Imphal, the capital city of Manipur in north east India has a number of interesting experiences to offer its visitors.
The north-eastern part of India remains one of the least explored parts of the country, with unique and fascinating cultures that make for exciting visits. The continuous states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura, are collectively referred to as the ‘Seven Sister States’ and the capital cities of these states are more accessible than the interiors as these regions remain largely underdeveloped. Although Imphal is the capital city of Manipur, it is a place that still holds the charm of unique cultures that are worth exploring. Here are five things to do in Imphal that offer a glimpse into their cultural particularities and natural beauty.
The Kangla Fort is a historical site that is the most visible remnant from Kangla, which used to be the capital of the kingdom of Manipur. With a number of structures within Kangla fort, that includes shrines for gods from the Meitei tradition, large animal statues and the erstwhile palace, the fort makes for an adventurous exploration by foot. Surrounded by a moat, the fort transports you to the era of the Manipuri Kingdom.
Ema Keithel is a market run by women located in Imphal city and makes for an interesting visit. Goods such as stoles, local crafts and handloom products, apart from vegetables and fruits, along with several food items are available here. While this market is a wonderful place to pick up goods, it is also an interesting place to strike up conversations with the women there, who patiently explain origins, styles and meanings of the detailing of the various items available.
The Loktak Lake, a drive from Imphal is a spectacle of nature that is bound to impress any visitor. As a picturesque space that has ‘floating islands’ within the water bodies, this lake makes for a memorable experience. Home to hundreds of species of aquatic plants and around a hundred species of birds, this lake has a distinct ecosystem. Boat rides can be availed on this large freshwater body that is truly unique in nature. Sunrises and sunsets are the best times during the day to visit.
Polo, a sport that is played on horseback, is something that Manipuri people proudly call their own. Although a different version of this game can be traced to elsewhere in the world, the modern version of the game is believed to have originated in Manipur, which the British propagated to the rest of the world.The polo ground in Imphal, among the oldest in the world, is therefor worth a visit. It has hosted several tournaments, with both local and international competitors.
The Khonghampat Orchidarium, located a short drive from the city, is a great way to see some of the wild orchids that grow in Manipur. Spread over acres of land, this place is home to over 100 species of the flower, which includes a variety of rare types as well. The various shapes, colours and forms of orchids are a delight and a visit here also offers the chance of encountering some endangered species of this flower in a breath-taking natural setting.