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East India - Manipur

 

Andaman and Nicobar         Arunachal Pradesh        Assam        Bihar        Manipur        Meghalaya

Mizoram      Nagaland      Orissan      Sikkim     Tripura       West Bengal

Imphal

 

Martial arts and a demure dance. 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 softedged grace so that it is impossible to know where one ends and the other begins. The so- called Manipur valley is really a plateau about 700 meteres high, watered by rivers threading out of the dark, mist-topped, ranges. Bright green fields stretch all the way to the distant mountains. And the character of the terrain changes from parts resembling the delicate valley of Kangra, north of the plains of Punjab, to that of the flat-sub-mountain lands of Kerala deep in the warm south of India. Like the Nair women of Kerala the women of Manipur are trained in the fierce local Martial art known as Thang-ta. Both the men and women are dressed in black and they wield their swords like slicing, flashing, propellers; and when their swords clash, sparks fly. They look like lithe, vicious, felines. And all the while, drums grumble and murmur ominously.
 

In marked contrast, is the delicate, marionette-like, Manipuri dance. The choreographers of this very feminine dance must ensure that the faces of the women are veiled at all times, that there is no gesture or eye-contact between the dancers and their audience, that the movements of the lower part of the body are minimal, that the bottom half of the costumes are heavy and concealing, and that the mudra gestures and movements merely suggest the relationship between the dancers and their Divine Master, Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna in his manifestation as Govindji is the presiding deity in the revered Sri Govindji Temple with its twin golden domes. The principal deity here is carved out of a jackfruit tree in response to a dream which Rajarshi Bhagyachandra had in the 18th century. Older forms of worship, however, continue to exist in the veneration of forest deities known as Umang Lais. They are represented as metal masks, similar to the deities of other Himalayan people such as the Himachalis of Kulu. Thus Imphal gives a fascinating insight into an archetypal Indian trend: multiple ethno - cultural streams merging into patterns like a gently blended water-colour.

Access

  • Nearest airport and railhead is Dimapur 215 km.

  • Regular state transport buses ply from Dimapur.

Accomodation

Accommodation is available in a few budget hotels

Imphal

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.
 

POPULATION : 4 Lakhs-Imphal; 18.27 Lakhs-Manipur (1991).
AREA : 29.57 Sq Km
ALTITUDE : 790 metres above at MSL.
RAINFALL : 1980.8 mm (May to October).
CLIMATE : 32.0 Deg. C. (Mean Max.); 0.0 Deg. C. (Mean Min.).
BEST SEASON : October to February.
LANGUAGES SPOKEN : Manipuri, Hindi and English.
 

TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATIONS :

  • AIR : Indian Airlines flights connect Imphal with Delhi via Guwahati on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays. Imphal is also connected with Calcutta via Agartala and Silchar by Indian flights.

  • RAIL : The nearest railhead is Dimapur-215 km.

  • ROAD : 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.

  • BUS SERVICE : Nagaland State Transport runs a semi-luxury bus daily from Dimapur to Imphal (9 hrs). The Manipur State Transport also runs a service, BLUE HILLS TRAVEL, with its centre of operations in Guwahati, with luxury buses connecting all the State capitals of the North-Eastern region.
    Unmetered taxi,Autorickshaw & Cycle Rickshaw available here

PLACES OF INTEREST

  • SHRI GOVINDAJEE TEMPLE: This temple, adjoining the palace of the formar rulers of Manipur, is a historic centre for Vaishnavites.

  • KHWAIRAMBAND BAZAR : 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. 1000 to 1630 hours. Closed on Sundays and Hholidays. Entrance : Adult- Re. 1, Child-00.50.

  • 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.

  • WAR CEMETERIES : 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 kms off Imphal, towards the west, is this zoological garden at Iroishemba on the Imphal-Kangchup road.

  • KHONGHAMPAT ORCHIDARIUM : The Orchid Yard of the Forest Department, on National Highway No.39, about 7 kms from Imphal, is another place of interest. Peak season is April-May.

  • SAHEED MINAR : 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.

  • LANGTHABAND : 8 km down the Indo-Burma road lies this small hill feature with the relics of an old historic palace.

EXCURSIONS

  • BISHNUPUR (27 KM.) : The single-celled, conical roofed temple of Bishnu.

  • PHUBALA (40 KM): To the south of Imphal on the western fringes of Loktak Lake lies this charming resort. Acco : Tourist Home. Rs. 25 (S), 50 (D).
    Resv.: Deputy Director of Tourism, Govt.of Manipur, Imphal, Tel. 220802.

  • MOIRANG (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. Moirang offers I.N.A. memorialwith the Statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

  • LOKTAK LAKE (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.

  • SENDRA (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. Acco : Tourist Home. Rs. 25 (S), 50 (D). Resv: Deputy Director of Tourism, Govt. of Manipur, Imphal, Tel. 220802.

  • 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.

  • CHURACHANDPUR (59 KM.) : District H. Q. of Manipur south and an advanced tribal ( Kuki ) town where local hanicrafts are available in the market. Acco : Tourist Bunglow. Rs. 50 (D). Resv. : Deputy Director of Tourism, Govt. of Manipur, Imphal, Tel. 220802; Hotel Rajdoot, Rs. 30-80 (S), 50- 150 (D); Hotel International, Rs. 40 (S), 70 (D), 110 (T), 150 (4 Bed); Green Hotel, Rs. 20 (S), 40 (D); Hotel Eden, Rs. 25-30 per bed.

  • KANGCHUP (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. Acco : Inspection Bungalow.

  • KOUBRU HILL (50 KM.) : 8404 feet high Koubru Hill is a pilgrim centre.

  • MAO (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.

  • UKHRUL (83 KM) : To the east of Imphal,the district H.Q. of Manipur East is the highest hill station of Manipur. Acco : Circuit House. Rs.25 (S), 50 (D). Resv. : D.C. Ukhrul; Hotel Iceland, Rs.75 (S), 120 (D), 150 (T); Hotel Rebekah, Rs. 25 / bed; Hotel Soso, Rs. 25 / bed. & Other hotels.

  • KAINA (29 KM.) : A beautiful hillock, can be reached by bus via Thoubal. Acco : Kaina Tourist Home. Rs. 25 (S), 50 (D). Resvn. : Deputy Director of Tourism, Govt. of Manipur, Imphal, Tel. 220802.

  • WAITHOU LAKE (16 KM): On Indo-Burma road by the side of the lake is a picturesque village fam- ous for its pineapples. Acco : Waithou Tourist Home. Rs. 25 (S), 50 (D). Reservation : Deputy Director of Tourism, Govt. of Manipur, Tel. 220802.

  • KHONGJOM (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. Acco. : Khongjom Tourist Home. Rs. 25 (S), 50 (D). Resvn : Dy. Director of Tourism, Govt. of Manipur, Imphal, Tel.: 220802.

  • TENGNOUPAL (69 KM): Highest point of the Imphal-Burma road and from here one can have a full view of the valley of Manipur. MOREH (110 KM.) : The border town of India on the Indo-Burma road. Acco. : Forest Bunglow. Rs.20/bed. Resv : Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Forest Department, Imphal. P.W.D. Inspection Bunglow. Rs. 25/bed. Resv : Executive Engineer P.W.D., Khuyathong Bazar, Imphal. Hotel Eastern Palace. Rs. 40 (S), 75 (D),100 (T); Rachna Hotel. Rs. 25 (S),50 (D); River View. 30 (S),50 (D). Hotel Imphal. Rs. 20 (S), 40 (D), 15 / bed in the Dormitory.

TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE

  • GOVT. OF INDIA TOURIST OFFICE, Jail Road, Imphal 795001. Tel. 221131.

  • TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE, Directorate of Tourism, Govt. of Manipur

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  Information provided by Department of Tourism. Ministry of Tourism and Culture. Government of India.
 

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