Imphal is the capital city of the Northeastern state of Manipur. I really
But that wasn’t the case at all! The first impressions from the flight itself bring in excitement and a hope that there is a lot in Imphal and that it’s just not about the Loktak lake or Ima market.
So, the first tip: Do not sleep in the flight to
And all the other things you can see and do here in Imphal are:
1. Attend Sangai festival
Sangai Festival is an annual cultural festival of Manipur. It is organized from 21st Nov to 30th Nov every year.
During this festival, you get to see the state’s contributions to art and culture, handlooms, handicrafts, fine arts, indigenous sports, cuisine, music, eco and adventure sports, as well as the natural environment up close.
Read all about How to have the best time at sangai festival here.
2. Have Manipuri thali in Luxmi kitchen
Get a taste of the authentic Manipuri food at Luxmi kitchen with their Manipuri thali. You can chose out of the two options fish or non-veg. I know even fish comes under non-veg but that’s how they distinguish the thalis there. I tasted some bamboo vegetables for the first time.
A tip – if you are not into other meats except chicken then just go for the fish thali, you really can’t make out much what meat it is in the dishes!
All the dishes from the left to right
3. Take a guided tour of Kangla fort in the golf cart
The Palace of Kangla is an old palace at Imphal. It is known to be situated on both sides (western and eastern) of the bank of the Imphal River. But now it remains only on the western side of the bank. You can only see the ruins now. It was the traditional seat of the past Meetei rulers of Manipur.
I would suggest you take a guided tour when in Kangla fort. I don’t say that because its too huge to be covered on foot but because roaming around on your own , you wouldn’t be able to appreciate its history as there isn’t much on the sign boards. There is a small museum inside the fort premises which you can visit to understand a part of the history.
Currently, there are excavations going on the eastern side of the fort. The archaeologists believe that the actual fort is buried underground in the eastern front and a lot can be discovered once the ruins are excavated. I would not have come to know this if not for our guide Dayarani Devi. And the best part of the guided tour is you get to go around in the golf cart and you can cover the whole fort in just 30-40 mins. Which would otherwise require almost an hour and for you’ll get tired and not even cover the whole place as the sun gets too harsh.
There is a belief that the first king of Kangla Pakhangba – was a man who could change his body to any form, like animals, and others as he is a powerful God. He was the ruler for Kangla from 1445 – 1405 BC.
The dominating religion in Manipur is Hinduism, but before Hinduism became popular there was a religion called Sanamahi in which they worshiped
4. Take a boat ride into Loktak Lake and see its uniqueness from the viewpoint
The principal attraction of the state is the Loktak Lake in Bishnupur District which is 48 km from Imphal City and it is the largest freshwater lake in the North–East India. Take a boat ride into the lake and visit the fisherman houses on phumdis (heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition). Have some chai and prawn pakodas in the hut or you can enjoy them in the boat too.
Don’t be surprised when you come to know that they actually live there. All the huts get electricity from the solar panels set up for each.
A quick fact – During the peak of naxalities problem in Manipur they used to hide in the huts in the Loktak lake. Giving the military a tough time dealing with them.
5. Visit INA Museum
The Indian National Army (INA) War Museum in the INA Memorial Complex in Moirang is the only official museum dedicated to the Second World War in Manipur today. Its focus is on the rise of the INA and on the role and activities of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in particular. Relics of war from across Manipur dating back to 1944, including arms and ammunition, bayonets, helmets, and bottles, among others, are also displayed here.
Note: Photography is not allowed in there. But I didn’t notice the sign outside and before the Guard could tell that me it’s not allowed these are all the photos I clicked.
Some of the artifacts include
- The broken statue of Netaji blasted on 7th July 1993 by unknown persons
- Photos of –
- Reading of proclamation on liberated Indian soil
- With the first officers of INA in Europe 1942
- The cabinet of Azad hind govt
- Netaji at the front
- A replica of the last available image before the air crash which claimed the life of Netaji
- Special message for members of the Rani of Jhansi regiment “I have been endeavoring to look after and to nurse this new regiment in such a manner that every father, every mother and every guardian may feel that his or her girl is safe in our hands'”
- Unreleased stamps of the Azad hind govt
A map of the great escape of netaji-
From Calcutta to Berlin Jan 1941
From keil( Germany) to Penang 1943
6. Visit the Imphal war cemetery
The cemetery has 1,600 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
If you’ve been to Kohima you’ll see a similar one there. Both are maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Read more about it in the post – Kohima: a land of heritage and culture like none other.
7. See the Sangai deer in Keibul Lamjao National Park
It is the only floating National Park in the world, the Keibul Lamjao National Park located on the Loktak Lake is the last natural habitat of the “Sangai”, the dancing deer of Manipur.
If you are lucky you’ll be able to see a deer through the telescope from the hilltop in the national park. It is currently home to 251
It is also one of the locations for the Sangai festival of Manipur.
8. Shop in Ima Market – A all women run market
This is a sprawling 500-year-old market has long been an important meeting ground and trading hub of Manipur.
An unique symbol of Manipur’s history, Ima Keithel (which translates to ‘mother’s market’) is believed to be the largest all-women market in Asia, and possibly the world.
While Ima market’s exact origins remain unclear, scholars believe that the market dates back to the 16th century.
Only married women are allowed to trade and run the stalls in this multi-ethnic marketplace, a privilege that is passed on from one generation of Manipuri women to the next. These women, some of whom come from really far-off villages, pay around ₹ 40 per month for the small space in which they display their wares.
9. Shri shri Govindji temple
It was the first temple to be made after Hinduism started being accepted in Manipur. The original one is inside the Kangla fort but is no more active as a temple. They have made another one just close to Kangla fort and it goes by the same name. You can even go there to taste authentic vegetarian Manipuri food . You can literally chose out of the 110 dishes there.
10. Go for
morning walks in the hills – An absolute must!
Ok just because this one’s the last point and not a place to see, don’t skip it. I was fortunate enough to stay in a place where there were mountains all around me. The best part of my trip to Imphal was undoubtedly the morning walks I used to go for in hills and then just stroll through the village located there. I even got to buy a traditional Manipuri shawl from a lady in the village for a way lesser price than in the market. I also got to see her at her weaving work.
There were beautiful flowers all along the way, some I hadn’t seen before. That’s when I came across a plant called poinsettia. Basically this plant looks like it has red flower but they are actually leaves which turn red in winters .
And that’s a wrap to all the amazing things you can do and should do when in Imphal. If you discovered something new and something that’s not on this list then do let me know and I’ll add to my bucket list for my next visit to Imphal. Want to know more about how you can perfectly cover Manipur and tick it off your bucket list, then click on the links below to know everything there is to know.
- How to have the best time at Sangai festival of Manipur
- 13 astonishing insider facts about Manipur.
- 10 Awesome things you have to do on the India, Myanmar border in Manipur.
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