Known as the jewel of India, this north eastern state is a must visit for nature lovers. The state is rich in both nature and culture. A princely state during British raj is birthplace of polo and Raas Leela. Manipur is the state that connects India to Southeast Asia. Here are a few must of things when in Manipur- Seek blessings at Vishnu temple, Bishnupur- Bishnupur is famous for Lord Vishnu temple that was constructed in 15th century. It is the oldest brick temple in Manipur. The roof of the temple, unlike other temples has a cone shaped roof. The temple is visited by religious devotees and also history lovers. The temple has strong Chinese influence in its architecture. Experience the beauty of Loktak lake-Also known as the floating lake; it is the largest freshwater lake in Manipur. Located in Bishnupur, this lake is a nature’s marvel as floating diverse masses of vegetation and other organic matter also known as phumdis in traditional language, can be seen. Visit the Indian stone hedge Willong khullen- This small village is India’s very own stonehenge. The village is not visited much by the locals also and is now slowly gaining popularity among tourists. There are over 130 naturally occurring stone structures in the village of Willong which are around 10 meters high and 1 meter wide. No public transportation is available and reaching this village can be a tough task, but worth the effort. Say hi to animals in Manipur zoological garden- A must visit for kids, this zoological park is home to over 350 species of birds and animals. Established in 1972, this park spreads over 8 hectares and hosts the rare species of bird Nongin. The best time to visit this park is from October to March. Ancient village of Andro- A small village situated around 25 kms away from Imphal, this village is home to various ancient tribes and their traditions. The mutual museum and doll house display the rich art and cultural traditions of these tribes. Participate in Hiyang tanaba – This ancient boat race is conducted every year in Imphal and is of religious significance. The people participating in the festivities offer Heigru, a fruit to the supreme creator Lord Bijoy Govinda.
See the Raas leela- This beautiful dance depicting the love between Radha-Krishna and their companions is a must watch as Manipur where this dance form originated.
Places to see in Manipur
Imphal- The capital city of the Manipur is not only known for the beautiful valleys and hills but also for the rich heritage. It is one such city where it seems time has come to stand still. You can still see the ancient relics, temples amidst pine trees. This town is just like a scene from a painting. Some of the must visit places in Imphal are Keibul zoological garden, Matai garden and Sirohi national park. Ukhrul- located around 84 kms away from Imphal, this small picturesque town is a delight to your senses. There are numerable valleys,hills and waterfalls that will captivate your attention. A must visit for nature lover and people looking for peace from their hectic lifestyle. Khayang peak, Nillai tea estate and Ango ching are popular among people visiting this town. Bishnupur- one of the most visited place in Manipur, this town is visited by religious devotees from all across the country due to large temples. The temples are not only of religious significance but also for their architectural style. Radha shyam temple, Rasmancha, Sridhara temple and dal madol are a must visit. Thoubal- another beautiful place in Manipur, this town is famous among people who are looking for some adventure. There are numerous unexplored trek trails which will rejuvenate your senses and relax your mind. Banyan tress is found all over the town. Thoubal Lake, people’s museum and Ikop Lake are not to be missed.
Food and Shopping in Manipur
Manipuri cuisine is typically very spicy; chilies are used more than garam masala. The basic diet of Manipuri people is rice, fish, potato and green leafy vegetables. Each season has its own set of vegetables that are cooked.
What differentiates Manipuri cuisine from other cuisines is use of fresh aromatic herbs and almost no oil in their preparations. Some of the traditional Manipuri dishes are Eromba boiled vegetables with chillies and fish, Singju a salad of banana leaves, bamboo shoots, coriander leaves and red kidney beans, ooti manipuri vegetarian dish and Nganam pan seared fish Shopping
As Manipur is fast becoming a tourist spot, more shops are springing in this north eastern state. From traditional woolen clothes to handmade items there is something for everyone to buy.
Paona bazaar in Imphal is a shopper’s delight as everything from handmade stoles, silk saris to bamboo artifacts is available here, at a reasonable price. Ema Bazaar is a one of a kind market in India. All 3000 shopkeepers in the oldest Manipuri market are women. You can find everything in this market; from vegetables to woolen clothes to bamboo and metal items.
How to reach Manipur
State government buses of Nagaland and Manipur ply daily between neighbouring cities of Aizawl, Kohima, Shillong and Agartala. The tickets start from rs 75. Private buses are also option that tourists can take. By Taxi
Cabs are a good option if one is driving from neighboring states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam or Meghalaya. The roads are well constricted though break down facilities are negligible. By Train
Manipur is not connected by train. The nearest railway station is Dimapur Nagaland which is around 200 kms i.e. around 8 hours drive, away from Imphal. The next option is to take a train to Guwahati and then reach imphal by a road. By Air
The airport is mere 6 kms away from the capital city of Imphal. Flights from Delhi operate twice a week to Imphal, from Kolkata 6 days a week and from Silchar 4 days a week. Buses and cars are available from the airport to help you reach your desired destination.
Nearest airport : Imphal international airport Manipur Distance from nearby Places Manipur from Guwahati: 500 Kilometers Manipur from Silchar: 248 Kilometers Manipur from Nagaland: 300 Kilometers Manipur from Aizawl: 410 Kilometers Manipur from Tripura:430 km