Loktak Lake, Manipur and Kaibul Lamjao National Park First person Prespective


My first view of Dancing Deer in Kaibul Lamjao National Park and Loktak Lake: first time experience in Manipur of North East India, a state notoriously known for its insurgency and dangerous acts against outsiders: A lifetime expirence


LOKTAK LAKE AND BOATING INSIDE KAIBUL LAMJAO NATIONAL PARK IN MANIPUR STATE OF NORTH EAST INDIA SEARCHING FOR SANGAI OR THE DANCING DEER OF MANIPUR. SIGHTS OF LOCAL FISHERMAN AND VILLAGERS NEAR THE LOKTAK LAKE AND KAIBUL LAMJAO NATIONAL PARK, THE ONLY FLOATING NATIONAL PARK IN THE WORLD.

My first view of Dancing Deer in Kaibul Lamjao National Park and Loktak Lake: first time experience in Manipur of North East India, a state notoriously known for its insurgency and dangerous acts against outsiders: A lifetime expirence


Manipur: The long forgotten valley

Manipur was always known for insurgency and instability and all sorts of crimes against the tourists. Very few people used to visit Manipur due to this reason… but this is the old story.

When I visited this place for a couple of days in 2015 on a project, I found that, the reality is much different than what portrayed by the media. Manipur a beautiful place to visit, with mountains, people, lakes and more.

Loktak Lake

Loktak lake is the largest freshwater lake in the north east. Drive south from Imphal to reach Loktak, which is just 45 Minutes away. The road is straight flat and good. The last bus from Imphal to Loktak leaves by 5 PM. A round trip from Imphal to Loktak for a day costs approximately 3000 Rs in a taxi.

Local Fisherman at Ningthoukhog (Copy)View of Loktak lake from the Loktak Hydro project. For the villagers living here, this lake is a source of fishes and water.

Most of the towns Around Loktak has access roads to the lake. At Ningthoukhog, there is a road to the lake called the Loktak Project Lake, with a classic view of the lake (Above)

Many hills around the lake (west of lake) have roads (which can be reached in half an hour from the Imphal Loktak road.

Bunds Built at Loktak Lake near Ningthoukhog (Copy)Bamboo walls planted in the lake to prevent spread of algae and easy travel. The lake is not very deep, the average depth is only two meters. But there is a lot of silt deposit at the bed of the lake.

The Video

This is a little compilation of few clips which were shot on my friends cam put up together to show a part of the beautiful state.

We start from Bangalore, and lands up at Guwahatty and then drive to Imphal. Stay a little while at Hotel Imphal a Imphal, and then move to Kaibul Lamjao  NP. We stay inside the National Park, explore the park and lakes inside to look for Sangai, the dancing deer of Manipur,and expirenceboating through the lake.

This video was shot on an old Sony DCR SX20 Camera, which I borrowed from my friend during the trip.

The Sendra Island and view of Loktak lake (Copy)One of the ideal places to see Loktak Lake is Sendra Island: which is maintained by the Same Classic group of hotels. An alternative and better place to seethe lake is Tanga Island, near Sendra island, which gives a birds eye view of the lake.

Loktak Lake seen from Sendra island (Copy)The lake is surrounded by hills on all sides (other than south). These hills form the border of state, mostly inhibited by tribes, these hills are the most beautiful places in Manipur.

View of Lake from Sendra Island (2) (Copy)View of Loktak lake from Thanga Island

The circular phumdis (circular ones) have been mostly removed and so the lake is not as beautiful as it used to be.
But it is still there is small quantities if you move further long the road via Sendra Island.

Kaibul Lamjao National Park

The specialty of Manipur is the Dancing Deer or Sangai: these deers are confined to a floating National Park to the south of loktak lake, called Kaibul Lamjao National Park.

View from the Visitors View point inside Keibul Lamjao National Park - A patch of dark green is the hill where the deer is usually seen (Copy)Kaibul Lamjao National Park, the floating national park

The park, stands on Phumdis, a partially decayed organic matter, floating on the lake. The grass is about 10 feeet high and provides the best place for the Sangai. (Watch out the video)

Visitors View point at Keibul Lamjao National Park (Copy)The viewpoint at the boundary of the park (Inside the Park), from where u can see birds eye view of the Park. Sangai and Hog deer can be seen mostly during the mornings and evenings.

One of the watchtowers inside the national park- reachable by walk or boat (Copy)The little watch towers, inside the National park,

The hills where the deer is seen - Shot from the Visitors View Point (Copy)The little hillocks inside the National park, accessible by boats,where Sangai lives.

View of Guesthouse complex at Keibul Lamjao National Park (Copy)The guesthouse and IB of Kaibul Lamjao National Park

The Guest house inside Keibul Lamjao National Park (Copy)The guesthouse of Kaibul Lamjao National Park

Watchtower near the Guesthouse of Keibul Lamjao National Park (Copy)The watchtower.

The Villages

Agriculture fields near Loktak Lake - on way to Loktak from Imphal (Copy)The paddy fields, in the villages of Manipur:On the way to Loktak from Imphal

Reaching Manipur

By Road

Route to Imphal from kohima (Copy)The town of Mao,at Nagaland Manipur Border: There are shared jeeps till Sennapetti from Kohima an bus between Senapati and Imphal.

The nearest major city is Guwahati, it is a full day drive along ghat road across Naga Hills, crossing the states of Assam and Nagaland to reach Manipur. This road is also called  AH1 or The Asian Highway 1 is the road link connecting India to the rest of South East Asia.

You can reach Imphal from Guwahati  (472 Kms 8 to 12 Hours)
1. Through Nagaland Via Dimapur, Kohima Senapatti
The condition of road from Dimapur to Senapatty is is not great..

    The total time will be about 6- 9 hours between Dimapur and Imphal
    The road between Kohima and Senapatti is Ghat Road.
There is a bypass for Kohima, traffic inside Kohima city is really bad during day time (Sundays: U may not find a single human being on the road). Truck traffic on entire stretch is high.. expect one every One minute

There are many check posts on the way (inside Nagaland and Manipur) and its common that the trucks block the road. After Senapatty, the road to Imphal is better, .. mostly straight

The scenic on the right side: the valley and the hill beyond is beautiful.

Valley of Imphal Seen on the way to Imphal from Kohima (Copy)The fiat planes of Manipur surrounded by hills (Arakkan hills by name, an offshoot of the Eastern Himalayas.)

2.  Alternative route via Assam in case the road is blocked in Nagaland(Which happens once in a while) Guwahati>Lumding>Silchar>Imphal 700 Kms, 15 Hours

By Air

The Imphal Airport is on the way to Loktak lake from Imphal (10 Kms from City)

By Rail

The Nearest Rail-head is Dimapur in Nagaland.

Road from Imphal to Loktak 50 Km 1 hour Approx
The road from Imphal to Loktak is mostly straight and good …can easily drive in high speed.
At Imphal
The small city of Imphal is dusty and bad with traffic jams.
There will be local Police and military at every junction in the city.

Accommodation and food at Imphal
There are not many good places to stay inside Imphal city
The good ones are (Both are run by the same people)
1. Hotel Classic : (I have attached their card)
2. Hotel Imphal : (I have attached their card)
Both of them have a good restaurant inside
Hotel Imphal has more rooms and parking space than Hotel Classic.
The buffet at Hotel Imphal is good.
Power and telephone network was also inconsistant. BSNL was very bad. Airtel was better.
By 6 PM most of the shops close and traveling becomes difficult. Its advised not to travel after 7 PM.

Accommodation and Food at Loktak

There is a guesthouse called Sendra Guest House at the Sendra Island(hill) of Loktak: Run by the Same Hotel Classic
There is 6 rooms and they charge 2500 INR per night
A cafeteria supplying good food is adjacent to it and open to public,(closes by 7 PM)
Accomodation at Keibul Lamjao National Park
There is one rest house with 2 rooms and an inspection bungalow inside the National Park
There is a cook and Manager living there.. He always used to recite Hare Rama Hare Krishna, and finally we ended up calling him the same.

Hospitals
There are only primary health centers near Loktak
Good hospitals are there only in Imphal
SHRI, Imphal
ATMs:
There are ATMs all mostly all the banks in Imphal City
Police Stations
There is a police station in Imphal and many other cities. There will be armed policeman at most of the cities.
Nearest Police Station to Keibul Lamjao Police Station just opposite to forest office
There are police stations in every town on the way to Loktak from Imphal

 

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