Manipur Tourism Information
Manipur, literally meaning a ‘jewelled land” is studded with lush hills, emerald green valleys, turquoise lakes and deep dark woods. Lord Irwin described it as the ‘Switzerland of India’, while Nehruji, called it the “Jewel of India”. Manipur is also proud of its rich culture and heritage. It epitomises beauty and grace through Manipuri, the world famous classical dance form and the equally captivating tribal dances noted for their colourful costumes. The exquisite handlooms and handicrafts of the State demonstrate the artistic and creative outlook of the manipuri’s. Manipur is are also known for their rich sports and martial traditions. It is believed that the sport of Polo originated here as Songol Kangjei (Manipuri Polo). Mukna Kangjei (wrestling Hockey), Yubi Lakpir (Manipuri Rugby) are some of the other popular indigenous sports of Manipur.
The beautiful capital city nestling in the heart of an oval valley is said to be founded in 3rd century BC, making it one of the oldest state capitals of the country. This mini metropolis is a fascinating blend of Indian and multiple ethno cultural traditions and is emerging as important tourist destination of the region.
The Old Royal Palace
It lies in the centre of the town and has relics of an old fortress and a palace.
Shree Govindji Temple
The sacred shrine near the Royal Palace is dedicated to Lord Krishna, as Govindji. It has twin golden domes, a paved courtyard and a great assembly hall. The image of the principal deity is carved oty of a jackfruit tree in response to a dream which Rajarshi Bhagyachandra had in the 18th century. The presiding deity is flanked by the shrines of Krishna, Balarma and Jagannath. Spell binding Ras Leela dance performances are held at the shrine on special occasions.
Khwairamband Bazar or IMA Market
The unique shopping mall is the largest exclusive women’s market. There are over 3000 Imas (mothers), who run the stalls located on either side of the road. It is an excellent place to buy exquisite handloom and handicraft goods, as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and other grocery items.
This memorial pillar is located at the Bir Tikendrajit Park in the centre of the town. It was built in the memory of the indomitable spirit of the Meitei and tribal martyrs who laid their lives while fighting the British in 1891.
The cemeteries commemorate the British and Indian soldiers who laid their lives during the World War II.
Manipur State Museum
It is located near Polo Ground and has a good collection of art, archaeology, natural history, geology, textiles, costumes, etc.
Central Khonghampat Orchidarium (7km)
It sprawls over an area of 200 acres along the NH 39 and treasures the spectacular wealth of Manipur orchids.
Manipur Zoological Gardens (6km)
The zoo at Iroishemba on Imphal Kangchup Road is famous for the endangered Sangai or brow antlered deer.
The historic site on a hill overlooking the Manipur University teems with relics of a palace, ceremonial houses and temples.
Imphal Tour Information
The picturesque town on the Tiddim Road is known for the Bishnu (Vishnu) temple built in 1467, during the reign of King Kiyamba. Very thin bricks have been used in the construction of the shrine, which is said to be influenced by the Chinese.
The health resort affords a fine view of the Manipur valley and distant mountains.
It lies on the Indo-Myanmar border near Vaithou Lake and has a legendary hill top temple. The performances of Manipuri dance are worth watching over here. The village is also famous for pineapples.
This most popular and highest hill station of Manipur is famous for the lovely Siroi lilies, and the lime caves of kangkhui located nearby.
The lovely fresh, water lake, 45km from Imphal is the biggest and one of the most enchanting lakes of the North-east. It is virtually an inland sea and covers an area of about 312 sq km during the monsoons and even during the driest period it extends upto 104 sq km. The lake has shallow bowl shaped islands of floating weeds called as ‘Phumdi’, where fishermen live and use nets to farm fish and water chestnuts. This paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts has a rich variety of flora and fauna. The Sendra Island in the heart of the lake has a tourist home and affords a fine view of the lake. On the southern part of the lake is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, the world’s only floating National Park. It is the natural habitat of the rare Sangai, the ‘dancing’ deer. The best season to visit the park is December – May.
This early Meitei cultural centre on the western fringe of Loktak Lake has an ancient temple of the forest god, Thangjing. The lai Haraoba ritual dance festival is held here in May in honour of the deity. During the World War II, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose hoisted the flag of the Indian National Army (INA) here on April 14, 1944, for the first time on Indian soil. There is an INA Memorial and Museum.