The Ima Keithel Women’s Market is probably the only market in the world managed and run by the women. The term ‘Ima’ in local language means mother, thus making it a significant example of women empowerment. This 500 years old market place has been an important source of grassroots economy of the place. During 1533 A.D, a labor law called ‘Lallup-Kaba’ forced all the men of the Meitei community to join the military services. As a result women were forced to look up and support their families. The Meitei women stated working in the fields, and selling their ware in improvised markets. These markets were later on collectively referred to as the Ima Market.
The market has heavily influenced the community, culture and socio-political perspective of the nearby region. During the colonial period, the atrocities of the British government forced the women hosting shops in the vicinity to come together and hold a protest. The given protest was named as Nupi Lan movement. This movement was quite successful in raising the feeling of nationalism among the state of Manipur.
The Ima Market is divided in two zones. In one part, women sell items like groceries and vegetables, whereas on the other part of the market handicrafts, toys, textile and local made bamboo products are sold. The women in the market sit in rows, wearing the traditional Manipuri attire. Tourists can witness the vibrant culture of Manipur and observe how this unique women’s market operates like a well-oiled machine.
Shopping at the Ima Market is a must for every tourist. The sellers sell different items like handicrafts, textiles as well as perishable items like vegetables and fruits. These good are mostly locally sourced and sold at a reasonable rate. However, bargaining is welcomed by the sellers, so tourists can roll up their selves and dive into a price bargain while buying the products.
The Indian National Army Museum is dedicated to the men who fought during the World War II against the colonial rulers of India. The Indian National Army, founded by Rash Behari Bose in 1942, aimed at achieving freedom for the country thought armed movements. The group consisted of volunteers, and ex-prisoners from different parts of the country, who under the leadership of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose pledge to fight for the country’s freedom.
Along with the Imperial army of Japan, the INA was able to secure several regions in and around Manipur. Although the INA could not sustain their victory for more than three months, it was a great boost for the morale of the Indian population.
Due to the symbolic significance of Moirang, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru proposed to setup a memorial for the fallen heroes of INA.
People who want to know more about Indian National Army and their origins should visit this museum once. The building complex is divided in three large monuments. The first one is the life-size replica of the INA War Memorial formerly built by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Singapore. The second structure is the life size statue of Netaji gifted to the museum by the Govt of West Bengal. The third structure is a stone building designed to honor the Manipuri culture and heritage.
The museum contains several war memorabilia belonging to the World War II. History buffs can learn a lot about the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his extraordinary life.
The Kangla fort has been the official residence of the royal family till late 19th century. However, during the reign of the Ningthouja dynasty, the palace was not only an important political hotspot but also had immense religious significance in the lives of the royals as well as the locals. The sacred ponds, temples and others structures were regularly worshipped by the royals for good fortune.
The fort met its ultimate downfall in the end of Anglo-Manipur War in 1891. After the war, the British forces publically executed the crown prince and other important members of the royal family. Since then, the fort has been used by the security forces as a base. After independence, the fort has been used by the Assam Riffles as a base till 2004.
Besides this, the massive earthquake in the late 19th century also destroyed the major portions of the citadel. The ruins on the western part of the Imphal River are the only remains of the old fort.
Although the major portions of the fort have suffered major decays due to several reasons, the remaining parts of the fort on the western part of the Imphal River can be visitied by the tourists. The Ruins of the Citadel, Uttra or the old coronation hall, several temples dedicated to the presiding deity of the Ningthouja clan can be visited by the tourists.
One can visit the important landmarks within the vicinity of the fort. The temples dedicated to lord Krishna and his consort, Radha, is one of the few surviving temples in the area belonging to the pre independence era. Also, the ruins of the temples dedicated to the local goddess Nunggoibi, goddess of war, and Lord Koubru, god of good harvest and rainfall, can be visited. Besides that, the ancient coronation hall and the royal crematorium are some of the places to visit in the complex.
The Khangkhui Cave, or the Khangkhui Mongsor as locals call it, is a limestone cave. According to local legends, these caves were once inhabited by a king named Mangsorwung. He lived there with his two wives and sons and ruled in a just manner. As the locals point out, in one of the largest halls of the caves was his throne room, where he used to hold his court. Although, no definite evidences regarding King Mangsorwung have been found, archeologists have definitely discovered some proof about human civilization dating back to Paleolithic age. Cave paintings, tools and other artifacts dating back to Paleolithic age have been discovered confirms this notion. Since late 19th century, many explorers have tried to uncover different facets of the caves learning new things about the Paleolithic age. During the WW II these caves were used as a shelter by the locals.
The Khangkhui Caves are a popular tourist spot in the Ukhrul district of Manipur. The limestone structure of the caves dating back to the prehistoric times is quite fascinating. The cave is divided in chambers, each in different sizes. Also, a trip to the nearby Thoubal River is a must for the adventure seekers. The history buffs can admire the Paleolithic paintings done by the early men.
Adventurous trip inside the cave is must for the tourists. Also, one can hike towards the nearby Thoubal River for some stunning adrenaline rush. The Khangkhui Caves are an interesting subject for photographers.
The beautiful Khonghampat Orchadarium or the State Orchidarium is a beautiful place. Locally it is also referred to as the Orchid House. Spread across 200 acres of land, this park is maintained by the State Forest Department. Here one can find more than 100 varieties of common and rarely found orchids in different shapes and sizes. Generally, orchids survive on the host tree. But in the Khonghampat Orchadarium, one can see how beautifully the orchids have blended itself with the trees on which they grow. It almost seems as if they are part of a single unity.
During the monsoons, the park is at its full bloom. The park is filled with array of colors and sweet smell of the beautiful flowers. Besides orchids, the Orchidarium is also the house to several unique species of lizards, bees and moths can be found here.
According to the official records, Khonghampat Orchadarium, is the home to more than 100 varieties of orchids. Cattleya, Cymbidium Orchids, and Dendrobium are some of the orchids found in the venue. Besides that, Phalaenopsis orchids in color yellow and pink are also grown here. According to local customs, the given flower is used in traditional Manipuri wedding and other auspicious ceremonies.
Orchid enthusiasts should definitely visit the place for watching some extremely rare orchids growing effortlessly. Also, nature lovers can definitely visit the park to soak in the abundant greenery. The tourists can also go for a hike to the nearby hillock for a hike. Photography buffs and thrill seekers can have a great day here. The visitors can learn a lot more about orchids, and their safekeeping from the caretakers of the orchids.
The Khongjom War Memorial was built to honor the three martyrs of Meitei community who fought bravely against the British forces in 1891. The memorial was inaugurated by the then president of India, Sri Pranab Mukherjee in 2016. The 30 feet entrance gate, welcomes the tourists to marvel and appreciate the bravery of the soldiers who laid down their lives. Human figures and canons, on the entrance gate represent the vigilance of the martyrs protecting their motherlands. The vicinity is surrounded by ponds, green parks, leading to a small hillock. On the top of the hill, there are three high towers, which represent the brave heroes who fought the Anglo-Manipur War. The peace and serenity of the complex can definitely have an emotional effect on the visitors.
The visit to the memorial is must for people who like to learn about the India prior to being colonized. Also, the lakes and the nearby gardens provide a good opportunity to relax and unwind after a tiring day doing sightseeing. There is a climb to a small hillock, where three memorial towers have been erected.
A trip to the top of the hill, where the memorial towers are standing, is a must. From the top, tourists can have a spectacular view of the nearby areas and the entrance gate. This place is also suitable for taking selfies for the social media pages. Tourists can relax and stroll in the park within the memorials’ vicinity.
The Khuga dam is an ambitious project aimed at providing hydroelectricity to the nearby areas. The dam is built over an artificial lake and is one of the popular places for sightseeing among locals. The project was initially launched during 1983, but due to several reasons the project was halted for two decades. Later on, in 2002 the project was commenced once again. In 2010, Smt. Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the partially completed dam, and dedicated it to the people of the region. Most travelers come here to relax and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
The entire project, costing around 2.5 billion rupees, has drastically helped in providing livelihood to the locals in the nearby villages. The water supplied from the dam is used from irrigation, drinking water supply and hydroelectricity.
It is one of the most visited tourist’s spots in the region. The area is an important an picnic spot. The scenic beauty of the place and the relaxing atmosphere makes this place a favorite among the tourists. One can have a spectacular view of the area from particular vantage points of the dam. The nearby hillocks are ideal for hiking or trekking.Picnic at the Khuga Dam is ideal for couples who want to spend some quality time with each other. Also, the nearby lake and the surrounding area near the dam are encircled by natural beauty. Most photo fanatics can have a field trip in this place. Besides that, adventure seekers can go for a hike to the adjacent hillocks. People can also visit the nearby Mara village for experiencing the rustic Manipur.
Picnic at the Khuga Dam is ideal for couples who want to spend some quality time with each other. Also, the nearby lake and the surrounding area near the dam are encircled by natural beauty. Most photo fanatics can have a field trip in this place. Besides that, adventure seekers can go for a hike to the adjacent hillocks. People can also visit the nearby Mara village for experiencing the rustic Manipur.
Loktak Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in India. The word ‘Loktak’ is derived from two words of Metei language. ‘Lok’ refers to stream and ‘Tak’ means the end. The lake is famous for something that locals refer to ‘phumids’. These are heterogeneous mass of soil, vegetation and other organic masses at different stages of breakdown. These phumdis resemble small islands floating in the lake giving the entire place a surreal feeling.
This lake plays an important significance in the economy of the locals. The lake not only serves as a source of water required for hydropower generation, but it supplies water required for irrigation and other needs. The local fishermen living in the surrounding areas use the lake for fishing.
A visit to the Loktak Lake is a must for the nature lovers. It is one of the most beautiful freshwater lakes of the region. It is the home to diverse flora and fauna, giving them a safer sanctuary to sustain. At the Keibul Lamjao National Park, situated in the southwestern part of the Loktak Lake, one can find several endangered species of animals and birds living peacefully. It is a floating national park, making it more unique.
Also, this place is ideal for wildlife photographers who love to capture birds in their lenses. The commonly sighted birds in the area are East Himalayan pied kingfisher, Burmese pied myna and so on. If one is lucky, birds like lesser eastern jungle crow and black kite can also be seen.
Boating at Loktak Lake is a must. To explore the local culture, visitors can make a trip to the local villages like Thanga near the lake. Also, for tourist who like trekking and hiking, the nearby hilltop around the lake are good options. The view from the top of the hill can be a refreshing experience.
The Lord Sanamahi is one of the oldest deities of the Meitei community of Manipur. The ‘Lainingthou Sanamahi’ is one of the oldest religions of South East Asia, and is still followed by the people of Manipur, Tripura and Assam. The Lord Sanamahi is one of the main deities of the religion and is still worshipped in the temple today. He is similar to the ‘Sun-god’ in the Hinduism and is one of the most important deities of the given religion.
The Lord Sanamahi Temple was built in 1891 by King Kulachandra, the last of the sovereign rulers of Manipur. The temple structure is built on an octagonal base. The arches of the temple are inclined at 45 degrees, giving it a unique look. The external wall of the temple is painted in yellow and white colors. It is the only temple dedicated to the Animism (a belief where objects, creatures and places have a special spiritual significance) tradition of Manipur.
The Manipur Zoological Garden is one of the beautiful locations in Imphal. The zoological garden, fondly referred as the Jewel Box of Manipur, is the home to more than 400 species of common and rare species animals and birds. According to the Central Zoo Authority, the Manipur Zoological Garden is a medium zoo spreading over the area of 8 hectares.
In the zoological park, the captive breeding of Sangai deer is undertaken in a planned manner. The population of the Sangai or Brow Antlered Deer was considered as extinct in 1950. However, a small herd of the deer was found in ‘phumdis’, a group of floating island in the Loktak Lake of Manipur. These animals were then taken under the government wing and special measures have been taken to protect them. Captive breeding in the Manipur Zoological Park is one such initiative. The zoo authorities with the help of the State Government have been able to preserve species of endangered birds and animals.
The Park has been known to officially conduct captive breeding of Sangai, an endangered deer and the state animal of Manipur. Animal lovers can see other rare species of bird called Nongin. Also, like low Loris, Leopard Cat, Himalayan Bear, Gibbon, Flying Squirrel and Python are some of the animals can be seen here. The green bushes and trees in the park make it a stunning venue for nature lovers. Nature and wildlife photographers can have a good time photographing the rare avifauna and fauna within the vicinity of the zoo.
The Zoological Park is a popular picnic spot among the locals. The trip to Manipur Zoological Park is popular among kids and grownups alike. While here, tourists must visit the Sangai deer, rare Mrs. Humes Pheasant or Nongin birds, and the Hoolock Gibbons. Photography enthusiasts can take stunning pictures of the animals in their habitat.
The Nillai Tea Estate is an upcoming tourist spot that provides an unfiltered view of the nature. Located in the Ukhrul district of Manipur, this place is well known for its flavorful green tea. The tea is handpicked by the locals and sun-dried. The soil as well as the suitable climatic conditions is ideal for growing such a high quality tea. Due to natural processing of the tea leaves, most connoisseurs of tea can easily identify with the tea from the given area.
The beautiful Talui village, near the tea estate can be visited by nature lovers. The greenery around the region provides a romantic escapade for couples. Probably due to this reason, many honeymooners are choosing this destination for their honeymoon.
The beautiful tea estate is ideal for nature lovers. The tourists who want to know about tea processing and other aspects of the trade can pay a visit to the Nillai Tea Estate. One can also visit the nearby Talui village. Watching tea workers picking up the delicate tea leaves is one of the highlights of the visit to the tea garden.
The tea garden is a popular picnic spot for the locals. One can take some stunning pictures of the area, or go for a hike to the nearby hilltop within the vicinity of the tea estate. Some of the hilltops provide a good view of the region, and is a must try experience for tourists travelling interested in some adrenaline rush.
The Red Hill Lokpaching or as the locals refer "Maibam Lotpa Ching"played an important part in the history of India. During 1944, the Japanese forces engaged in a gruesome battle with the Commonwealth army. This combat between the two armies is popularly referred to as the ‘Battle of Red Hill’. The fight was fierce resulting in the loss of precious lives on the both side of the defense force. The sheer amount of bloodshed in the area was huge and quite intense.
Later on, a memorial was built by Japan in collaboration with Indian army. The commemorative structure honors the memory of the brave soldiers who laid down their lives during WW II. The memorial was later remained as the India Peace Memorial.
Anyone interested in learning about the WW II, can visit the commemorative building. The India Peace Memorial, built by Japan, honors the soldiers who led down their lives. Another war memorial was built by the locals, similar to the India Peace Memorial’s basic structure.
History buffs can definitely have a field trip at the Red Hill Lokpaching. The memorial has a Japanese Anti-Aircraft gun that was probably used during the war. Tourist can take excellent pictures of the memorial as well as the nearby natural beauty of the area.
The beautiful Shree Govindajeee temple is one of the largest Vaishnav temples in the Imphal area. Located near the Kangla Fort, this temple was originally built in 1846 by Maharaja Nara Singh. A severe earthquake in 1868 caused a huge damage to the structure of the temple. Later on, Maharaja Chandrakriti rebuilt the temple. The temple has three chambers, dedicated to different gods. The central chamber is dedicated to the Govindaji, one of the many forms of Lord Krishna, and Radha. In one of the chambers, deities of Balabhadra and Krishna are placed, while in the other chamber Lord Jagannath with his siblings Subhadra and Balabhadra reside.
The temple has a special significant in the lives of the people in the area. The images of Shree Gobindajee and Radha, as well as Jagannath and his siblings, were carved out of special wood. However, the image of Balaram and Krishna are made from Plaster of Paris. On special days, the deities are adorned with jewels and crown.
Shree Hanuman Thakur Temple is an important shrine for the people of Imphal. The temple was built on the banks of the Imphal River near the groves of Mongba Hanba. This 18th century temple was commissioned by then king Garib Niwaj. According to Cheitharol Kumbaba, the royal chronicle of Manipur, the deity of Hanuman was carved out from stone. The image of the lord is seen wearing a dhoti similar to a Hindu priest and adorning a Rudraksh mala. A mace (gada) is placed in the right hand of the idol.
This is the only temple built by the King Garib Niwaj, and was very important to the people of the region. The architecture of the temple resembles the Ekchala (hut style) architecture typical to Bengal. The inner sanctum and the nearby walls are constructed in a rectangular shape, rising up to the roof. On the eastern and western wall have unique windows in triangular shape with nine slits in it. Also, the roof of the temple is designed in a dome shape.
Establish in the 1982, the Sirohi National Park is a beautiful place. Home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, one can find some rare species in this reserve. The entire national park stretches around 40 sq km, making it one of the tiniest national parks in the country. Many rivers and their tributaries originate from the nearby areas. During the monsoons the entire park witnesses the abundant flowering of the orchids, giving this location a something extra to look at.
Wildlife lovers can enjoy the pure beauty of nature. Around the area, one can see tigers and leopards in their natural habitat. Also, different species of birds found like the Blyth’s tragopan, owls, and warblers can be seen wandering freely in the area. This place adds ample opportunity for birdwatchers to observe interesting avifauna in their natural habitat. For photographers interested in wildlife, this place can prove as an interesting subject.
Besides the usual visit to the National park, the tourists can go for a hike to the nearby Khayang Peak and Shirui Peak. The peaks provide an interesting view of the area and the surrounding region. Also, one can observe the Shirui Lily, the state flower of Manipur, growing in the region.