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.
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. 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.
Manipuri people are quite rich by culture and religion. Some of the major religious festivals in Manipur are Moatsu, Hornbill Festival, Sekreny, Gaan-Ngai,Cheiraoba, Kang and Christmas. The people of Manipur adhere to a strong spiritual belief and customs, and enjoy their lives being encircled with family. The inhabitants of Manipur are mainly involved in agriculture and small scale industries for their livelihood. Their rich handlooms and handicrafts include popular tribal shawls, Manipur saris, bamboo work, mats, wood carving etc. People here are equally good at showcasing their music and dance expertise. The spectacular dance style of Manipur represents a distinguished dance form to the global audience.
Since ancient times, people of Manipur and kings have been highly praised as warriors. A glimpse of such warrior ship can be observed in their martial arts practices. Beside martial arts, people here also take good interest in the sports like wrestling, polo, hockey and boat racing.
Getting into the food style in Manipur, the people here are mostly pure vegetarians. Rice, vegetables, fruits and milk are the important parts of their day-to-day meal. However, many tribes are also there who equally relish the cuisines made of fish, meat and egg. Some of the popular dishes in Manipur are chagem pomba, erolpa, ooti, maroi-jhool, paltoi and nga-thongba.
The sub-tropical weather of Manipur offers you a blend of arid winter and warm summers with abundant rainfall during monsoon. In summer (March-May), you can feel maximum temperature of around 32°C in Manipur. Monsoon hits the region at the end of May and it lasts here till September. Winter on the other hand, enters the land of Manipur in the month of December and it continues till February or early March.
Best time to Visit:
In order to reveal the best natural splendour of Manipur, October to March is considered to be most favourable season for tourists. The overall ambience is quite soothing that time offering you a charming sunshine.
Places to see in Manipur:
The Jewel Land of India, Manipur is well-blessed with natural exquisiteness. This incredible state of seven sister chain offers you a picturesque vista of its spectacular environs. Hence, when in Manipur you can expect a love affair with its dazzling mound and vibrant valleys. 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.
Located around 83 Kms from the capital city, Ukhrul is a small district in Manipur. Apart from its alluring blend of lush valleys, small mounds and lively waterfalls what attracts you the most here is its picturesque vista. This place is an absolute delight for a true nature lover and photographer. The tranquil atmosphere in the arm of mother-earth takes you to a different level of magnetism. When in Ukhrul, some of the major attractions that you must explore are Kachouphung Lake, Nillai Tea Estate, Ango Ching, Hundung Mangva Cave, Khangkhui Cave, Khayang Peak and Shirui Kashung. The main living inhabitants here are the Tangkhuls tribes who are music lover. So, if you happen to be here during any local festival, don’t miss their melodious duo of soft songs and tribal dance. In addition, you can also spend time interacting with the local tribes. Doing this will help you to reveal many untold story about their history, culture and religion. So, visit the Jewel land of North East India and come up with some flourishing tales about the place.
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.
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.
Delimited by absolute greeneries, the land of Senapati is popular for its rich agriculture source. The place is well-blessed with natural abundance offering the local inhabitants a great source of cultivation. Some of the major produces here are rice, potato, cabbage and maize. When in Senapati, explore the major attractions that include Purul, Sadu Chiru Waterfalls, Dzuko Valley, Maram Khullen, Mao, Makhel Cave etc. Most of the sites at Senapati are least explored. So, while touring Manipur, don’t forget to reveal the concealed attractions at Senapati, which is out and out an offbeat destination for every visitor.
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.
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.
The natural abundance of Manipur seems to be never ending. You won’t find much population here as compared to the places cited above. In Chandel, you can visit some of the key sites like Tengnoupal, Moreh and Yangoupokpi-Lokchao Wildlife Sanctuary. Like any other districts in Manipur, Chandel is equally blessed with natural prettiness. Presence of rare species of plants and wild animals make afforest of Chandel more rousing. This place offers you some amazing sites that you would like capture in your camera. Another significance of Chandel is that this is the threshold to Myanmar. This place is equally appealing to a first timer and to a frequent visitor in Manipur.
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.
Places to Stay:
On inquiring about the accommodations, there are number of budget and deluxe hotels that you can easily manage in and around Manipur. The state is laid out with verities of hotels assuring the visitors a comfortable vacation in Manipur. Keeping in mind the basic amenities of visitors, most of the hotels here cater you a blend of excellent service, quality food and heart-winning hospitality. Depending on the type facilities you avail, the charges may range from INR 850-INR 3500 and more.
For your convenience, some of the comfy places to stay in Manipur are listed as follows:
#The Classic Hotel
North A.O.C, Imphal, India 795001
#Hotel The Bheigo
Keisampat, Thokchom Leikai, Wahengbam Leikai Road
Imphal, India 795001
Mg Avenue, Thangal Bazar,
Near City Police, Imphal India 795001
Chingmeirong, Imphal, India 795001
#Hotel New Airlines
Gandhi Avenue, Thangal Bazar,
Imphal, Manipur 795001
#Anand Continental Hotel
Thangal Bazaar, Khoyathong Road, Majorkhul,
Thangal Bazar, Imphal, Manipur 795001
Ragailong, Imphal, Manipur 795001
If you are still looking for a natural escape from city’s hustle-bustle, explore the beauty of Manipur. The state makes you visit here over and over again. The place has so much to offer that it is difficult to portray the actual beauty of Manipur unless you witness the destination individually. So, plan your next vacation to one of the spectaculars states of North East India. Don’t forget to come up with some more attractions amidst the slice of Switzerland of India if you happen to explore any.