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Tourist Places To Visit In Imphal
The capital city of Manipur and one of the most magical places in the whole of northeast India, Imphal is a multifaceted city that combines a fascinating mixture of cultural and historical treasures with exquisite natural wonders that surround Imphal on all sides. The forests, rivers, valleys and hills offer much-needed solace from a busy life, and the bustling city streets of the town area will bring you back the excitement after your mind and body is completely rejuvenated. Imphal is nothing short of an explorer’s dream destination and is packed with enough places to enjoy irrespective of how long you decide to stay. Here are some of our recommendations with the top places to visit when in Imphal.
Once the royal seat of Manipur, Kangla Palace, also referred to as Kangla Fort, is now a popular tourist spot in Imphal after it was opened to public viewing in 2003. The visually enticing archaeological remains of the fort complex contain numerous points of attraction for the tourists, like the religious pilgrimage sites and temples, the serene sacred pond known as Nungjeng Pukhri, several stone inscriptions, and a burial ground where all the royal members are buried. Half-day tours of Kangla Palace can be arranged easily in the city and are a great way to spend an afternoon here.
Manipur Zoological Gardens
The Manipur Zoological Garden is situated about 8 km away from Imphal and will particularly appeal to children. Established in 1976, the zoological garden specialises in breeding and preserving rare species of birds and animals, and is home to almost 400 varieties of wildlife. The Himalayan bear, flying squirrel, slow loris, leopard, hoolock gibbon and the famous and indigenous Eld’s deer are some of the most popular residents of the garden. Visitors can enjoy different activities like safari rides and bird watching amidst the divine comfort of the garden’s natural beauty.
Keibul Lamjao National Park
Keibul Lamjao National Park is located a little distance away from Imphal but is conveniently accessible from the capital. The park is home to more than 400 species of animals and as many as 55 species of birds. An indigenous and endangered species of deer known as the brow-antlered deer, or Eld’s deer, is the most popular resident of the national park. The ambience of the Keibul Lamjao park is filled with different sounds of nature, and its proximity to the floating Loktak Lake makes its surroundings even more magical. Wildlife safaris are a popular activity worth trying here, with bird watching being a favourite among nature lovers as well.
Three Mothers Art Gallery
Three Mothers Art Gallery is a museum located within the premises of the Thangapat Mapal Palace Compound. The gallery is run by the artist Gurumayum Shyamsunder Sharma and is situated within a single room that occupies around 1000 sq. ft. of space. The art gallery-cum-museum was established in the year 1978 and is named after three symbolic mothers – the motherland, the mother of self and the mother tongue. The exhibits in the gallery showcase the entire history, culture and heritage of Manipur through Driftwood sculpture art, which is the creation of all artwork through just carved tree roots. Some of the most noteworthy items in the gallery are carvings of famous personalities, animal and mythological figurines, battle scenes and even indigenous wildlife.
The largest freshwater lake in Manipur, Loktak Lake receives a large amount of tourist footfall all through the year for its unique features and tranquil beauty. The most defining feature of Loktak Lake is the large islands of organic vegetation that float over different areas of the lake; these floating islands sustain a lot of local fishermen and their villages. Boating through the labyrinths of these islands and navigating through these pristine waters is a popular activity here. The scenic surroundings and the colourful fishes in the water only add to the fascinating picture that makes up Loktak Lake.
Manipur State Museum
Visiting the local museums of a region is one of the best ways to discover its culture, lifestyles and history. The Manipur State Museum houses a wide range of artefacts that depict a lot of information about Manipur’s natural and art history, archaeology and ethnology. A lot of articles on display here used to belong to old Manipuri rulers. The 78-feet-long boat known as Hiyag Hiren is one most important exhibits of the museum, including a gold-plated human mask, some tribal costumes and ornaments, ancient smoking pipes, 20th-century Manipuri art, musical instruments, and many other archaeological discoveries. The museum also organizes numbers of programs of nature conservation every year, which often include biological specimens as well.
Ima Keithel Market
The Ima Keithel Market is one of the most well-known tourist spots in the state and attracts visitors irrespective of whether they love to shop or not. The story of Ima Keithel market is a story of empowerment; more than a century old, the market is run exclusively by women and features a number of items on sale like handwoven Manipuri fabrics, handmade jewellery and ornaments and a wide variety of other handicrafts. The market is also one of the largest of its kind, where more than 3000 women set up stall here each day and work to earn a hard day’s honest living. It is a great spot to not just shop, but also take memorable pictures of the fascinating place and the interesting Manipuri motifs that can be seen all over the buildings.
Khonghampat Orchidarium is one of the most exquisite places in Imphal worth visiting. A lustrous garden that is filled with more than a hundred varieties of just orchids, the orchidarium is spread over 200 acres of land and receives large crowds of tourists almost all through the year. Some of the most beautiful varieties include the Cymbidium, Cattleya, Vanda and the Dendrobium. The state forest department is responsible for the maintenance of the park and does a very good job of it. Spring season is when the orchids are in full bloom, which is the best time to visit and enjoy the orchidarium.
Imphal Polo Ground/Mapal Kangjeibung
Not a lot of people know that the game of polo originated from the Manipuri game known as Sagol Kangei. The Imphal Polo Ground has gained popularity for this very reason and is also reckoned to be the world’s oldest polo ground. Game season in Manipur is between October to May and you will find plenty of opportunities to watch a game of polo on your visit to the city during these months. An international tournament is organised in the month of November during the famous Sangai festival; the small yet agile breed of the Manipuri polo pony is the usual choice for all teams who participate in the tournament.
The INA Memorial situated at Moirang is a replica of the memorial built at Singapore. At one time, it was the unofficial Indian National Army headquarters during the era of British rule in the country. Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose served as the army commander of the Indian Army during the second world war; thousands of soldiers had fought alongside the Japanese imperial army and lost their lives during the Battle of Imphal in Manipur. The memorial today serves to honour these soldiers, who are also buried here and holds an imposing statue of Netaji. The museum here holds a brilliant collection of articles used by the army during the war, including arms and ammunition from this time as well.