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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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..
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.
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>
The Imphal Airport is on the way to Loktak lake from Imphal (10 Kms from City)
The Nearest Rail-head is Dimapur in Nagaland.
There will be local Police and military at every junction in the city.
The buffet at Hotel Imphal is good.
Accommodation and Food at Loktak
There is 6 rooms and they charge 2500 INR per night
Good hospitals are there only in Imphal
There are police stations in every town on the way to Loktak from Imphal