Manipur is the state in India that is located in the northeastern part of the country. This place in India is quaint and less explored despite being bordered by the Indian states of Nagaland, Assam, Mizoram, and Myanmar. The capital city of Manipur is Imphal that is located in the center of the state. Commonly referred to as the ‘Land of Gems’, this beautiful state in the northeast has spell-binding landscapes that are worth-a-visit. The income here is generated through agriculture, forestry, trade, and cottage industries as the state is endowed with abundant natural treasures.

History of Manipur

Manipur's history has been traced back to the Cheitharon Kumbaba, a chronicle depicting the royal events highlighting the birth of the reigning dynasty. While the earliest history of Manipur dates back to 900 CE, the recent history of Manipur is dated from 1762, under the reign of Raja Jai Singh, wherein a treaty was signed with the British personnel to repel the Burmese invasion from Myanmar. Manipur emerged as a princely state during the foreign rule in 1891, the last of the independent states to be inculcated into British India. The Second Warfare proved to be a turning point for the people of Manipur because the Japanese were defeated before they stepped inside Imphal. Thereafter, the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947, established a democratic kind of government with the Maharaja and an elected legislative body. After a series of events, the legislative assembly was dissolved and Manipur was accepted as an element of the Republic of India in October 1949.

The History of Manipur states that in 1907, the government was headed by the Raja and his durbar, whose vice president was a member from amongst the Indian officials. Gradually, the Raja was defeated and the vice president of the durbar took over. The uprising of the Kuki hill tribes in 1917 divided the region into three subdivisions, each of which was headed by a political candidate from its neighboring state, Assam. As Manipur became a territory of India, the dominance of the Assam government reduced and after two years, Manipur became a union territory governed by a chief commissioner and therefore the territorial council. Manipur finally became a constituent state of the Indian Union on 21st January 1972, being ruled by the Governor.

Culture of Manipur

Manipur also referred to as the ‘Jeweled Town’ showcases a vibrant cultural heritage with multi-colored festivals. Sport forms like Polo and field hockey are quite popular. The culture of Manipur propagated an indigenous dance form called Manipuri, where both men and women perform with equal ease. Their religion focuses on the dance dramas depicting the lifetime of Lord Krishna.

In 1917, this isolated artwork, Manipuri dance was promoted in India by the poet Rabindranath Tagore in folk, classical and modern forms. The Culture of Manipur specializes in Thang-Ta, a self-defense art form related to swords, shield, and spears. Manipur is renowned for Lai Haraoba, the ancient religious festival that’s celebrated in lieu of the holy sacred groves Umang Lai and Shumang Khumei, the conventional form of theatre.

Art and Handicraft of Manipur

Manipur has some prized possessions within the world of art and handicraft spanning from hand-woven and embroidered textiles. Mats made of water reed are exceptional pieces of handicrafts. Shawls and blankets made here have a geometrical pattern that looks amazing. Manipuri dance dolls make beautiful souvenirs that can be gifted to friends and family. Tourist attractions in Manipur encompass Kauna mats and cushions, cane and bamboo articles, artistic weaving, and woodcarving. Laichampi, the delicate art of weaving cotton and block printing is kind of prevalent in Manipur.

Food of Manipur

Manipur, known as the food lover’s paradise is every traveller’s favorite for its delectable cuisines. The staple food of Manipur comprises of rice, fish and an enormous variety of green leafy vegetables. If you are planning to visit Manipur, the Iromba is not to be missed. It’s an authentic delicacy, made of fish, vegetables and bamboo shoots. One of their main cuisine, Eromba or Chamthong, is basically a stew made from boiled vegetables or potatoes with plenty of red chilies and dried fish called Ngari, which has been garnished with Maroi and fresh coriander leaves.

Some renowned food of Manipur comprises of the Morok Metpa, a spicy and delicious chutney prepared with dried green chilies; Singju, a famous Manipuri salad; Kabok, made with veggies and fried or puffed rice; Paaknam, sort of a pancake and Nga Thongba, that is a classic fish curry.  One of their most preferred vegetables is the Lonchak, like beans. Visit this tourist destination to savour the most exciting platter that is scrumptious in taste. 

Things to do in Manipur

This North-Eastern multi-lingual state is richly endowed with the natural wonders such as waterfalls, lakes, streams, and evergreen forests. Manipur’s splendid aura fumes like an incense stick in sacred shrines and could be a favourite tourist destination in India. The essence of the place can be enjoyed only if you spend adequate time with the natives and live for a few days amidst the mesmerizing nature.

Imphal, Bishnupur, Ukhrul, Senapati, Churachandpur, and Thoubal are few of the tourist destinations in Manipur, which have an extended history of attracting travelers since its inception. A number of the Best Things to Do in Manipur includes the following:

  • Kangla - An excursion to the Palace of Kangla
  • Senapati – Visit for a cultural extravaganza 
  • Andro - The local artistry is flaunted at its glory 
  • Ukhrul – Home of tranquility
  • Chandel – A visit to Nature’s heaven
  • Thoubal – Paradise for trekking

  • Imphal Polo Ground - A polo match is a treat to the eyes
  • Loktak Lake - A visit to the Freshwater Lake, the sole floating lake in the whole world with the dancing deer
  • Manipuri Dance Recital - Once in an exceedingly lifetime experience of a live dance show
  • Manipur Zoological Gardens - A walk amidst the flora and fauna amidst the green landscape
  • Keibul Lamjao parkland – Visit for the safari ride
  • Bishnupur – Hub of temples 
  • Dzukou Valley – The Dream valley

Manipur is dotted with myriad historical and cultural attractions that are truly captivating. Lying in the lap of nature, added with delicious cuisines - this sublime state in India is therefore christened as the ‘Jewel of India’.

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