Manipur, the pride of Northeast India, is ever-blooming as a tourist destination. But people spend a few days here, before they make their way forward to other regions. Truth is, to feel the essence of a place you must spend plenty of time, interacting with locals and losing yourself amidst the unperturbed nature. There are many places to visit in Manipur which are bestowed with nature’s bounty, friendly dwellers and there are a myriad of options when it comes to sightseeing and activities.
Known as the ‘Switzerland of India, Manipur lies in the deep corner of the northeast part of India. From serene landscapes, exotic wildlife, floating islands to the warmhearted locals, it’s impossible not to fall in love with this place. This beautiful land is surrounded by Nagaland in the north, Mizoram in the south and Assam in the west, and shares a common international border with Burma in the east.
The history of Manipur dates back to 1500 BC according to local scriptures. While one can debate the historicity of the same, that itself makes it worth a few dozen research papers. Evidence of caves with pre-historic human-settlements has also been found. Apart from the antiquity, there are many other aspects of Manipur that can fascinate an inquisitive mind. Manipur is the birthplace of polo, it has its own version of rugby, martial arts, and classical dance forms. It also has its own mythology and religion.
The history of Manipur Meities is chronicled in Puyas or Puwaris (stories about our forefathers), namely, the Ninghthou Kangbalon, Cheitharol Kumbaba, Ningthourol Lambuba, Poireiton Khunthokpa, Panthoibi Khongkul, etc. in the archaic Meitei script, which is comparable to the Thai script. The historical accounts presented here were recordings from the eyes and the judgment of the Meitei Kings and Maichous (Meitei scholars). Hill tribes have their own folk tales, myths and legends. Manipur was known by different names at various periods in its history, such as, Tilli-Koktong, Poirei-Lam, Sanna-Leipak, Mitei-Leipak, Meitrabak or Manipur (present day). Its capital was Kangla, Yumphal or Imphal (present day). Its people were known by various names, such as Mi-tei, Poirei-Mitei, Meetei, Maitei or Meitei. The Puwaris, Ninghthou Kangbalon, Ningthourol Lambuba, Cheitharol Kumbaba, Poireiton Khunthokpa, recorded the events of each King who ruled Manipur in a span of more than 3500 years until 1955 AD (a total of more than 108 kings). Ningthou Kangba (15th century BC) is regarded the first and foremost king of Manipur. There were times when the country was in turmoil without rulers and long historical gaps in between 1129 BC – 44 BC. In 1891 AD, after the defeat of the Meiteis by the British in the Anglo-Manipuri war of Khongjom, the sovereignty of Manipur which it had maintained for more than three millenniums, was lost. It regained its freedom on 28 August 1947 AD. On 15 October 1949, Manipur was unified with India.
Nagaland is a state in Northeast India. It borders the state of Assam to the west, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to the north, Myanmar to the east, and Manipur to the south. The state capital is Kohima, and the largest city is Dimapur. Nagaland became the 16th state of India on 1 December 1963.
Two threads common to all are language and religion. English is the official language, the language of education, and spoken by most residents. Nagaland is one of three states in India where the population is mostly Christian. The state is inhabited by 16 tribes – Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Dimasa, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Kuki, Lotha, Phom, Pochury, Rengma, Sangtam, Sumi, Yimchunger and Zeme-Liangmai (Zeliang). Each tribe is unique in character with its own distinct customs, language and dress.
Nagaland is home to the bhut jolokia or ghost pepper, one of the hottest chilis in the world at 855,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. All the tribes of Nagaland have their own cuisine, and they use a lot of meat, fish, and fermented products in their dishes. However, the state dish is smoked pork cooked with fermented soya bean. Naga dishes use a lot of locally grown herbs, ghost peppers, ginger, and garlic. Famous dishes include snails cooked with pork and silkworm larvae, which is an expensive delicacy of the state. Galho is a vegetarian porridge cooked with rice, leaves, and condiments. Drinks include zutho and thutse, beers made with sticky rice.
World War II
In 1944 during World War II, the Indian National Army with the help of Japanese Army, led by Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, invaded through Burma and attempted to take India through Kohima. There is the World War II Cemetery, and the War Museum, in honour of those who lost their lives during World War II during the fighting between British Empire and Japanese troops. Nearly 4,000 British Empire troops lost their lives, along with 3,000 Japanese. Many of those who lost their lives were Naga people, particularly of Angami tribe. Near the memorial is the Kohima Cathedral, on Aradura hill, built with funds from the families and friends of deceased Japanese soldiers.
A male activity, would involve separating men from their women before, during and after coming back from an expedition. The women, as a cultural practice, would encourage men to undertake head-hunting as a prerequisite to marriage. The men would go on an expedition against other tribes or neighbouring kingdoms, and kill to score number of heads they were able to hunt. A successful head hunter would be conferred a right to ornaments. The practice of head hunting was banned in 19th century British India, but the Naga tribes practised headhunting and preserved the heads of enemies as trophies as late as 1969.
The Dzukou Valley is a valley located at the border of the states of Nagaland and Manipur in northeast India. This valley is well known for its natural environment, seasonal flowers and flora and fauna. It is situated at an altitude of 2452 m above sea level. The rare Dzukou Lily is found only in this valley. The valley is famous for its wide range of flower in every season. But the most famous one is the Dzukou lily.
Arrive Imphal Check In Hotel. Visit Kangla Fort, Khwairamband Keithel or Ima Market (Women Local Market) and Govindaji Temple. SHRI SHRI GOVINDAJEE TEMPLE – is an elegant Vaishnavite shrine located in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur. It stands adjacent to the palace of the former rulers of the state. The temple was built in the early 18th century by Rajarishi Bhagyachandra. It has a beautiful image of Lord Vishnu, which is flanked by the idols of Lord Balram and Lord Krishna. Shri Govindajee Temple is simple in its architecture. It has two golden domes, a paved courtyard and a large raised congregation hall O/N hotel at Imphal.
After B/fast Excursion to Loktak Lake, Sendra Island 48kms. Visit 1) KEIBUL LAMJAO NATIONAL PARK (one and only floating national park in the world where the endangered dancing deer – Sangai is found), 2) LOKATK LAKE(largest fresh water lake in north east), 3)INA MEMORIAL(Indian tri color flag was first hoisted here by INA at Moirang) 4) Sendra Park and view point. O/N Hotel at Loktak Lake.
Transfer to Moreh village by car. Moreh is the border of India and Myanmar. . It is the border town of Manipur on the national highway Number 39, surrounded by hills, mountains & rivers which is 110 kilometres from Imphal. It is located on the Indo – Myanmar Road, a commercial town attracting a large numbers of people from neighbouring places.
It is only 5 kilometres away from Tamu, its Myanmar counterpart and is especially the best place for shopping & business. The recent opening of the Border trade turned Moreh into an important commercial hub in North – East. Just on the other side of the border, at Namphanglong, there is a big Myanmar’s market complex where all kinds of Thai and Chinese consumer goodsare available at a reasonable low price. You can have a small visit to Tamu (Myanmar part by submitting your i card). Night stay at Imphal.
After breakfast transfer to Ukhrul ( 6 to 7 hrs journey). A picturesque hill town of Manipur – lies about 84 km kilometers to the North East of Imphal. The place is inhabited by Tangkhul Tribes. The life and art of Tangkhuls are attractive and captivating. Their different costumes and wears, utensils, architecture, monumental erections and memorial set-up depict their dexterity in art, which also speak of their sense of beauty and finesse . Night stay at Ukhrul.
Early morning have a small hike to the Sirui Lily hills . If you can climb 1.5 kms you will enjoy the savana and exotic views. Later after lunch you can proceed to Imphal ( 3 hrs drive).
After breakfast transfer to Kohima. It is 5 hrs journey to reach Kohima. Night stay at Kohima/Kisama.
You will be taken to Khonoma village which is a historical village and also the last base for the Angami tribe. Later, you will be taken to visit the state museum where you can witness the tribal lifestyle and culture of the Naga people . Also sightseeing Kohima War Cemetery (It was build in memory of the soldiers who lost their lives during the World War II) and Kisama Heritage Village. Overnight stay at the hotel in Kohima.
After breakfast transfer to Dimapur or Imphal airport.
Optional Day 08 on extra cost ( extra day):
You can go to Dzukou Valley trek if you want little adventure and capable of trekking. ( 6 kms one way trek). Dzukou Valley is a valley located at the border of the Indian states of Nagaland and Manipur. Its a spectacular visual treat of emerald green hills, lush forests, serpentine streams and myriad colourful flowers that dot the vast plain valley and its meadows. It is popularly known as “Valley of Flowers of the North-East”. It is situated at an altitude of 2438 m above sea level, behind the Japfu Peak located in Nagaland.