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Indian States

Manipur Travel

 

Manipur represents population of two ethnic groups, the people who inhabit the hills called the Nagas and those who inhabit the valley called the Meiteis. The hills are also inhabited by the group called the Kukis. Imphal is the political capital of Manipur. The earliest recorded history dates to 900AD. In the course of its history there have been several invasions from Myanmar (Burma) which borders with Manipur and numerous clashes with the Nagas. In 1826, Manipur was brought into India by the treaty of Yandavo by Raja Jai Singh with the British at the end of the Indo-Burmese war. This followed a dispute in accession to the throne. With the intervention of the British the dispute was settled. In 1891 Churachand was nominated the Raja and it came under British rule as a princely state. During World War II Imphal was occupied by the Japanese. After Indian independence Manipur became a Union Territory and subsequently achieved statehood in January 21,1972.

 

Main Cities / Towns,

 

Imphal , the capital City of Manipur,

 

The bustling capital city of the state lies in a heart shaped valley 790 m above sea level. This is a melting pot of various tribes that constitute the populace of Manipur. Tourist attractions in Manipur are mostly located in around the city.

 

Tourist attraction in Imphal,


The various tourist attractions in Imphal are Shri Shri Govindajee Temple, Manipur Zoological Garden, Shaheed Minar, Singda, Langthabal, Moirang, Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park, Kaina, Khongjom.

 

Manipur Zoological Garden - Manipur Zoological Garden is located about 6 kms. from Imphal towards the west at Iroishemba, hidden half-a-mile from the Imphal-Kangchup road. Sangai, the brow-antlered deer and one of the rare species in the world, can be seen here in the sylvan surroundings. A trip to this garden at the foot of pine-covered hills in the western-most corner of Lamphelpat, will be very interesting.

 

Shaheed Minar - The imposing Shaheed Minar of Bir Tikendrajit park stand tall in the eastern side of the Imphal Polo ground. This Minar commemorates the indomitable spirit of Manipur martyrs who sacrificed their lives while fighting against the British in 1891. The eye-catching Minar also serves as an ideal background for photo shoots.

Singda - Singda, a beautiful picnic spot is located at an altitude of 921 metres. Singda is located about 16 kms away from Imphal. In this place, tourists are greeted by a breeze-ruffled artificial lake.

Shri Shri Govindajee Temple - Shri Shri Govindajee Temple is situated near the palace of the former rulers of Manipur. This temple is a sacred pilgrimage and historic center for Vaisnavites. It is a simple and beautiful structure with twin gold domes, a paved courtyard and a large congregation hall. The presiding deity, Radha Govinda is flanked by idols of Balaram and Krishna on one hand and Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra on the other hand. The Shri Govindajee Temple also offers a daily performance of dance on the Krishna theme.

Langthabal - Langthabal is located about 6 kms from Imphal on the Indo-Myanmar road. Langthabal is a small hill that is rich in the relics of an old historical place.

Moirang - Moirang is located about 45 kms away from Imphal on Tiddim Road. The ancient temple of the pre-Hindu deity, Lord Thangjing stands there. In the month of May, the people celebrate the festival of Moirang Lai Haraoba. In this festival, men and women in bright traditional costumes sing and dance in honour of the Lord. It was from the village of Moirang that the graceful, Khamba Thoibi dance originated. It was also at Moirang that flag of the Indian National Army was first hoisted on Indian soil on April 14, 1944. There is an INA Museum here that exhibits letters, photographs, badges of ranks and other articles associated with INA. A bronze statue of Netaji in uniform stands proud in the lawn.

Keibul Lamjao National Park
The Keibul Lamjao National Park is located in the south western part of the Loktak Lake. This is the last natural habitat of the Sangai, the marsh-friendly brow-antlered deer of Manipur. Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating park in the world.

Kaina - Kaina is a beautiful hillock about 29 kms from Imphal on Imphal-Yairipok Road. Kaina is a sacred place of the Hindus and has a temple dedicated to Shri Govindji. According to legend, one night, Shri Govindajee appeared in a dream of the Bhagyachandra, Maharaja of Manipur and asked him to build a temple enshrined with his image carved out of a Jackfruit tree which was at that time growing at Kaina. Later, this temple was built by the Bhagyachandra. Hill shrubs and natural surroundings give the place a calmness and solemnity. Ceremonial dances depicting the divine dream are performed as Rasa Lila at the Mandap.

 

Loktak Lake - The Loktak Lake is like a miniature sea and the largest fresh water lake in the North-east. Sendra is a hillock situated on an island of Loktak lake, about 48 kms. away from Imphal on Tidim road. From the Tourist bunglow, set atop Sendra island, visitors can get a birds eye-view of the unique Loktak Lake and the floating mass called "Phumdis". A boat – trip to either Thanga or Karang islet in the lake becomes a memorable experience.

Khongjom - Khongjom is situated on the Indo-Myanmar Road, about 36 kms away from Imphal. It is a place of utmost historical importance. Khonjom was the place where Major General Paona Brajabashi and other brave Manipuri warriors faught against the invading British Army in 1891. Khongjom is regarded as a symbol of patriotism and valour. A war memorial laid on the top of this venerable hill adds the historical ambience of the heroic site. Khongjom Day is observed as a State Function every year on April 23.

 

Koubru - Koubru is one of the pious mountains of Manipur and is located on NH-39. A 300 years old temple of Lord Koubru Mahadeva is situated in the foot hills of the Koubru mountain. The temple is situated besides a beautiful mountain river which attracts thousands of devotees. The temple has been maintained for the last 10 years by the Manipur Seva Kanwariya Sammittee. The devotees offer rituals in the name of Koubra Baba or the Lord Shiva. During the monsoon season and the festival of Mahashivratri, various devotees came here from different places to offer rituals and chant Mantras in praise of Lord Shiva.

Vishnupur - Vishnupur is situated about 27 kms to the south-west of Imphal. Vishnupur or Bishenpur is known after its historical Vishnu Temple, built in the 15th century.

 

Mao - Mao is one of the oldest hill station in Manipur, bordered by Nagaland and located midway between Dimapur and Imphal on the National Highway 39 at an altitude of 5762.02 feet above sea level. The Mao IB, built by the Royal Military engineers in 1897 is more than hundred years old. The cultural mosaic of Manipur is not complete without the colorful Mao-Naga dance. Other worth visiting places is Makhel, the historical place of Naga dispersal and the legendary place of common origin of the Meiteis and the Nagas, which has the oldest pear tree memorial of the dispersal. Dzuko Valley with its pristine beauty blooms with a rare lily known as Dzuko Lily between May and July.

 

Loktak Lake (Freshwater Lake)
It is the lake where most of the people of Manipur get their share of fish meat. The special treat to watch are the floating islands popularly known as Phumdi which is made out of the tangle of watery weeds and other plants. With a nominal fee, people can hire small boats and see this fascinating way of living on these floating islands. The wetland is swampy and is favourable for a number of species to thrive on. It is in the district of Moirang.

 

Govindajee Temple -  This is a Vaishnavite temple built by the former King's of Manipur. The simple but beautiful structure consists of 2 domes and a large congregation hall. The shrines of Krishna and Balaram on one side and Jagannnath flank the presiding deity.
 

Festivals of Manipur

 

Manipur is a land of festivities. Merriments and mirth-making go on round the year. A year in Manipur represents a cycle of festivals. Hardly a month passes by without a festival which, to the Manipuris, is a symbol of their cultural, social and religious aspirations . It removes the monotony of life by providing physical diversions, mental recreation and emotional outlet, helps one to lead a more relaxed and fuller life. 

 

Lai-Haraoba - Celebrated in hour of the sylvan deities known as Umang Lai, the festival represents the worship of traditional deities and ancestors. A number of dances by both men and women are performed before the ancient divinities. The Lai Haraoba of God-Thangjing, the ruling deity of Moirang, is the most famous one and attracts huge gatherings. It is held in the month of May.

 

Yaoshang(Dol Jatra) - Celebrated for five days commencing from the full-moon day of Phalgun (February/March), Yaoshang is the premier festival of Manipur. The Thabal Chongba, a kind of Manipuri folk dance in which boys and girls hold hands and dance away their blues in festive tube-lit ambience is an inseparable part of the festival. Young and old folks collect donation from house to house and the money so collected is spent in parties and feasts. However, of late, time and energy earlier spent in this festival has been utilized in locally organized games and sports meets. Athletes got a shot in the arm, ever since.

 

Ratha Jatra  - One the greatest festivals of the Hindus of Manipur, the festival is celebrated for about 10 days in the month of Ingen (June/July). Lord Jaganath leaves his temple in a Rath locally known as Kang pulled by pilgrims who vie with one another for this honour.

 

Ramjan ID(The premier festival of Manipur Muslims) -Ramjan Id is the most popular festival of the Manipuri Muslims (Meitei Pangal) in Manipur and is observed in the usual spirits of joy and festivities as in other Muslim world Ramjan is the ninth month of Hijri year since the time of prophet Mohammed and during this month the Muslims practice self denial by avoiding any food, drink and smoke from pre-dawn till sunset. During this month is spent on prayers. After the month on the second day of shawl, when the new moon is visible they break fast and this fast breaking day is called Id-Ul-Fitre. On this day, they go to the mosques to offer prayers and take delicious dishes, exchange greetings and call on the friends and relatives.

 

KUT ( Festival of Kuki-Chin-Mizo):-It is an autumn festival of the different tribes of Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups of Manipur. The festival has been variously described at different places amongst different tribes as Chavang-Kut or Khodou etc. It is a happy occasion for the villagers whose food stock is bountiful after a year of hard labour. The festival is a thanks giving feasts with songs and dances in merriment and joviality for all, in honour of the giver of an abundant harvest, it is observed on the 1st of November every year.

 

 

Gang-Ngai ( Festival of Kabui Nagas):-Celebrated for five days in the month of Wakching (December/January) GANG-NGAI is an important festival of the Kabui Nagas. The festival opens with the omen taking ceremony on the first day and the rest of the days are associated with common feast, dances of old men and women and of boys and girls, presentation of farewell gifts etc. For 1997, it starts from Janaury 21.

 

Chumpha (Festival of Tangkhul Nagas) -Celebrated for seven days in the month of December, the Chumpha festival is a great festival of the Tangkhul Nagas. The festival is held after harvest. The last three days are devoted to social gatherings and rejoicing. Unlike other festivals women play a special role in the festival. The concluding part of the festival ends with a procession within the village.

 

Christmas ( Festival of Christians) -The Christmas is the greatest festival of all the Christians of Manipur, observed for two days on December 24 and 25. Prayers, reading of Gospels, eating, singing of hymns, lectures on Christ, sports etc., form the major part of the festival. In some villages where the inhabitants are well-off, the celebration continues till January 1 on which the New Years day is also observed.

 

Cheiraoba ( The Manipur NewYear) -During the festival, people clean and decorate their houses and prepare special festive dishes which are first offered to various deities. Celebrated during the month of April, a part of the ritual entails villagers climbing the nearest hill tops in belief that it will enable them to rise to greater heights in their worldly life. The Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) also observe it.

 

Heikru Hidongba -Celebrated in the month of September, a festival of joy, with little religious significance along a 16 metre wide boat. Long narrow boats are used to accommodate a large number of rowers. Idol of Shri Vishnu is installed before the commencement of the race.

 

Ningol Chakouba (The social festival of Manipuris) - It is a remarkable social festival of the Meiteis. Married women of the family who were married to distant places come to the parental house along with her children and enjoy sumptuous feast. It is a form of family rejoinder to revive familial affection. The festival is also observed by the Pangals (Manipuri Muslims) to a certain extent now-a-days. It is observed on the second day of the new moon in the Manipuri month of Hiyangei (November).

 

Lui_Ngai_Ni - It is a collective festival of the Nagas observed on the 15th day of February every year. This is  a seed-sowing festival after which tribes belonging to the Naga group begin their cultivation. Social gathering, songs, dances and rejoicing highlight the festivity. The annual festival also plays a great role in boosting the morale and strengthening the bond of Naga solidarity.

 

Kwak Jatra - Goddess Durga is propitiated with pomp and ceremony in this festival. It is celebrated in the month of October and represents the victory of righteousness over evil.


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