Wild life

Keibul Lam Jao National Park, Manipur

Imphal

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.

Ima Market

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.

Shaheed Minar

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 ceremonial houses.

Khomghampat Orchidarium

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 Memorial.

Other Places

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 production.

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 Museum.

Loktak 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'.

Kaina

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.

Tamenglong


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.

Waithou Lake

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.

Ukhrul

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.

Kangchup

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 accomodation.

Contact: A.C.F. Keibul Lam Jao National Park, Manipur


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