If since long you have been planning for a natural escape amidst the breath-taking landscape of sky towering knolls, floating islands and endangered wildlife, Manipur is just the destination for you. The knot of Seven Sister States can’t be tied without the beautiful terra firma of Manipur, which is commonly referred as the Switzerland of India as well as the Jeweled Land. Nestled in the North East India, the soul-captivating land of Manipur is delimited by Nagaland, Burma, Assam and Mizoram to its north, east, west and south respectively. The main city of Manipur is Imphal, which is also the state capital.
Before you fall in love with the rich variety of nature and culture of Manipur, let’s catch a glimpse of this beautiful state of Northeast India.
Once described as the ‘Jewel of India’ by Jawaharlal Nehru, Manipur has no dearth of natural abundance to please your presence here. However, the historic tales of this state has been quite disputed. Dates back to decade during the British rule, Manipur used to be one of the princely states in India. According to the tradition of Manipur, the inhabitants here are predominantly the Gandharvas i.e. people with superb music and dance skills. There are 30 different tribes in Manipur, but the Meitei and Bishnupriyas tribes hold a major part of the sheer population in the state. The official language in Manipur is Manipuri. However, these days English and Hindi is also spoken here to some extent.
Let’s explore some of the major attractions or places in Manipur:
The capital city of Manipur, Imphal is an absolute starter for a great vacation amidst scenic magnificence. Despite being the capital city, Imphal has galore of appealing sites for tourists. One of the key attractions here is Loktak Lake, which is situated around 54Kms from Imphal. Tourists flock here from different places to witness the largest fresh water lakes of northeast India. Another major tourist puller in Imphal is the Ima Market, which is run by around 3000 women. If you are a shoppingaholic then look no further than this location. Ima Market is just the right place for you showcasing an array of clothes, handicrafts, fruits, vegetables, fish etc.
Moving ahead, if you are passionate about the game of Polo, Mapal Kangjeibung is a must visit for you. This place is considered as the world’s largest polo ground.Apart from the cited attractions, at Imphal you can also visit many other pleasing places like Kangla Fort, Andro village and Red Hill, Manipur Zoological Gardens, Shri Govindjee Temple, Manipur State Museum, Phubala, Khongjom and Singda Dam.
Having depicted the rich variety of Manipur in terms of scenic beauty and religious significance, Bishnupur is a worth visiting place in the state of Manipur. The name of this small town was derived from a prehistoric shrine, which was devoted to Lord Vishnu. Devotees flock this holy temple for worship purpose. Apart from its spiritual significance, most of the temples here are eminent for their architectural brilliance. Some of the significant attractions of Bishnupur are Dal Madol, Sridhara Temple, Rasmancha, Siddheswar Temple, Radha Shyam Temple, Susunia Pahar, Pancha Ratana Temple and Shyamrai Temple. Besides, the surrounding splendour of the nature adds more beauty to this small town of Manipur.
Here comes the land of adventure freaks. Nestled amidst lively river and hillocks in the state of Manipur, Thoubal is a paradise for hiking and trekking lovers. Dotted with lush bush, galore of banyan trees adds more prettiness to this tiny district of Manipur. Some of the popular rivers and lakes at Thoubal district that one must explore are Imphal River, Waithou Lake, Lousi Lake, Thoubal River and Ikop Lake. If you want to take a break from nature’s abode, visit some other leading attractions here, which includes People’s Museum, Khongjom War Memorial and Thoubal Bazar. So, what are you waiting for? Emerge out your daring instinct and escape amidst the hills of Thoubal.
Situated around 160Kms from the capital city, Tamenglong is a small district in the state of Manipur. Tamenglong is known for its rich variety of flora and fauna. This place is also referred as the ‘Land of Hornbill’. If you love a lush bush region that hosts various species of flora, wildlife and birds, Tamenglong may be the place for you. Presence of electrifying waterways, lakes and cascades make this site more captivating for a visitor. The fresh greeneries around the untouched terrain offer you an amazing experience in witnessing its picturesque panorama, which clearly indicates that the site has minimum human impact. This place is an absolute delight for sightseeing offering you a blend of thrilling forests, cave and meadows. Some of the key destinations at Tamenglong include Tharon Cave, Barak Waterfalls, Buning Meadow, Zeilad Wildlife Sanctuary and Zeilad Lake.
Every single destination in Manipur offers you an absolute delight with great natural exposure. The more you explore the terrain, greater you get mesmerised. One such place is Churachandpur, which has no dearth of natural attractiveness for a true nature lover. Reckoned as the second largest town in Manipur, Churachandpur offers you some must visiting destinations like Tuibuong Tribal Museum, Khuga Dam, Ngaloi Falls, Tipaimukh and Tonglon Cave. Churachandpur is nestled in the knolls and green vale boasting a breath-taking landscape. This place is equally enjoyable for boating. So, if you are here with your family, Churachandpur is going to gift you an eternal memory.
Being one of the imperative parts of Seven Sister States, Manipur and its adjoining places are frequently visited by the tourists from all round the sphere. Hence, for travellers reaching Manipur is not a fuss. This beautiful state of North East India can be accessed conveniently through any of the following means of transport:
By Air: The nearest airport is Bir Tikendrajit International Airport, which is situated nearly 8 Kms south of Imphal. This airport is well-connected to all important cities of India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Silchar, Bangalore, Kolhapur etc. For air travellers, some of the popular carriers to Imphal Airport are Jet Lite, IndiGo and Jet Airways. From airport premises, you can hire a prepaid taxi or an auto-rickshaw to commute further in the city.
By Train: There is no direct train to reach Manipur. Hence, the best way to reach Manipur by train is through Dimapur Railway Station, which is located around 212 Kms from Imphal. Dimapur is located in a different state called Nagaland, which has good railway connectivity with its nearby locations like Guwahati, Jorhat and Mariani. From Dimapur, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Imphal, which can be travelled in nearly 6-7 hours. Some of the major trains to reach Dimapur are Jorhat Town Intercity, Kamakhya Dibrugarh Special, New Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani, Kolkata Dibrugarh Express, Brahmputra Mail, Nagaland Express and Jan Shatabdi Express.
By Road: The roadway connectivity between Imphal and its nearby cities is quite regular. There are several private and state transports available from Guwahati, Dimapur, Itanagar, Aizwal, Kohima, Silchar and Shillong to reach Imphal by road. In addition, you can also hire private vehicles from Guwahati and Dimapur to reach Imphal conveniently.
Image courtesy: Google