pakhangba, Nungjeng Eekon sacred pond and abode of Lord Pakhangba, Nunggoibi dedicated to the Goddess of War. Besides these the coronation ceremony place called Kangla Men Surung and the Manglen is the cremation ground for the Kings of Manipuris also within the Kangla fort complex. Shree Govindjee Temple is also located inside the fort in the South eastern part.
After the Anglo Manipur wars the British took control of the fort and a new place was built for the royal family. During the Second World War the Kangla fort again became the seat of importance with Field Marshal William Slim the commander of Allied Burma Corps residing here.