Manipur is the land of folklores, warriors and culture. And it holds a special place among those who- love literature and history. Rabindranath Tagore immortalized Manipur and it’s mythical warrior princess Chintrangada in his famous dance drama ‘ Chitrangada’. During world war- II, Japanese forced was lost for the first time at state capital Imphal, to the allied forces- this incident also put Manipur in a the world map.
In recent years, for time and again, Manipur has been in the news- either for human rights violation or military insurgence or the protest of women of Manipur in streets. But besides that, Manipur is a beautiful place that has many nature’s tricks up to its sleeves that could make the explorer inside you happy.
To begin the journey of Manipur, you should start the it from Imphal. The beautiful state capital can surmise the entire beauty of Manipur, if you are hard pressed for time to explore the other parts of the state.
How to reach Imphal
Imphal International Airport is well connected with cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Guawahati and other north eastern cities like Agartala, Aizwal, Silchar and Jorhat. Alliance air, Indigo, Jet airlines etc. operate flights here.
Imphal is not connected with rail lines. To get it here by train, you need to reach at the nearest railway station Dimapur first. From there, you can take cab and it may take approx. 7 hours to reach Imphal.
Imphal is connected to Silchar, Dimapur, Aizwal, and Guwahati through national highway. From there, you can reach here via buses and taxis.
Places to see at Imphal
1 Kangla Fort – the fort of Manipur’s royal family, that later ruined by British force and years; is located at the the heart of the city. The fort is unique in structure as it has a bare, minimalist look that is so unlike of a royal residence. There are deities, royal burial grounds, temples and museum inside the fort. Visit it if you are interested in a slice of history that is dated back since BC.
2 Women’s market ( Ima Keithel)– the only market in the world that is run by around 3000 mothers or ‘Imas’- Ima Keithel is a bazaar to visit for having an unique experience. It gives you a pleasure by noting that Manipur society gives such high respect and power to women.
3 Loktak Lake– world’s only floating lake and the biggest fresh water lake in north-eastern India. Though the unique, floating masses on the top of the lake have been ruined to some extent- the beauty and the serenity of ambience will take your breath away.
Apart from these, Imphal has many tourist hotspots like INA memorial, Manipur state Museum, Imphal War Cemetery, ISKON temple to name a few.
What to eat
Manipur is known to use bamboo shoots extensively and uniquely in many dishes. Apart from that, Chinese and Tibetan foods take precedents here in the local food culture.
Where to shop
The local bazaars are good to buy authentic and regional items. The Paona market is special among them.
The Classic hotel is probably the best 4-star hotel in Imphal with all the modern amenities and facilities.Hotel Bheigo and Hotel Yaisana are good options for budget travelers.Hotel Gaylord is one of the cheapest accommodations in Imphal.
- Drink the home-brewing rice wine and beer that are intrinsic parts of Manipur.
- Take a morning walk at Kangla Fort for a refreshing experience.
- Visit Shree Govindjee Temple to offer prayers- it is the royal temple of Manipur and a part of its heritage.
- Take part in a guided battlefield tour around Imphal and Kohima.
· Don’t try to go to remote places that are restricted and politically disturbed.
· Don’t hurt the local sentiments through- your behavior, words or attires.
Info for travelers
- Avoid night travels. Finish all your sight-seeing during day time.
- Don’t go to rural areas prior any homework, for trekking or any other purpose. Limit your stay around Imphal.
- If possible, come to Imphal by air. It’s by far the safest mode of travelling to this state.
- Other than that, enjoy your stay at Imphal. It’s the place to be- if you want to explore beauty, ancient history and the remnants of battles.