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Tourist Places To Visit In Manipur
Manipur, the ‘jewelled land’ of northeast India, is surrounded by magnificent high hilltops and flaunts a gorgeous valley right in its centre. Splendour and beauty are synonymous with Manipur’s natural wonders, making it one of the most picture-perfect holiday destinations in the country. Travellers seeking the solace of a hideout within the comforts of nature love Manipur for its unperturbed ambience. This multi-lingual, immensely cultured and vibrant state is filled with plenty of places to explore and little worlds to discover. And if you want to delve a little deeper, getting to know the natives and spending time with them is one of the best ways to learn the true essence of Manipur. Read on to find out about the best places to visit when in Manipur.
Imphal is usually everyone’s top choice when visiting Manipur. The capital of the state is famous for combining historically and culturally rich scenes with a commercial city life that is sure to keep you coming back for more. The city flaunts the beauty of its high hilltops and surrounding panoramic views, with deep gorgeous valleys and sparkling lakes and waterfalls that will leave you mesmerized with its magnificence. The throbbing livelihood of the streets is its locals and vendors, who set up shop each day to sell their special varieties of spices and ngari – a type of fermented fish. Amongst its notable landmarks, don’t forget to check out the State Museum, the Kangla Fort, the famous woman’s market, and the zoological gardens and national parks.
Senapati is best described as one of Manipur’s most intriguing hideout that has been blessed with immense natural beauty. The region is mostly covered in forests and is home to diverse flora and fauna, with local resident villagers making up the rest of the population of Senapati. Trekking enthusiasts often visit the district to explore its woodlands and hidden attractions like Makhen Cave, Dzuko Valley, Sadu Chiru waterfalls and many others. Spend an evening with the locals here and you are bound to end up staying longer than you expected, with the warm hospitality of the natives being something you’ll reminisce about for a very long time.
Ukhrul is the perfect meditation spot in Manipur, filled with natural wonders like numerous exquisite peaks and fascinating lakes. The scenic splendour of Ukhrul is a nature-lover and hiker’s paradise and may make you want to stay longer than you anticipated. Most of the regions here will often remind you of the English countryside, with plenty of trekking trails and visits to tea gardens around you to keep you busy for long. Some of the most notable attractions worth checking out here are the Shirui Kashung peak, Khayang peak, the Nillai tea estate, the Khangkhui cave and the Hundung Mangya cave.
A gateway to Myanmar from Manipur, Chandel is bestowed with immense scenic beauty and a diverse cultural scenario; a place where you get to enjoy the best of both worlds. Travellers who visit Chandel love to embark on an early morning trek through the foggy grasslands and soak up the subtle morning sunshine. Keep an eye out for both indigenous and rare animals and birds along the way, which will give you plenty of camera-worthy moments on your hike. The Yangoupokpi-Lokchao wildlife sanctuary is one of the chief attractions of Chandel and is a must-visit for all animal lovers. Other places worth checking out are the markets of Moreh and the picturesque landscapes of Tengnoupal.
Bishnupur is the religious hub of Manipur and receives a heavy footfall of both pilgrims and tourists. While there are lush rolling grasslands and dense forests covering large areas of Bishnupur as well, the region is mostly known for its temples that are as architecturally marvellous as they are spiritually wondrous. Pancha Ratna Temple, Siddheshwar Temple, Radha Shyam Temple, Jor Bangla Temple, and Dal Madol are just a few among the numerous monuments worth visiting here.
Churachandpur is the second largest town in Manipur and one of the most famous tourist spots here. Regionally also known as Lamka, Churachandpur is immensely rich in ethnic culture and is home to many tribal communities of Manipur. But don’t let that deter you from mingling with the crowds; the locals here are well educated and most of them are fluent in English, Hindi and Manipuri. The Tuibuong Tribal Museum preserves a huge portion of the city’s rich history within its walls and is a must-visit in Churachandpur. Do check out other locations like the Ngaloi Falls, Khuga Dam and Tonglon Cave on your trip as well.
Thoubal is a region in Manipur mostly preferred by hikers and trekking enthusiasts. Blessed with sparkling lakes and flowing rivers, visitors get to enjoy their exploration of the region amidst the shade of banyan and bamboo trees that line all the roads here. Even the courtyards of most locals here are laden with fruit-bearing plants, which imparts a lovely and vibrant atmosphere to the entire region. Some key areas of interest here are the People’s Museum where you can enjoy artefacts depicting the local culture, the Thoubal Bazaar, Khongjom War Memorial, the Thoubal and Imphal rivers, and the Ikop and Waithou Lakes.
Ima Keithel Women's Market
The main highlight of the Ima Keithel market is that it is predominantly run by women; even the word Ima means ‘mother’ in the Manipuri tongue. Almost 3000 women vendors set up their stalls here each day and sell mostly local fabrics and clothes, but you’ll also find other varieties worth purchasing like cheap vegetables and fruits, and even beautiful hand-crafted items. The marketplace is almost a century old and is truly Manipuri in its element, with Manipuri motifs decorating every part of the building. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat from one of the snack shops here once you’ve had your fill of shopping.
One of the most popular attractions in Manipur, Loktak Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the state and is often referred to as the Floating Lake of Manipur. The moniker is attributed to the floating masses of ring-shaped vegetation and organic matter on the lake, which are locally known as phumdis. Loktak Lake is located about 50 km south of Imphal and has recently seen the construction of bamboo lodges in the vicinity due to the heavy footfall of tourists here. Boating is a popular activity on the lake, where visitors get to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings while admiring the colourful fish in the lake and the scenic backdrop of the hills.
Keibul Lamjao National Park
Tagged as the ‘floating national park’, Keibul Lamjao National Park is situated towards the south-eastern part of Loktak Lake and is most famous for housing the exotic species of Eld’s deer, also known as the brow-antlered deer. First discovered in Manipur in the year 1839, Eld’s deer has been on the endangered list of IUCN and features as the main attraction of Keibul Lamjao National Park. There are also a wide variety of other terrestrial animals that reside here, including the Indian civet cat, wild boar, hog deer, and the musk shrew. Avifaunal species include the Burmese pied mynah, East Himalayan pied kingfisher, lesser skylark, northern hill mynah and the black kite. The beauty and diversity of Keibul Lamjao National Park may be describable in words but is best enjoyed in person.