Magnificient Manipur literally means the land of jewels. True to its name, Manipur is an exotic land studded with gentle rolling hills, lakes and rivers, emerald green valleys and verdant forests that makes for a spectacular landscape. Kongba, Eeril and Thobal are the three main rivers that spring from the dark misty ranges and traipse down the plains.The serene beauty of the land can spellbound its visitors.
The amazing Loktak Lake is the only floating National Park in the world. The place is known for Sangai deer that is found only in this region.
Manipur also has a rich cultural heritage. The Meitei people are the main ethnic community of the state, although other tribal groups like the Nagas and Kukis inhabit the land.The captivating Manipuri dance known for its graceful moves and exotic costumes forms an integral part of the culture. Finally, the origin of modern-day polo lies in Manipur, known as ‘Sagol Kangjei’ by the locals.
Manipur is an elegant place, with pure and tranquil natural beauty and rich cultural history and traditions.
Why visit Manipur?
Manipur is a unique mixture of serenity and vitality. The oval-shaped land is brimming with small lakes and swamps, narrow mounded valleys and the flat plains. They are a perfect add-on to the beauty of the state. The state is surrounded in seclusion by the rugged blue hills and is rich in flora and fauna.
Call of the Wild:
The main attraction in Manipur is the iridescent rhododendrons that bloom during the spring. More than 60% of the land is covered with forest and is quite rich in biodiversity. More than 500 species of orchids are found in Manipur and many of them are rare ones. The Sirui Lily found on top of the Sirui hill is particularly spectacular. Manipur is also the only habitat of the endangered dancing deer, known as the Sangai deer found in the Loktak Lake. Keibul Lamjao National Park is the world’s only floating National Park and is the home to the famous and endangered Sangai or dancing deer of Manipur.
Heritage & Culture:
Manipur is diverse and rich in art and culture and it distinctly identified by its own art forms and cultural expressions. The Manipuris have an inherent love for art and beauty and anything related to performing arts. It is difficult to find a Manipuri girl who does not know singing or dancing. For the Manipuris, dance is an integral part of their culture. Among the various dance forms, Khamba-Thoiba dance is a duet between a male and a female and is considered to be the origin of the modern Manipuri dance. Most of these dances are devotional in nature and can enchant the viewers by their simple yet graceful moves. The Raas Lila is the most famous of Manipuri dances, showing the eternal and celestial love between Radha and Krishna and with its elegant and profound moves.
The handicrafts and handlooms of Manipur also showcase their affinity for art and beauty. Age old weaving practices are still followed in the state by the women and is the largest cottage industry. There is an interesting story behind the handlooms of Manipur. It is believed that Goddess Panthoibee was fascinated by the fine threads of a spider’s web. The Goddess then learnt the art of weaving by observing the spider weaving its web.
Manipur is also the origin of the modern day polo sports. Sagol Kangjei, the most popular traditional sport is the forefather of the polo. The British had learnt the game from them in the 19th century.
Festivals of Manipur:
The Sangai Festival is organized by the State Tourism Department to showcase the tradition and culture of Manipur. Held every year in the month of November, it is one of the grandest festivals of the state. The festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of the state and the love for art and culture by the Manipuris. Display of indigenous handicrafts also remains a major part of the festival along with the performance of the traditional Manipuri dances.
Sagol Kangei or the Manipuri Polo is celebrated in Manipur with immense gusto. The Manipuri Polo is played with seven players on both sides who mount and ride ponies, which are usually 4/5 feet in height. Each player is fitted with Polo-stick made of bamboo root. There are 2 forms of the game – the pana or original Manipur style and the international style, both played with equal enthusiasm.
Kang (Rath Yatra):
Kang or Rath Yatra is the festival of the Meitei Hindus where the idols of Sri Jagannath, Sri Balaram and Sri Subhadra are worshipped. The idols are drawn in the Rath (large wooden carriages) and are pulled by the devotees followed by a large procession. The festival is celebrated with much zeal and devotion.
Hiyang Tannaba (Boat Race):
Hiyang Tannaba is the boat race festival observed by the Meities on the eleventh day of a fortnight of Langbal month (September) of Meitei calendar. It is celebrated at Thangapat (moat) and is celebrated to please the gods for the welfare of the people. The boats are called Hiyang Hiren and are said to have spiritual powers. The boat race is also associated with religious rites. The festival has been observed since 984 and 1074 A.D.
Climate of Manipur:
The summer months are usually hot and humid. The rainy season is usually from April to September with the peak monsoon season between mid-June to September. Winters last from November to March and the climate remains cold and dry during this time. The winter day remains generally sunny and warm while the nights can be quite cold.
Monsoon: May to September
Best Season: October to April