Manipur

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Manipur is a state in northeastern India, with the city of Imphal as its capital. Manipur is bounded by the Indian states of Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south and Assam to the west; it also borders Myanmar to the east. It covers an area of 22,347 square kilometres (8,628 sq mi).

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Manipur is one of the eight states of Northeast India, and one of the Seven Sister States. The state is bounded by Nagaland in the north, by Mizoram in the south, by Assam in the west, and by the borders of the country Myanmar in the east as well as in the south. The state capital of Manipur is Imphal. The state lies at latitude of 23°83’N – 25°68’N and longitude of 93°03’E – 94°78’E. The total area covered by the state is 22,327 km². The capital lies in an oval-shaped valley of approximately 700 square miles surrounded by blue mountains and is at an elevation of 790 metres above the sea level. The slope of the valley is from north to south. The presence of the mountain ranges not only prevents the cold winds from the north from reaching the valley but also acts as a barrier to the cyclonic storms originating from the Bay of Bengal.

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Transportation

Tulihal Airport, the airport of Imphal, connects the state capital with Delhi, Calcutta and Guwahati. National Highway NH-39 links Manipur with the rest of the country through the railway stations at Dimapur in Nagaland at a distance of 215 km. from Imphal. Highway NH-53 connects Manipur with another railway station at Silchar in Assam, which is 269 km. away from Imphal. The road network of Manipur, with a length of 7170 km, connects all the important towns and distant villages.

Tourism

Manipur as the name suggest is a land of jewels. Its rich culture excels in every aspects as in martial arts, dance, theater and sculpture. The charm of the place is the greenery with the moderate climate making it a tourists’ haven. The beautiful and seasonal Shirui Lily at Ukhrul (district), Sangai (Brow antlered deer) and the floating islands at Loktak Lake are few of the rare things found in Manipur. Polo, which can be called a royal game, also originated from Manipur. Some of the main tourist attractions are:

Imphal (Capital)

The city is mainly inhabited by the Meitei and it is just 7 km from the airport of Manipur (Tulihal Airport). The district is divided into East and West and the recently constructed sports complex (Khuman Lampak Sports Complex) is also one of the attractions comprising of every thing, from a cyclists velodrome to the main stadium. Most of the imported goods are sold here at its Paona Bazar, Gam-bir Sing Shopping Complex and Leima Plaza.

Keibul Lamjao National Park

Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km away from Imphal is an abode of, rare and endangered species of Brow Antlered deer (also known as Sangai). This ecosystem is home to 17 rare species of mammals. The greenery of the place and the moderate temperature makes a pleasant experience to visit.

Loktak Lake (Freshwater Lake)

Loktak Lake is the lake where most of the people of Manipur get their share of fish meat. The special treat to watch are the floating islands popularly known as Phumdi which is made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. With a nominal fee, people can hire small boats and see this fascinating way of living on these floating islands. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species to thrive on. It is in the district of Moirang. Etymology of Loktak is “Lok = stream and tak= the end” (End of the Streams).

Manipuri Dance (Ras Lila)

A classical form of Manipuri dance based and inspired by the theme of Lord Krishna and his beloved, Radha love story and the devotion of the Gopis (companions) towards Lord Krishna. This graceful and slow movement of the dance makes it one of the most acclaimed classical dances of India. The costume is elegant, as there are nicely embroidered clothes that give luster to the beauty of the art.

Shree Govindajee Temple

This temple in Manipur diplomatically adjoins the palaces of the former rulers of the then kingdom. The temple is dull in design with gold domes, a paved court and a large, raised congregation hall. The deity in the center has other idols of Radha Govinda, Balaram and Krishna and Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on either side of it.

Chorus Repertory Theater

The auditorium of the theater is situated on the out-skirts of Imphal and the campus stretches for about 2 acres (8,100 m2). It has housing and working quarters to accommodate a self-sufficiency of life. The theater association has churned out internationally acclaimed plays like Chakravyuha and Uttarpriyadashi. Its’ 25 years of existence in theater had disciplined its performers to a world of excellence. Chakravyuha taken from the Mahabharat epic had won Fringe Firsts Award, 1987 at the Edinburgh International Theater Festival. Chakravyuha deals with the story of Abhimanyu (son of Arjun) of his last battle and approaching death whereas Uttarpriyadashi is an 80-minute exposition of Emperor Ashoka’s redemption.

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Other places of interest are

War cemeteries

Commemorating the memories of the British and Indian soldiers who died during the Second World War, these cemeteries are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Serene and well maintained, the graves carry little stone markers and bronze plaques, recording the sacrifice of those gallant soldiers.

Khonghampat Orchidarium

7 km from Imphal, on Highway No. 39 is the Central Orchidarium, which covers 200 acres (0.81 km2) and houses over 110 rare varieties of orchids, which include almost a dozen endemic species. The peak blooming season is March – April.

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. Not to be missed is an opportunity to see the graceful brow antlered deer (Sangai) one of the rarest species in the world, in sylvan surroundings.

Moirang

45 km from Imphal, the town is one of the main centres of early Meitei folk culture with the ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity Lord Thangjing, situated here. In the month of May, men and women, dressed in colourful traditional costumes, sing and dance in honour of the Lord at the Moirang “Lai Haraoba” which is a ritual dance festival held each year. The town also has a special place in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. It was at Moirang that the flag of the Indian National Army was first unfurled on April 14, 1944.

Loktak Lake and Sendra Island

48 km from Imphal, lies the largest fresh water lake in the North East India, the Loktak Lake, a veritable miniature inland sea. From the Tourist Bungalow set atop Sendra Island, visitors get a bird’s eye view of life on the Lake-small islands that are actually floating weed on which live the Lake people, the shimmering blue waters of the Lake, labyrinthine boat routes and colourful water plants. The Sendra Tourist Home with an attached cafeteria in the middle of the lake is an ideal tourist spot.

Kaina

It is a hillock about 921 metres above sea level and a sacred place of the Manipuri Hindus. So goes the story that one night, Shri Govindajee appeared in the dream of his devotee, Shri Jai Singh Maharaja and asked the saintly king to install in a temple, an image of Shri Govindajee. It was to be carved out of a jack fruit tree, which was then growing at Kaina. The scenery in this place is charming and the hill shrubs and natural surroundings give the place a religious atmosphere. It is only 29 km from Imphal.

Khongjom

36 km on the Indo-Myanmar road, a war broke out between Manipur and British India in 1891. It is here that Major General Paona Brajabashi, one of the great warriors of Manipur proved his valor against the superior force of the invading British Army in 1891. A War Memorial has been constructed on the top of the Kheba Hill. 22 April is celebrated as Khongjom Day every year and is a state holiday.

Tengnoupal

69 km from Imphal. The highest point on the Indo-Myanmar Road, from here, you can have a full view of the valley of Myanmar.

Ukhrul

83 km to the east of Imphal, this district headquarters of Manipur East is the highest hill station of the state. A centre of the colourful warrior tribe Tangkhul Nagas, it is well developed and famous for its peculiar type of land-lily, the Shirui, grown in the Shirui hills. Shirui Hills and Khangkhui Lime Caves are interesting places for excursions.

Manipur State Museum

The interesting museum near the Polo Ground in the heart of Imphal has a fairly good display of Manipur’s Tribal heritage and a collection of portraits of Manipur’s former rulers.

Maibam Lotpa Ching

It is a hillock about 16 km from Imphal on Tiddim Road. It is a thrilling spot where a fierce battle took place between the British and the Japanese force in World War II and regarded as a holy place. There is also a monument in memory of the Japanese Martyrs who sacrificed their lives in this fierce battle.

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District(s)         9

Established       21 January 1972

Capital             Imphal

Largest city       Imphal

Governor          Gurbachan Jagat

Chief Minister   Okram Ibobi Singh

Legislature (seats)         Unicameral (60)

Population

• Density          2,388,634 (22nd)

• 107 /km2 (277 /sq mi)

Language(s)      Meeteilon

Time zone         IST (UTC+5:30)

Area     22,347 km2 (8,628 sq mi)

ISO 3166-2     IN-MN

Website            manipur.nic.in