We have already established that the Summer months are the undeclared travel months for most Delhiites. Travelling is an important aspect of human life and it is said that life is a book and those who do not travel keep on reading the same page again and again.
All Delhiites are urged to make a regional, national or international trip this summer. We have already shared with you the international destination of the Green City-State Singapore. We now share with you a beautiful and unexplored Indian destination full of beauty and diversity. The travel destination we are introducing is Imphal, the capital of Manipur located in North-east India!
Reaching Imphal is easy, easiest among all the other North-eastern state capitals. This is because you can book a direct flight from New Delhi to Imphal. Once at the Tulihal International Airport in Imphal, reach for the exit gate and look for a taxi to Hotel Imphal or to The Classic Hotel (both are reasonably priced and rooms are generally available). The latter is located in the Central part of Imphal City and overlooks the historic Kangla Fort, which was the ancient administrative capital of Manipur.
The First day should be spend in exploring the markets in Imphal city. Hire a local taxi from the hotel and first visit the Ima (mother’s) market, a large market run entirely by women. Ima market represents everything that Imphal represents and you can find handicrafts, clothes, fish and other local delicacies here!
Other markets that need to be visited are the Thanga bazaar for buying gifts for your near and dear ones, Moreh Market for buying souvenirs and Paona Bazaar named after Paonam Nawol Singh who fought the Anglo-Manipuri war of 1891 after which the British took over Manipur and ruled it till 1947. Do not buy everything on the first day itself and reserve the shopping a day before you leave Imphal.
On the Second day, a visit to the Imphal Zoo is a must and is a major tourist attraction. It is good to reach the zoo in the morning at 10.00 am, around the time it opens. One can see the brow antlered dancing deer or the ‘sangai’ here which is also the state animal.
While at the Zoo, avoid walking under trees which are so full of birds that the entire area under the canopy is full of bird droppings. Other animals that can be seen at the Imphal Zoo are slow loris, hoolock gibbon, leopard cat, python, flying squirrel, Himalayan bear and monkeys etc. The Zoo is located in the vicinity of the Langol hills which offer a majestic view of the Manipur hills.
From the Zoo, one can return to the main Imphal city and visit the Kangla Fort. The Kangla Fort is a majestic open space surrounded by a moat and is an important historical and archeological site in Manipur. While the outside area of the Fort is recently renovated, parts of the old wall can be seen towards the inside of the Fort.
Other places to see inside the Kanlga Fort are the ancient Govindaji Temple, two large Manipuri-styled boats which narrate a historical aspect of Manipur, Ibudhou Pakhangba Temple and Kangla Sha, the two dragons who guard the Kangla Fort.
The Third day should be spent exploring interesting sites near and around Imphal. Rent a taxi from the hotel and make a trip to the Central Khongampat Orchidarium located in Khongampat around 7 km from Imphal city. You can find amazing species of orchids here of all colours and sizes.
This can be followed with a trip to Loktak Lake located around an hour and a half drive from Imphal. No trip to Imphal is complete without visiting the Loktak Lake, which has floating islands of different sizes. Do take a boat ride here and you will find yourself floating in the most amazing way! Loktak Lake is a large wetland and the best place to visit it is at Sendra, a small hillock which also houses a hotel and provision for overnight staying.
On the way to Loktak Lake, do not forget to stop by at the India Peace Memorial at Maibam Lokpaching (or the Red Hill) on Tidden Road. You will find a small hillock here where the Japanese fought the British during The place is visited by relatives of Japanese soldiers who fought the war once ever year.
What can almost never be missed is the visit to the INA Memorial in Moirang, located around two hours drive from Imphal city. The statue of the Subhash Chandra Bose stands tall here as this was the first time and place where the Indian flag was hoisted on India soil after freeing Moirang from British Rule.
The Fourth day can be spend shopping in Imphal and this is the ideal day for shopping for gifts and memories from the amazingly proactive Manipuri markets.