Tourism in Manipur
Manipur, as the name suggests, 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’ heaven. 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: The city is mainly inhabited by the Meitei with a large migrant population from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, etc. and it is just 7 km (4.3 mi) 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) for the 1997 National Games 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, Ningthibi Collections and Leima Plaza.
Shree Govindajee Temple: This temple in Manipur diplomatically adjoins the palaces of the former rulers of the then kingdom, 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.
Keibul Lamjao National Park: Keibul Lamjao National Park, 48 km (30 mi) 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. It is the only floating national park of the world.
Loktak Lake: TLoktak Lake is a freshwater lake where most of the people of Manipur get their share of fish. 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 the fascinating way of life 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.
Churachandpur: Churachandpur is the second largest town in Manipur. The town is thriving business centre in the Khuga Valley. The main attraction of the district is the Khuga Dam, which is some 7 km south of the proper town.
Manipur Zoological Gardens: 6 km (3.7 mi) 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.
Loktak Lake and Sendra Island: 48 km (30 mi) 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 (18 mi) from Imphal.
Leimaram Waterfall: A popular tourist and picnic spot in Leimaram, 27 km (17 mi) from Imphal, in the Sadar hill area, Senapati district. Hundreds of tourist flocks to this place to enjoy the view of this waterfall and the natural beauty surrounding it. Consisting of three falls with the first fall about thirty meters high.
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.