The green state of Manipur, and Imphal its capital, has all the fine, merged, tints of a water colour. Faiths and traditions and life styles seem to flow into each other with a soft edged grace so that it is impossible to know where one ends and the other begins.
Manipur lies east of Assam, North of Mizoram, south of Nagaland and shares India's international border with Myanmar (Burma). The state played a crucial role during world war II. At Moirang, 45 km from the capital of Imphal, Subhashchandra Bose hoisted the Indian national army flag in 1944.
The Manipuris have a reputation as fierce fighters. They excel in such a martial arts as the spare dance (Takhousarol), sword fight (Thanghaicol) and wrestling (Mukna). They are also good riders. Polo, the game that spread over the Mughal Empire in the 16th century before gaining an international dimension, is said to have originated here.
The so-called Manipur valley is really a plateau about 700 meters high, watered by rivers threading out of the dark, mist-topped, ranges. Bright green fields stretch all the way to the distant mountains.
22,327 sq km
People Per Sq. km
Fairs and Festivals
Ningol Chakouba - the social festival of Manipuries
The festival is also observed by the Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) to a certain extent now-a-days. It is observed on the second day of the new moon in the Manipuri month of Hiyangei(November).It is a remarkable social festival of the Meiteis. Married women of the family who were married to distant places come to the parental house along with her children and enjoy
sumptuous feast. It is a form of family rejoinder to revive familial affection.
Gang-Ngai - Festival of Kabui Nagas
Celebrated for five days in the month of Wakching (December/Janaury) GANG-NGAI is an important festival of the Kabui Nagas. The festival opens with the omen taking ceremony on the first day and the rest of the days are associated with common feast, dances of old men and women and of boys and girls, presentation of farewell gifts etc. For 1997, it starts from Janaury 21.
It is the greatest festival of all the Christains of Manipur, observed for two days on December 24 and 25. Prayers, reading of Gospels, eating, singing of hymns, lectures on Christ, sports etc., form the major part of the festival. In some villages where the inhabitants are well-off, the celebration continues till Janaury 1 on which the New Years day is also observed.
Cheiraoba - The Manipur NewYear
Celebrated during the month of April, a part of the ritual entails villagers climbing the nearest hill tops in belief that it will enable them to rise to greater heights in their worldly life. The Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) also observe it. During this festival, people clean and decorate their houses and prepare special festive dishes which are first offered to various deities.
Kang - The RathaJatra of Manipur
One of the greatest festivals of the Hindus of Manipur, the festival is celebrated for ten days (July). Lord Jagannath leaves his temple in a car known as 'Kang' in Manipur pulled by pilgrims who vie with one another for this honor.
KUT - the festival of Kuki-Chin-Mizo
It is an autumn festival of the different tribes of Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups of Manipur. The festival has been variously described at different places amongst different tribes as Chavang-Kut or Khodou etc. It is a happy occasion for the villagers whose food stock is boundiful after a year of hard labour. The festival is a thanks giving featsts with songs and dances in merriment and joviality for all, in honour of the giver of an abundant harvest, it is observed on the 1st of November every year.
Chumpha -festival of Tangkhul Nagas
This festival is celebrated for seven days in the month of December, the Chumpha festival is a great festival of the Tanghul Nagas. The festival is held after harvest. The last three days are devoted to social gatherings and rejoicing. Unlike other festivals women play a special role in the festival. The concluding part of the festival ends with a procession within the village.
Art and Handicraft
Every house possesses a loom, and Manipuris weave with a passion and style, unrivalled by any other state. Manipuri bed covers of Moirangfee and flower designs, silk and cotton sarees, scarves, blankets and shawls, in distinctive shades and weaves, are enchanting.
A wide range of artistic handicrafts from bamboo, papier-mâché, decorative ivory, dolls and jewelery make for prized souvenirs. These exquisite handlooms and handicrafts are sold at Khwairamband market, the largest exclusive women's market in the country.
How to get there
Nearest airport and railhead is Dimapur - 215 km.
Regular state transport buses ply from Dimapur.
Places of interest
Imphal, the capital of the easternmost state of Manipur, is the centre of all cultural, commercial and political activities. Manipur, popularly known as the "land of jewels" splits up naturally into two parts - the hills and the plains. The inhabitants of these two divisions have their own distinctive dialects, customs and tribal costumes.
Though small in area, Manipur is rich in its culture, traditions, festivals, dances, handlooms and handicrafts.
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How to get there
Imphal is connected with Delhi via Guwahati and with Calcutta
The nearest railhead is Dimapur-215 km.
Motorable roads connect Imphal with Agartala-465 km, Aizwal-374 km, Dimapur-216 km, Guwahati-579 km, Itanagar-413 km, Kaziranga-346 km, Kohima-123 km, Shillong-643 km.
In and around
Shri Govindajee Temple
This temple, adjoining the palace of the formar rulers of Manipur, is a historic centre for Vaishnavites.
The market is very special because all the stall-holders are women.
Manipur State Museum
This interesting museum near the polo grounds has a fairly good display of Manipur's tribal heritage and a collection of portraits of Manipur's former rulers.
The Old Palace
In the heart of the town, and in grounds now occupied by the para-military forces for their training, there are interesting ruins of an old fortress wall and a palace. The sentry at the gate stops vehicles but visitors are permitted to enter once the guard is assured that they have come to see the ruins.
The British and Indian Army Cemeteries commemorating those who died in the 2nd World War are serene and well-maintained with little stone markers and bronze plaques recording their anguish and sacrifice.
Manipur Zoological Garden
About 6 Km off Imphal, towards the west, is this zoological garden at Iroishemba on the Imphal-Kangchup road.
The Orchid Yard of the Forest Department, on National Highway, about 7 Km from Imphal, is another place of interest. Peak season is April-May.
The Minar at Bir Tikendrajit Park in the heart of Imphal commemorates the indomitable spirit of Manipur martyrs who sacrificed their lives while fighting against the British in 1891.
8 km down the Indo-Burma road lies this small hill feature with the relics of an old historic palace.
27 KM The single-celled, conical roofed temple of Bishnu.
40 KM To the south of Imphal on the western fringes of Loktak Lake lies this charming resort.
45 KM From Imphal to the south, is one of the ancient villages of Manipur contributing mush to her culture. Traditional " Moirang Lai Haraoba " is celebrated sometime in the month of May every year from the olden days. During the festival, men and women in hundreds dance and sing in honour of Thangjing. On the time of Second World War Moirang was the H. Q. of the Azad Hind Fouz where Netaji hoisted for the first time the flag of I. N. A. on the Indian soil
45 KM The largest fresh water lake in the North-Eastern India. Its vast expanse of water with both resident & migratory birds offers scope for shooting, fishing and boating. The importance of Loktak Lake is the little Islands Thanga and Karang in the centre of the lake, labyrinth of boat routes amidst the floating marshes.
48 KM An islet in the middle of Loktak Lake is a view point overlooking the lake and its surroundings. A telescope is to be installed here to watch the animals in their natural habits in Keibul Lamjao National Park.
Keibul Lamjao National Park
53 KM Inside the famous Loktak Lake, the only floating National Park of its kind in India. It is the natural habitat of the rare Browentelered deer found nowhere else.
59 KM District H. Q. of Manipur south and an advanced tribal ( Kuki ) town where local hanicrafts are available in the market.
16 KM At an altitude of 921 metres from Imphal in the west is a health resort on the hills over-looking Manipur valley. It is also a mountain pass on the road to Tamenglong
50 KM 8404 feet high Koubru Hill is a pilgrim centre.
106 KM 1757 metres high Mao is a hill station half-way between Dimapur and Imphal on N.H.no. 39. The place is rich in Mao Naga culture.
83 KM To the east of Imphal, the district H.Q. of Manipur East is the highest hill station of Manipur.
29 KM A beautiful hillock, can be reached by bus via Thoubal.
16 KM On Indo-Burma road by the side of the lake is a picturesque village fam- ous for its pineapples.
36 Km On Indo-Burma road it is a place of great historic importance. Here Major Genrl. Paona Brajabashi one of the great warriors of Manipur, proved his valour against the invading British Army in 1891. The hillock at the foot of which he laid down his life in defence of his motherland. A war memorial on the top of this hill feature adds charm to this historic site. Khongjom Day is celebrated as a state function every year on April 23.
69 Km Highest point of the Imphal-Burma road and from here one can have a full view of the valley of Manipur.