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Things To Do In Imphal
The fascinating city of Imphal is the capital of the north-eastern state Manipur; an exquisitely beautiful place that is blessed with numerous historical wonders and immense cultural significance. A trip to Imphal is usually a rejuvenating experience for most travellers; the natural scenic views that surround you in the valley of the city is bound to fill you with delight and stay in your memories forever. If you crave bits of city life amidst your nature walk, you can always go back to the commercial thrum of Imphal’s buzzing streets and relish the diverse sights and sounds that will overwhelm you with feelings. A holiday spent in Imphal is a holiday spent well; a place where you get to be you and do the things that you love. Read on to know about some of our recommendations with the top things to do in Imphal.
Hiking in Imphal Valley
The draining of numerous rivers like Imphal river, Thoubal river, Khuga river and Sekmai river into the Imphal Valley has resulted in the valley almost turning into a canyon, which is truly a magnificent display of nature. Located just a couple of hours outside Imphal, tourists love to visit the valley for hiking expeditions and enjoying the splendid views of nature that surrounds them. You’ll ever find plenty of camera-worthy moments here that will help you keep memories of your adventure alive for a long time to come.
Visit Kangla Palace
The Palace of Kangla, also known as the Kangla Fort, used to be the royal seat of the Manipuri kingdom. The palace is situated along the banks of Imphal river and has remained open for public viewing since 2003. A tour of the monument includes visits to the palatial complex, religious sites inside the fort, and the burial ground of the royal family members. The entire vast complex is a tranquil spot to spend some time in and is very well-maintained, with a beautiful artificial lake called Nungjeng Pukhri being one of the highlights of the fort. There are several temples here that are as much of an architectural marvel as they are a magnificent beauty.
Boating on Loktak Lake
The largest freshwater lake in northeast India, Loktak Lake also holds the title of being one of the most well-known tourist spots in the state. The most distinctive feature of the lake is the numerous masses of organic vegetation, locally known as phumdis, that float on its surface and has given Loktak the nickname of the ‘floating lake’. Situated around 50 km away from Imphal, Loktak Lake lies in the Imphal Valley and receives regular inflow from the rivers and rivulets of Manipur. Boating through the labyrinth of the floating masses on the lake is a fun activity most tourists love to indulge in when visiting Imphal. There are plenty of camera-worthy moments worth capturing here, with the breath-taking backdrop of the scenic mountains and vibrant varieties of fishes that can be seen through the clear waters of the lake.
Safari Ride at Keibul Lamjao National Park
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is located near Loktak Lake and is a bustling sanctuary that is home to hundreds of species of animals and birds. It is primarily known for being the habitat of the indigenous and endangered Eld deer, locally known as Sangai. Keibul Lamjao initially started as a sanctuary, which was given the status of a national reserve in 1977 after the Eld deer was declared an endangered species. Always echoing with the chirping of the birds and the sounds of local wildlife, Keibul Lamjao National Park is also the only floating national park in the world, which attracts explorers and researchers from places near and far. The park covers an area of around 40 sq.km. and is home to more than 100 species of aquatic flora, including over 450 species of orchids alone.
Watch a Manipuri Dance Recital
While Manipuri dance is known well enough around the world, getting to witness the fascinating dance form in the land of its origin is sure to be a memorable experience on its own. One particular folk dance known as Thabal Chongba can be enjoyed during the nights of the Holi festival. Performed by boys and girls who dance around a bonfire, the entire spectacle is a mesmerizing watch. The famous dance RasLeela, a classic that depicts the culturally everlasting love of Lord Krishna and Radha also originated here, and the performance can be enjoyed in most auditoriums here.
Celebrate Colourful Local Festivals
Manipur is host to several festivals and fairs that are celebrated here annually. The most popular ones in Imphal are the Ratha Jatra, Lai Haraoba, Ningol Chakouba, Cheiraoba, Leela festival and the Sangai festival. Lai Haraoba is celebrated during the month of May, whereas Ratha Jatra can be enjoyed during June and July, lasting for 10 days. Both events are accompanied by a fascinating aura of merriment and ecstatic celebrations. The Sangai festival is a colourful one and features numerous local dance performances, musical numbers, handicrafts, sports and food events in different venues across Imphal.
Relish the Local Cuisine
Manipuri cuisine is a delicious mishmash of different ingredients that utilizes the perfect balance of meat and vegetables. The food is heavily influenced by Tibetan culture, which means you get to enjoy plenty of momos here. Do try the famous Manipuri thali when in Imphal; the perfect way to enjoy a little of several local dishes in just a single meal. Chak Angouba is a mixed vegetable rice dish; Tan is very much like a north Indian fried flatbread; Sana Thongba is also vegetarian dish mixed with cottage cheese and potatoes; Mario Nakuppi Pakora is a fritter often eaten as a snack; with Paaknam and Eromba being popular fish dishes.
Visit Manipur Zoological Gardens
Established in 1976, Manipur Zoological Gardens is situated about 8 km away from Imphal and specialises in breeding and preserving rare species. There are over 400 species of animals residing here, which include the Himalayan bear, flying squirrel, hoolock gibbon, slow loris, and the very popular and endangered Eld’s deer. The zoological garden is a fun place to spend a day with your family, especially if you’re travelling with children. Apart from extremely exciting activities like wildlife safaris, there’s also plenty of opportunities for bird watching here as well.
Local Handicraft Shopping
Every inch of Imphal is constantly buzzing with local markets and numerous shopping opportunities. Thangal bazaar, Paona bazaar, Kakwa bazaar are all great places to purchase locally made handicrafts, but the famous Ima Keithel market has to be the top choice among all tourists for experiencing the quintessential Manipuri shopping experience. Run exclusively by women and the largest of its kind in the world, this market has a wide range of items to choose from like handwoven fabrics, traditional jewellery and various handmade crafts. Another spot where you can find exquisite handicrafts and handwoven items like shawls and fabrics is the International Market in Moreh, near the India-Myanmar border.
Visit Manipur State Museum
The Manipur State Museum was established in 1969 and contains a variety of artefacts associated with Manipuri archaeology, natural history, ethnology and art. A lot of the items on display here once belonged to the Manipuri rulers, and exploring the different exhibits here is a great way to learn more about the region’s culture and traditions. The 78 feet long boat called Hiyag Hiren is one of the chief attractions of the museum, with ancient smoking pipes, tribal costumes and ornaments, musical instruments, 20th-century Manipuri art and a gold-plated human mask that deserve an honourable mention.