Many people may have been aware of Manipur, but for the convenience of those who are not aware I would like to give a very brief description. It is located in the north eastern part of India bordering Mizoram, Assam, Nagaland and Myanmar. With a land area of 22327 km² and a population of 2.722 million, it is inhabited by people of all religions and they live peacefully like their own brothers and sisters. Mr. Lord Irwin once called Manipur as the Switzerland of India and Jawaharlal Nehru as the Jewel of India.
Location & Connectivity:
Imphal International Airport has direct flights from various cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Silchar, Agartala, Aizawl and even from Mandalay (in Myanmar).The major airlines are Airasia India, Air India, Air India regional, Indigo, Jet Airways and Golden Myanmar Airlines.
For those who prefer railways, they can come till Guwahati or Dimapur by railways. After that many taxis and buses are available to take you to Imphal.
After reaching Imphal many hotels will be readily available based on your preference/budget. Prominent of all are The Classic Hotel, Hotel Bheigo, Hotel Yaiphaba, Hotel Nirmala, Hotel Tampha, Hotel Imphal, Classic Grande and Hotel Excellency (based on my experience).
Places to visit
The most commendable prospect of Manipur tour is its scenic beauties. Wonderful gifts of nature can be found centered in this small wonder of the world. Notable places to visit include:
Moirang: First thing that comes to one’s mind at the mention of Manipur is Moirang. It’s not surprising because no words can describe the beauty of this place. The folklore of Khamba-Thoibi (a tragic love story) was based in Moirang. Loktak Lake, Thanga Karang, Keibul Lamjao, Sendra etc will make the onlookers spell bounded. Indian National Army (INA) complex can also be found.
Ukhrul: Here one can see Siroi lily. Its unique characteristic is that one can’t plant the flower in any part of the world besides the Siroi hill. During the British raj in Manipur, the British repeatedly attempted to propagate the flower to other places only to be faced with utter failure. After a prolonged effort, they gave up the attempt to do so. They felt Siroi lily was the daughter of the goddess, which rules the Siroi hill. Hence, one cannot separate the Siroi lily from the Siroi hills (truly endemic).
Imphal: Kangla, Hiyangthang Lairembi Temple Complex, Shree Govindajee Temple, Imphal War Cemetery, Women’s Market (Ima Keithel) etc. are some of the wonderful places that can be visited. Each place has its own unique characteristics.
Yairipok: Located in Yairipok is Kaina. Kaina is a small hillock in Manipur sacred to Hindus. Andro is another famous tourist spot in Yairipok. This place is popularly known for its ancient museum where tools of human civilization were found.
Nambol: Maibam Lokpa Hill is famous for its part in the Indo-Japanese War, 1944. Khoriphaba Hill is very famous for its Lai Haraoba festival during the summer season
Moreh: The town is an important and rapidly developing trade point in India on the border with Myanmar, with the town of Tamu being close to the border. Moreh is already seen as the commercial capital of Manipur and India’s Gateway to South-East Asia
Cultural programs & Festivals: Manipuri dance (Ras Lila) and Shumang Leela are the main unique cultural programs of the Manipuri’s. Important festivals include Ningol Chakouba, Kut, Yaosang, Khuado Pawi, Gaan-Ngai etc.
Special food items of Manipur:
Law and Order: Law and Order situation of Manipur acted as a main hurdle to all the tourists who liked to visit Manipur. But those days are gone. Conditions of law and order have improved considerably over the past few years. Presence of tight security all over the state makes the condition better for everyone. Moreover considering the steps taken by the government of Manipur towards tourism promotion the conditions will only further improve.
Please visit Manipur and let us all implore the natural and cultural beauties and physical significance of this small hill state.