literally meaning "a jewel of a land", is a small state nestled
deep in a lush green corner of north-east India. Set in an oval-shaped
valley amongst smoky blue hills, Manipur seems much like an excellent work
of art executed by mother nature herself. The beauty of Manipur once
inspired Mrs. St. Clair Grimwood who described it as "A Pretty Place
more beautiful than many show places of the world". India's first
Prime Minister, Late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru described it as "Jewel of
India". Manipur, was also once a princely state.
Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Assam to
the west and Mizoram to the south. Besides, it also shares border with
country of Myanmar to the east. Manipur spreads over an area of 22,327 sq.
kms, according to the 2001 census report, its population was 2, 388, 634.
Manipur is the home of the Meiteis who dominate the populace, which is a
mixture of Naga and Kuki-Chin Mizo groups. Imphal is the state capital,
which has harmonized itself wonderfully into its beautiful natural
So, when you plan a trip to India don't forget to include the
beautiful state of Manipur in your itinerary. Get the Restricted Area Permit
from the concerned offices in Delhi, Mumbai or Kolkata, board a flight to
Imphal and enjoy a vacation of lifetime.
Manipur - History
From the earliest times, Manipur had a proud history, but only the records
starting from British period is available. In the year 1891, the British
intervened, defeated Burma (Myanmar) and took over Assam, and brought
Manipur under British paramountcy. During the Second World War (1939-45),
Manipur witnessed several fierce battles between the Japanese and Allied
forces of Burma. Later the Japanese swept over the East Asia and came up to
Manipur. The Japanese forces and factions of Indian National Army under
command of Subhas Chandra Bose were defeated by the Allied Forces.
In 1947, with the Indian independence, Manipur once again became an
independent kingdom. In the year 1949, King Budhachandra was invited to
Shillong, where he was forced to sign an agreement for annexation of Manipur
into India. Once Manipur became part of the Indian Union, the State's
Constitution Assembly was dissolved in October, 1949 and it was designated
as a part C state. Further, in 1956, Manipur was degraded to the status of a
Union territory and finally in 1972 Manipur was given the status of a state.
Manipur - Tourist Destinations
Manipur, a small state, comprises nine districts namely Bishnupur, Chandel,
Churachandpur, Imphal-East, Imphal-West, Senapati, Tamenglong, Thoubal and
Ukhrul. Although these districts house several attractions for tourists, but
the State Tourist Department has suggested two tourist circuits, first -
Imphal - Moirang - Loktak Lake - Keibul Lamjao National
Park-Imphal, second - Imphal - Ukhrul - Imphal. State capital
Imphal is home to a number of attractions such as Shri Govindaji Temple,
Khwairamband Bazar, Shaheed Minar, War Cemeteries etc.
Manipur - People & Culture
Manipur is inhabited by various ethnic communities that include the
Meiteis, Nagas, Kuki- Chinas, Meitie Pangal, Nepalis, Bengalis, Marwaris and
several colourful communities. They have been living in the state in
complete harmony for centuries. Manipur is known all over the world for its
own distinct art-forms. You will find a glimpse of Manipur's rich
cultural art forms in its dances, music, folklore, myths and legends,
indigenous games and martial arts, exotic handlooms and handicrafts. Song
and dances forms like folk, classical or modern is inherent in the people
and you will hardly find a Manipuri girl who cannot sing or dance. Popular
dance forms of the state include Ras Lila, Nupa Pala, Pung Cholom, Maibi
Dance and Khamba Thoibi Dance.
Manipur - Cuisine
Just like other north-eastern states, the cuisine of Mainpur is rich in
rice and meat and some prefer fish. Even today, Manipuri people follow the
old dining tradition of 'sitting down' on the floor with
banana-leaf plates. Amongst the variety of cuisine, some of the local
delicacies include Kabok (fried rice with vegetables), Kangsoi (a vegetable
stew with dry fishes) and Iromba (combination of fish, vegetables and bamboo
shoots). Apart from local delicacies, you can also savour Chinese and
Continental food at restaurants of the state.
Manipur - Fairs and Festivals
Manipur is a land of festivities, people celebrate several fairs and
festivals round the year. In fact, fair and festivals are a symbol of
cultural, social and religious aspirations of the state. Some of the
important festivals of the state include Ras Leela, Yaosang (Feb-March),
Cheiraoba (April), Lai Haraoba (April/May), Ratha Yatra (June-July),
Heikru-Hidongba (September), Ningol Chak Kouba (Oct-November), Gang-Nai
(Dec-January), Kwak Yatra and Chumpha (December), Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha
Around 70 percent of the total geographical area of Manipur is under forest
cover that houses amazing variety of floral and faunal species. Depending on
the heights of hills, the climatic condition of Manipur varies from tropical
to sub-alpine. The wet forests and pine forests are found between 900 to
2700 m above sea level and is home to rare plants as well as animal species.
Some of the faunal species which you can see in Manipur include Clauded
Leopard, Hoolock Gibbon, Sloe Loris, Spotted Linshang, Blyths Tragopan,
Burmese Pea-Fowl, Mrs. Hume's Barbacked Pheasant, Hornbills, Sangai (the
dancing deer), Salamande etc. Manipur is known all over the world for
housing 500 different varieties of orchids. Visit the Central Khonghampar
Orchidarium (7 kms away from Imphal) to see at least 110 species of Orchids.
March - April is the finest time to visit the Orchidarium as during
this period the orchids bloom at their very best.
Manipur - Adventure
Adventure sports have helped Manipur a lot to promote tourism. Over the
years several nodal agencies have been set up in the state to promote
adventure sports and to impart training as well. The indigenous martial arts
and games of the Manipur is world-famous and form an important part of the
tourist experience in this beautiful state. Some of the noted agencies of
Manipur include the Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association, the
Manipur Adventure and Allied Sports Institute and the Adventure Academy of
Manipur - Shopping
Shopping is an essential part of any trip to Manipur, so don't forget
to indulge yourself in some shopping. Of course, you will not find any big
air-conditioned shopping complex in the state, but whatever shopping options
available are enough to fulfil your shopping urge. Manipuri people are
traditional craftsmen, they make exquisite handicrafts and handlooms. The
traditional handwoven textiles are main shopping attraction of the state.
Among the variety of items, the Manipuri dance doll is a beautiful memento
to buy for family members and friends. While you shop in Manipur, check out
Cane and bamboo work, Wood carving, Hand-woven and embroidered textiles,
Shawls and blankets, Manipuri bed covers of Moirangfee and Mats made of
water reed. Visit the popular IMA 'Khwairamband Bazar' where you
will find all varieties of goods. Other noted shopping outlets are Handloom
House (Paona Bazar), Manipur Handlooms & Handicrafts Development
Corporation (Paona Bazar), Eastern Handlooms and Handicrafts (Paona Bazar)
and Manipur Development Society (Uripok).
has a moderate type of climate. April, May and June are summer months when
the temperature reaches to a maximum of 31oC. December, January and February
are winter months and temperature drops to a minimum of 4oC. The monsoon
season arrives the state in June and ends by October.
Best Time to Visit
October to March is the best time to visit Manipur.
Manipur - Transportation
Imphal airport is the main airport of Manipur,
which is 7 kms away from downtown. Flights of Indian Airlines, Alliance Air
and Jet Airways connect Imphal with Delhi (3 hrs 45 min), Kolkata (1 hour),
Guwahati (50 mnts), Jorhat (35 mnts), Aizawl (30 mnts) and Silchar (30
mnts). From the airport, taxis (about Rs. 150) and auto-rickshaws are
available for the city.
Nearest railhead is Dimapur or Manipur Road in
Nagaland at a distance of 215 km from Imphal. From Dimapur, buses are
available at regular intervals to Imphal, the journey takes around 8-9
hours. Jiribam on Manipur-Assam border is another railway station which is
225 kms away from Imphal.
Good network of roads connect Manipur with
important cities in the North East. From Silchar (Assam), you can reach the
capital city, Imphal by taking a road journey on National Highway 53. Buses
are available between Dimapur (Nagaland) and Imphal (215 kms) and from
Guwahati to Imphal (495 kms). Road distances of some of the important
destinations from Imphal are Kohima (145 kms), Kaziranga (346 kms), Aizawl
(374 kms), Itanagar (413 kms), Agartala (535 kms) and Shillong (595 kms).
Manipur is considered a sensitive border state of India, so foreigners
entering the state must posses a 'Restricted Area Permit' that can
be obtained from the Foreigners' Regional Registration Office in Delhi,
Mumbai, Kolkata or from certain other state goverment offices. One must
remember that permits are valid for only 10 days, and tourists must travel
only on tours arranged by authorized travel agents, in groups of four
people. Next, visitors are allowed to come to Imphal only by airways and
they are not be permitted to travel outside the capital city.