Keibul Lam Jao National Park, Manipur
The capital of Manipur, Imphal is a bustling minimetropolis
situated at a height of 790 m above sea level. It is connected
by road with Guwahati (Assam) through National Highway N.o.
39 and Silchar (Assam) through National Highway No. 53.Some
of the places to be visited are:
Shree Govindajee Temple
A historic Vaishnavite centre, adjoining the palace of Manipur's
former Maharajas, the Govindajee temple, is a simple yet beautiful
structure. Twin golden domes, a paved courtyard, and a large
raised congregation hall, form a perfect background for priests,
who descend the steps to accept the offerings from devotees
in the courtyard. The shrines of Krishna and Balram and Jagannath
flank the two sides of the presiding deity, Vishnu.
A unique all-women's market, having 3000 "imas" or mothers
who run the stalls, it is split into two sections on either
side of a road. Vegetables, fruits, fish and groceries are
sold on one side, while exquisite handlooms and household
tools are sold on the other. Not far away, is a street where
beautiful wicker works and basketry are sold.
The indomitable spirit of the Meitei and tribal martyrs, who
sacrificed their lives, while fighting the British in 1891,
is commemorated by this tall structure, at Bir Tikendrajit
Park in the heart of Imphal. In the heart of the city also
lies the War Cemetery,
that revives the memories of those British and Indian soldiers
who sacrificed their lives during World War II, which reached
the very doorstep of Imphal.
State Museum here is a virtual treasure vault,
housing works of art, archaeology, textiles, natural history
besides a portrait collection of the erstwhile rulers of the
state and armoury of the Royal army.
For shopping-enthusiasts a major attraction is the unique
Khwairamband Bazar, where
all the stall holders are women - almost 3000 Imas or mothers.
Surrounded by the New Manipur University
Complex about 8 kms from Imphal lies Langthabal
- the remains of an ancient palace, well planned temples and
7 kms from Imphal on Highway No. 39, is the Central Orchidarium,
which covers 200 acres and houses over 120 rare varieties
of orchids, which include almost a dozen endemic species.
The peak blooming season is April-May.
Manipur Zoological Gardens
6 km to the west of Imphal, at the foot of the pine growing
hillocks at Iroisemba, on the Imphal-Kangchup Road are the
Zoological gardens. The most important inhabitant of this
park, is the graceful Brow Antlered Deer, one of the rarest
species in the world.
Shopping in Manipur
Manipur specialises in handloom, which has evolved into a
cottage industry, and almost every household owns a loom,
with women churning out unique ethnic designs. Famous among
these designs is the Moirangphee pattern, said to have been
introduced by Princess Thoibi of Moirang; the Phanek or snake
design made up of red and black stripes, symbolic of snakes.
The ideal places to splurge on handlooms and handicraft items
are Paona Bazar, Manipur Handlooms Sales Emporium, Handloom
House and Tribal Emporium and Sangai Handloom, near Gandhi
27 kms from Imphal is Bishnupur, famous for the conical roofed
shrine, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Built in 1467, during the
reign of King Kiyamba, the temple is interesting for its antiquity
and Chinese design. Bishnupur is also renown for its stone
45 kms away is Moirang,
one of the principal centres of early Manipuri folk culture,
with an ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity Lord Thangjing.
In May, men and women attired brilliantly sing and dance in
honour of the Lord at the Moirang Lai Haraoba, a ritual dance
festival held annually. This town is important, historically,
as it was here that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's Indian National
Army hoisted its flag for the first time on Indian soil. A
fascinating collection of letters, photographs, records and
other memorabilia are on display at the INA
Lake and Sendra Island
32 km south of Imphal, the Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater
lake, in the north east region of India. From the tourist
bungalow set atop Sendra Island, visitors get a bird's-eye
view of life on the saucer-shaped lake - small islands of
floating weed, shimmering blue waters, labyrinthine boat routes
and fascinating water plants. The Sendra Tourist Home with
an attached cafeteria, at the centre of the lake, is an ideal
tourist spot. Boating and other water sports are being introduced
here. on the western fringes of the Loktak Lake, 40 kms south
of Imphal, lies the quaint Phubala
resort. It is joined to the mainland by a causeway.
The islands of Loktak, made of marsh and grass and root of
solid earth, are unique in that they 'float'.
It is a hillock, about 920 m above sea level, and a sacred
place of the Hindus. The sylvan surroundings, and the aura
of serenity that envelopes it, add to the solemnity of the
site. Kaina is only 29 kms from Imphal.
It is 156 kms from Imphal, and is the district headquarters
of the Tamenglong district. This region is known for its deep
gorges, mysterious caves, splendid waterfalls and exotic orchids.
The Tharon Cave, Burning Meadow, Zailad Lake and Barak Waterfalls
are some of the places of tourist interest.
Situated on the Indo-Myanmar Road, this idyllic spot is famous
for its pineapple slopes. There is also a tourist lodge, at
the fringe of the lake.
83 kms to the east of Imphal, this district headquarters of
Manipur East, is the highest hill station of Manipur. A centre
of the colourful warrior tribe Tangkhul Nagas, it is well
developed, and renowned for a peculiar type of landlily -
the Siroi, grown on the Siroi Hills. Siroi Hills and KhangKhui
Lime Caves are interesting places for excursions.
920 m above sea level and 16 kms to the west of Imphal, Kangchup
is a health resort on the hills, overlooking the Manipur valley.
With the construction of the Singda Dam, this place has become
a major tourist attraction.
Keibul Lam Jao National Park
This tiny park, perched on the edges of the Loktak Lake, is
home to the Sangai or Manipur brow-antlered deer (the endangered
dancing deer). It has the unique distinction of being the
only floating National Park in the world. Only 40 sq.km in
area, the park was once a hunting reserve. It was declared
a sanctuary in 1954 when a great number of the Sangai were
getting seriously decimated. The deer, noted for their curving
antlers, live on the floating vegetation on the Loktak Lake.
The best time to visit
the sanctuary is from December to May.
The nearest railhead is
at Dimapur (229 km).
The nearest airport is
at Imphal (32 km).
Government Rest House and Tourist Lodge are available for
Contact: A.C.F. Keibul
Lam Jao National Park, Manipur