Introduction: Imphal, the tiny capital city of the northeastern state of Manipur, is an ideal location off the beaten track. Imphal in Manipur with the landscape of green-blue hills, lush fields and low clouds is like an exquisite painting. Description: Imphal is one of the few places in India where nothing seems to have changed. Imphal in Manipur is a tiny valley tucked away in the northeastern state of Manipur. Relics of an old, historical palace, well-planned temples and ceremonial houses in all their splendour amidst the tall pine and jackfruit trees, speak of Imphal's ancient past. Lying at the center of Manipur valley, Imphal is one of the most ancient towns in the Indian subcontinent and has much to provide to a discerning tourist.
Imphal Quick facts
Imphal Geography and Climate
Imphal is located at 24.82� N 93.95� E. It has an average elevation of 786 metres (2578 feet). The Imphal Valley is drained by several small rivers originating from the hills surrounding it. These include the Imphal, Iril, Sekmai, Thoubal, and Khuga rivers. The climate of Imphal is moderate. The months of November, December, January and February remain dry and the remaining eight months are more or less rainy. January is very cold in winter and May-June are the hottest in summer.
Best time to visit Imphal
Imphal is best visited between the months of October and February. The weather permits one to take in the place as also see a few sights, like migratory birds, that are season-specific.
How to reach Imphal by Road
Imphal is connected by road with Dimapur by National Highway 39 and Silchar by National Highway 53.
How to reach Imphal by Rail
Dimapur, 215 km from Imphal, is the nearest railhead for Manipur.
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How to reach Imphal by Air
Imphal Airport, lies 8 km from Imphal city toward south. Imphal connects the place with Guwahati, Delhi, and Calcutta. Indian Airlines connects Imphal with Delhi via Guwahati on a daily basis.
Imphal Festivals and culture
Meiteis - This festival is a remarkable social event of the Meiteis. During this time, daughters of families who have married and moved on to distant places come together along with their children. Observed on the second day of the new moon in the Manipuri month of November or Hiyangei as they call it, this festival serves as a coming together, a reunion of families. Manipur Muslims - Ramzan Id is the most popular festival of Manipuri Muslims and is observed with the same fervour as the rest of the Muslim world. Ramzan is considered the holy month of the Muslims, the time of Prophet Mohammed and the time to abstain. People fast for a month during this month where they forsake food, alcohol and tobacco from pre-dawn till sunset. Kuki-Chin-Mizo - An autumn festival celebrated by different tribes of Kuki-Chin-Mizo groups of Manipur, Kuki-Chin-Mizo is known by different names by varied tribes. It is observed on the 1st of November every year. Kabui Nagas - Celebrated for five days in the month of December/January, Gang-Ngai is an important festival of the Kabui Nagas. A tribal festival, the first day comprises an oath taking ceremony while the rest of the days include feasts, dancing and a lot of gifting. Tangkhul Nagas - Celebrated for seven days in the month of December, the Chumpha festival is a significant festival for the Tangkhul Nagas. Celebrated after the harvest, the last three days are devoted to social gatherings and rejoicing. New Year - This is more a time for home and hearth - the festival where people clean and decorate their homes. Special festive dishes are prepared and offered to various deities, after which it is served to the family. Celebrated in the month of April, this festival is observed by people from all religions here
It is the home of the Meitei tribe and is a largely Hindu region, but with a very specific culture of its own. The lively martial dances and the graceful classical Manipuri dance; indigenous festivals like the Lai Haraoba and the annual boat race characterize its culture.
Imphal Religious Places
Shri Govindajee Temple: The core of Imphal's traditions, however, lies in its various temples. The most important of these is the Shri Govindajee Temple, a historic center for Vaishnavites. A simple, twin-domed structure, it adjoins the magnificent palace of the former rulers of Manipur. Constructed in the early 18th century under the Rajarishi Bhagyachandra regime, the temple comes alive during festivals when thousands of people come to offer prayers.
Shahid Minar: Right in the heart of the city is the tall Shahid Minar at the Bir Tirkendrajit Park that was built in memory of Manipur's martyrs who sacrificed their lives for India's independence. War Cemeteries: A reminder of how the dead need to be treated, especially when those that died were soldiers at war. The remains of this former battleground of WW II are manifested in the grimly beautiful cemeteries with memorials of British and Indian soldiers.
Imphal Entertainment and Night Life
Due to its beautiful and hilly areas, Manipur tourism also facilitates adventure sports in the state. Some of the nodal agencies had been formed to make Manipur excel in these sports and also impart training on these sports. Manipur Mountaineering and Trekking Association - This association operates on the Lamdan (Sudarshan Peak), near Loktak Hydroelectric power project. Manipur Adventure and Allied Sports Institute operates in Keirao, and tourist home in Siroi Hill near Ukhrul. The Adventure Academy of Manipur at RIMS, South Gate, Imphal has training courses and assistance in whitewater rafting in the state.
Kidding around Imphal
Manipur Zoological Gardens: 8Km from Imphal, at the foot of the pine-covered hillocks, you will find a wealth of rare birds, animals and reptiles at the Manipur Zoological Gardens. In the zoo's sylvan surroundings, you will even get a glimpse of one of the rarest species of deer in the world, the graceful brow-antlered thamin deer. Langthabal: Driving down the Indo-Myanmar Road (8 km) you will come across this quaint cluster of old palaces and shrines set amidst well-laid out orchards. Situated on the top of a small hill the place offers fabulous views of the Manipur University and the valleys beyond.
Once you see the bright, hand woven Phanek or the traditional Manipuri wrap-around dresses that the local women favour, you will need to buy one. These garments are beautiful and bright, with designs that you will only find in North-eastern India. The cane and bamboo artefacts and even toys, colourful mats and shawls that adorn the quaint shops all over the town will make for some great gifts. Try the Manipur Handloom and Handicrafts Development Corporation Sales Emporium at Paona Bazaar or the Manipur Development Society, an autonomous body working for the promotion of Manipuri handicrafts.
Famous To Eat at Imphal
There is meat and there are vegetables, but most favour a fish delicacy as an accompaniment to the main dish. Try the Kabok, a traditional speciality, which is fried rice with lots of veggies thrown in. Also try the Iromba, an eclectic combination of fish, vegetables and bamboo shoots, served fermented! And with Manipur being a dry state, which means no alcohol, this is the closest you will get to anything fermented.
Imphal Museum and Hill Stations
Manipur State Museum: The Manipur State Museum is another place that is worth a visit. The museum has a rich collection of Manipuri costumes, war implements, historical documents and relics, and gives you a sample of the state's complex history. Ukhrul: Ukhrul(83 km) is the highest hill station of the state; Moreh (100 km) is close to the Burma border and is a commercial center. Tengnoupal is 69 km away and from here one can have a full view of the valley of Manipur.
Gardens and Parks at Imphal
Khonghampat Orchidarium: Then there is the Khonghampat Orchidarium that has more than a hundred rare varieties of orchids. The best time to visit the orchidarium is in the months of April and May when the orchids are in full bloom.
Lake at Imphal
Loktak Lake: It is the largest freshwater lake in northeastern India. It is also called the only "Floating lake" in the world due to the floating Phundies on it. It is located near Moirang in Manipur state. It is an ancient lake and plays an important role in the economy of Manipur. It serves as a source of water for hydropower generation, irrigation and drinking water supply. The lake is also a source of livelihood for the rural fisherman who live in the surrounding areas and on Phumdis - floating islands, which are actually heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil, and organic matters at various stages of decomposition. Waithou lake: It is an oval shaped natural lake in Manipur and the total surface area is recorded to be 0. 992 km2. Of the thirty-five macrophytes in two consecutive years, only twelve macrophytic species are found growing throughout the study period. However thirteen growth forms of macrophytic species are investigated in the present study site and maximum number of macrophytes are belonging to Helophytes. All these species are emergent macrophytes.
Besides the present food and fibre crops, the capacity to grow a range of other economic crops too exists. Vegetables and fruits such as banana, pineapple, peach, plum, pears, apples, apricots and walnut are grown at different altitudes. Among the spices, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and tezpatta (cinnamomym tarnata) do well. Similarly, timber, fuel trees, as well as cane and bamboo are also sources of income.
Imphal Travel Tips
Rainwear is a must all the year round. Carry light woollens for the evening, it tends to get chilly. Winters are quite cold and damp so warm clothes are needed. Its a good idea to carry along your medical supplies or an updated prescription because it is difficult to get certain drugs over the counter.
Imphal Tourist Offices
Tourist Information Centre Hotel Imphal Complex Imphal Tel: 220802, 222705, 222451, 224635, 224603.
United Bank of India Punjab National Bank Punjab & Sind Bank Central Bank of India Manipur Rural Bank Imphal Urban Co-operative Bank